We launched the Roma for Society project in 2002. The objective was to encourage a change in the attitude of Roma people – settlement inhabitants – to awaken their interest in solving their situation and actively involve the self-governing authorities and the local community in contributing to the solution of the Roma community problems.
In the project, Roma for Society, we focused on enhancing the qualifications the of long-term unemployed Roma people when entering the labor market from 11 selected villages in the Prešov region. The selected locations were specific – no similar activities had been carried out there and no communication with the local authorities and self-governments was initiated by the Roma. With this project, we provided the target group with the possibility of changing their situation and improving the quality of their environment. Trainings, courses and regular meetings were the only possible solution for changing things and extending their personal limits, since the level of education and work habits within this group were at minimum.
Trainings courses were prepared and implemented according to the ACEC standard approved and accredited by the Ministry of Education of the Slovak Republic – Community Worker, development of skills and abilities in working with the Roma community. The choice of applicants for the course was based on a selection procedure which took place in Kežmarok. During the training sessions, each participant received specific tasks that they fulfilled individually in their respective communities. The participants had to communicate with the local self-government, doctors and inhabitants of the settlements, and had to gradually win their trust and establish themselves a reliable person who could be approached in case of the need to solve urgent issues.
Our aim was that after completing the training programs participants would have the opportunity to continue working with the community and develop their newly acquired knowledge and skills. Therefore, we offered course graduates the opportunity to continue in work activities and projects carried out in the field. Besides the benefit for the community, the point was to provide the graduates with further education in healthcare, support their personal and professional growth, as well as to provide the community workers and their assistants with a stable income.