The Roma are the largest ethnic minority in Europe. Numbering 12 to 15 million, they suffer from poverty, discrimination and lack of opportunity. HEKS/EPER is working for their social inclusion in Hungary, Kosovo, Romania and Serbia through a comprehensive programme to improve their living conditions and healthcare as well as education and incomes.
Estimated at 12 to 15 million, the Roma are Europe's largest minority. They suffer from extreme poverty and social exclusion as a result of very high unemployment and daily discrimination. The Roma often have limited access to public institutions and basic services, for example to education and medical care, as well as to public infrastructure such as electricity, water or sanitation. HEKS/EPER fosters the social inclusion of the Roma in Eastern Europe and the Western Balkans through a holistic programme approach in the areas of schooling, housing improvement, healthcare and social legislation as well as vocational training and income support.
Objectives and priorities
HEKS/EPER fosters the social inclusion of the Roma in Eastern Europe and the Western Balkans through a holistic programme approach in the areas of schooling, housing improvement, healthcare and social legislation as well as vocational training and income support.
The main planks of the HEKS/EPER programme of inclusion for the Roma are improving their quality of life and fostering their social, economic and social inclusion. To this end, the following sub-targets are being pursued:
Advocacy and outreach. As a result the Roma are obtaining the same rights as the mainstream population as well as equal access to public infrastructure and basic services.
Education initiative. This is leading to the integration of Roma children into the existing school system and their education at the appropriate level. Alongside the school curriculum, special courses are organised to teach them life skills that equip them to meet different challenges in their lives.
Better housing. To promote individual housing improvements, the Roma themselves are being facilitated in carrying out improvements to their own often dilapidated dwellings. Efforts are also under way to get municipalities to better connect Roma settlements to public infrastructure.
Employment and income. Employment and income opportunities are being improved through targeted vocational training, cooperation with job centres and enterprises as well as the encouragement of self-employment.
If you have further questions
Swiss Church Aid (HEKS/EPER)
Phone: +41 44 360 88 10