“Strengthening the economic security of Roma women and increasing equality in the Roma community in Serbia”

BIBIJA The Roma Women’s Center, with the support of the L’Oréal Fund for Women, is implementing the project “Strengthening the economic security of Roma women and increasing equality in the Roma community in Serbia”.

Project activities last from March 6, 2023 to March 5, 2024.

Our project contributes to empowering Roma women to live a life without violence and discrimination, and contributes to their economic empowerment. As part of the project, we worked in the field with Roma women from Roma settlements in order to increase their knowledge about socioeconomic rights, discrimination and gender-based violence, as well as available support services in order to protect them from violence and discrimination, but also to increase their employability.

As part of the project, we established cooperation with the National Employment Service (NES) and prepared activities to facilitate the access of Roma women to NES services. A methodology has been prepared for workshops and mentoring work with Roma women and we have hired 6 workshop participants and three mentors who provide support to the participants of the training. We organized 72 informative workshops for 200 Roma women in 6 Roma settlements in Belgrade – Zemun, Palilula, Voždovac and Lazarevac. The set of workshops, which the methodology contained, related to the importance of education, the relationship between education and employment, the impact of economic (in)dependence on the position of women in the family, the negative consequences of early marriages on the reproductive health of young people, the impact of giving birth in the teenage period on women’s mental health, the importance of education, especially of female children, the importance of gender equality in the family, as well as the right to choose a partner, the legal positioning of the issue of early marriages in domestic and international legislation. In the previous period, a school was chosen, and from September 15th  30 participants will acquire the necessary skills and knowledge for the training: manicure and pedicure (11 users); hairdresser (1 user); makeup artists (11 users); masseurs (1), management and marketing (1 user) and foreign language courses (1 English user, 1 German user and 3 Spanish users).

  The training will provide users with skills to build their pre-employment competencies for a successful entry into the world of work. In parallel with these activities, the project team chose three mentors, Roma women with experience in mentoring in the field of education and employment, who will prepare a methodology for mentoring work with Roma women attending courses and additional training. Mentors will provide support to the course participants in the organization of attendance and in raising the self-confidence of the participants to successfully complete the course. The training materials for the courses that the participants will attend will be a good basis for starting their own small business and strengthening their economic power.

Main results of the project

200 Roma women from six Roma settlements with an increased level of awareness about the possibilities of employment and self-employment and the importance of education and retraining, through 72 workshops;

• Increased amount of information for 200 Roma women participating in the workshop program on employment and self-employment opportunities

• 30 Roma women successfully completed the desired courses and reported their acquired skills to the NES

• Increased self-confidence for 30 participants who are empowered to actively look for work

• Sensitization of 20 NES representatives about the specific situation of Roma women.

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