05 February 2016, Gjirokastra –Municipality of Gjirokastra in collaboration with CRCA Albania organized today at the Municipal Council’s meeting room the regional workshop “Access of Roma children to early childhood services”. The aim of the meeting was to bring together all stakeholders of the Qark of Gjirokastra to discuss challenges of the first year and second year and propose solutions that affect the improvement of living conditions of Roma children. Moreover, it presented the findings of the survey “Access of Roma children to early childhood services” and engaged actors to prioritize early childhood education in the Qark of Gjirokastra.
Today's workshop was held in the framework of the Ministry of Education and Sport, UNICEF and Ministry of Education initiative “Every Roma child in Kindergarten” implemented by three organizations in the country. In the workshop, representatives of public institutions and civil society expressed their commitment to continue working in support of the Roma community and especially for the integration of 3 - 6 year old Roma children in kindergarten and came up with a series of issues and recommendations to be addressed in the future.
Director of CRCA Albania in his opening speech said that “we are gathered here today to discuss and follow up on some of the issues and challenges that have hindered the integration of Roma children in the city and its educational institutions”. “Fostering of cooperation with decision makers (local and central authorities, municipal council), Roma community and institutions is a prerequisite for strengthening the role and efforts for the inclusion of Roma children in early childhood education”. Mr. Hazizaj underlined the fact that families of the Roma community should be empowered and mobilized in order to actively engage in a sustainable dialogue with local governments and service providers.
The first part of the workshop was focused on the main results of the second year which were presented by Ms Majlinda Shabani, Coordinator of CRCA in Gjirokastra. She presented the main achievements of the initiative, lessons learned and success stories of integration at national level. Moreover, the main recommendations and issues of the initiative were discussed in order to be taken in consideration for the integration of Roma children in preschool in the Zinxhiraj area.
At the workshop were presented the findings and recommendation of survey “Access of Roma children to early childhood services”. Discussions focused on important issues such as: situation of children and the activities of Child Protection Unit at the Municipality; registration of Roma children in kindergarten, attendance of preschool institutions by Roma children; progress made with regard to awareness raising activities of the Roma community regarding health and health related issues; welfare situation of Roma families, etc. Representatives of Roma community had the opportunity to discuss with institutions and CSO on the most pressing issues that the community faces form water to sanitation, from poverty to cleaning conditions, housing, lack of access to basic services, etc.
A number of institutions of the Qark of Gjirokastra participated at the workshop, from which we can mention the municipality, child protection unit, regional education directorate, civil registration office, public health directorate, Qark council, Roma community, representatives of civil society organizations, etc.
The workshop focused on open discussions among participants and concluded with issues and a series of recommendations for addressing problems that the Roma community face in the city. At the end of the meeting the participants committed to meet in consultations for the drafting of “Roma and Egyptian community Action Plan for the Region of Gjirokastra”. The Action Plan will be consulted with civil society organizations and all relevant stakeholders and Roma community to come up with a final draft to pass as soon as possible.
For more information, please contact:
HRH, CRCA Albania