16 September 2015, Elbasan – Qark council and the municipality of Elbasan in collaboration with CRCA Albania organized today at the 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 Elbasan to discuss challenges of the first 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 Elbasan. The workshop was organized with the support of the head of the Qark Council who hosted the event and the mayor of Elbasan, Mr. Qazim Sejdini.
Today's workshop was held in the framework of the 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 the “Fostering of cooperation with decision makers (Parliament, local and central authorities, regional councils), Roma organizations 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.
Mr. Bukurosh Stafa, head of Qark Council of Elbasan underlined the fact that Roma community is at the center of attention of local policies. “Qark Council’s policies have made a significant contribution to the implementation of the strategy of the Roma decade and will continue to support policies for this community". According to Mr. Stafa the Qark has taken active steps to identify the needs of Roma in general and Roma children in particular.
Mr. Qazim Sejdini, Mayor of Elbasan said: “Measures must be taken and success stories of Roma children’s registration and attendance in kindergartens and obligatory school as well must be shared. Mr. Sejdini called for all stakeholder including civil society organizations to work on concrete initiatives to increase the number of Roma children in educational institutions.
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: registration of Roma children in kindergarten, attendance of preschool institutions by Roma children and new services offered to Roma children in the Roma community centre in the neighbourhood of 5-May; progress made in the with regard to awareness raising activities of the Roma community regarding health and health related issues; welfare situation of Roma families, etc.
A number of institutions of the Qark of Elbasan participated at the workshop, from which we can mention the municipality, child protection unit, regional education directorate of Elbasan and Peqin, regional social services office, public health directorate, Qark council, 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 Qark Council of Elbasan committed to immediately start preparing a series of consultations for the drafting of “Roma and Egyptian community Action Plan for the Region of Elbasan”. The Action Plan will be consulted with civil society organizations and all relevant stakeholders to come up with a final draft to pass as soon as possible.
For more information, please contact:
HRH, CRCA Albania