Tirana, 11 February 2016 – The Children Human Rights Centre of Albania - CRCA and Observatory of the Rights of Child, in collaboration with the Municipality and Qark of Tirana, supported by UNICEF Albania organized the Workshop "Access of Roma children in Preschool”. This workshop was intended to bring together key stakeholders of the Qark of Tirana, to discuss solutions and recommendations that affect the improvement of the living conditions and the integration of Roma children in preschool education.
The UNICEF initiative "Every Roma child in the kindergarten" supported by the Swiss Agency for Development and Cooperation and the Austrian Cooperation for Development and implemented by CRCA Albania, Observatory of Rights of Child and YWCA, aims to establish and support local networks in early childhood issues and the integration of Roma children in preschool. At this meeting, 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 children in the kindergarten, and find a solution to the series of problems that need to be addressed in the future.
Mr. Altin Hazizaj, Executive Director of CRCA Albania and moderator of the meeting, in his speech said “The main aim of today’s meeting is to foster a sustainable dialogue among parents, teachers, educators, children and institutions in order to together find solutions that the Roma community raise and need to address, especially focusing on the early education of Roma children”.
Mrs. Brunilda Paskali, vice chair of the Municipality of Tirana, underlined in her speech that the Municiplaity has focused its policies to improve the lives of the communities coming from vulnerable strata of population. “The municipality has in its plans to assist the Roma community in order to benefit more from the services it offers. It will work towards supporting and prioritizing infrastructure and policy for this community”.
Mrs. Bora Panajoti, vice chair of the Qark of Tirana stressed the importance of education as an essential element to form the society and this is primarily the duty of all institutions at all levels. “Multicultural dialogue and antidiscrimination policies need to be at the centre of the work of institutions in oder to have more awareness on the inclusion of minorities in society”.
Mrs. Tërshana, Director of the Observatory of the Rights of Child, said “Since the beginning of the initiative we aimed or a short name, a simple one. This journey of two and a half years, without the cooperation of all state institutions would not be able to be undergone with all the challenges that were faced”.
Mrs. Mirlinda Bushati, program officer at UNICEF, said that different studies show that "If we invest initially in preschool, without doubt the return will be even greater in the future”.
The workshop was attended by the representatives of the main institutions of Tirana including the Municipality, Qark, Regional Labour Directorates, Vocational training Directorate, Economic Centre for Development and Education, Child Protection Unit, Regional Health Centres, Directors of Kindergarten, Public Health Directorate and Social Services, representative of local organizations, Roma parents Clubs, etc.
The Workshop continued with open discussions between the participants focusing on raising issues that this community faces and was concluded with a series of recommendations for addressing the problems Roma children face in the city. Some of the main recommendations of the workshop focused on:
- Support, by the Municipality of Tirana, to Roma families that with to integrate children in kindergarten;
- Social housing to Roma families coming from marginalized communities;
- Setting quotas by the Municipal Council for the integration of Roma children in public kindergartens with meals and without meal;
- Fund meal provision and basic educational materials for all children coming from vulnerable communities in the city that are enrolled in preschool;
- Support Roma mediators in kindergartens in order to foster integration;
- Ensure follow up of every case of integration in kindergarten;
- Measure the results and achievements of Roma children in preschool;
- Undertake initiatives promoting education and raise awareness on Roma culture;
- Promote employment and small business initiative of Roma mothers;
For more information, please contact:
HRH, CRCA Albania