On the occasion of International Roma Day, the EU Info Centre and the EU Delegation to Serbia organised a presentation of the EU Roma integration Award and the two Serbian organisations which had received this prestigious award. The event titled “EU Roma integration Awards: Two Serbian success stories” held at the EU Info Centre presented the laureates of the 2017 edition of the Award – GRUBB Foundation (Gypsy Roma Balkans Urban Beat) and the Association of Roma of the Branicevo district.
Nicolas Bizel of the EU Delegation to Serbia said that Roma inclusion carried particular importance for the EU which was why the EU decided to establish Roma integration Award in 2014. He congratulated the winners and stressed that one of the two projects had implemented thanks to an EU grant.
“This is another proof of the fact that we see this as a key issue. Social inclusion, or simply put solidarity with vulnerable groups, is one the fundamental values of the European Union, the one Serbia has fully adopted, as well. Observance of human and minority rights is enshrined in every European policy and is an important segment of European integration and Serbia’s accession negotiations. The Government of Serbia is responsible for this process, but much of the responsibility is placed on municipalities, organisations and citizens at the local level, as well,” Bizel said.
Silvija Sinani of GRUBB Foundation presented the awarded project – GRUBB Centres in Novi Sad and Nis where Roma children can receive daily tutoring in academic subjects and extracurricular activities and at the same time are given a chance to express themselves artistically and promote Roma culture. She said that some 600 Roma children underwent tutoring annually and thanked the EU Delegation for the support.
The second-ranked project “Our right to live better” implemented by the Association of Roma of the Branicevo district was presented by the project coordinator Nenad Gavran. He said that the Association has been implementing self-employment programme aimed at Roma, helping them receive education and start-up grants as well as brokering internships for them (25 of them are currently doing their internships at various public enterprises). Gavran said that the EU Award gave an impetus to the project. Together with Jovan, one of the project’s beneficiaries who received tutoring at one of the centres, Gavran presented a letter of thanks to Bizel as a representative of the EU Delegation.
Following the presentations, the members of the GRUBB Foundation put on a short musical performance.