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32nd NEWSLETTER  ON SOCIAL INCLUSION AND POVERTY REDUCTION

INTRODUCTION

ĐURICA STANKOV: Society’s Support Stops When You Get a Headache or Toothache

From the 32nd Belgrade Ignite event “Get Involved 3” (29 October 2015, Impact Hub, Belgrade)

A long time ago, now 12 years, through a series of events I entered the world of the porno industry. In a way – at that moment – it seemed to me as an opportunity for a new and better life, it gave me hope for a better tomorrow, a better life for my family and myself. However, the act of pornography mostly carries within itself risky sexual behaviour (…). One day, during a very routine control, I was told: “Keine positive, keine negative.” Very quickly, after additional testing, I received a test stating: “HIV positive”. That is when the most difficult period of my life began, facing the problem, facing myself, finger-pointing from all over, I lost my closest friends… actually, true friends remained, those who were not true, they left on their own.

I learned an important thing, and that is to never – even if we receive a negative result in a joint testing – never have unprotected sex, always wear protection! I am still here with you today, I live with HIV, as they say, although I do not like the expression. I am frequently discriminated against by my environment, and the saddest thing of all – by medical workers. When you get a headache or a toothache, that’s when society’s support stops.

Therefore me and my friends, other young people living with HIV, have decided to found the AS Centre for the Empowerment of Youth with HIV. Although projects are written every day about how youth with HIV are insufficiently included in society, how they are on its margins, we have shown that there is another approach: we hold lectures, discussions, education, we participate in fairs in Serbia and abroad, we hang out with young people and transmit the message of prevention, we influence their awareness not to commit the mistake I have made and to always use a condom for every sexual relation. Our voice is heard by decision-makers as well. I am really proud of the people I work with, because we are all in this together: people living with HIV, people without the virus, members of the LGBT population, members of the transsexual population, and everyone else – all of us the same, because we all have the same hopes and desires. (…)

We are truly being included in society, we have the support of social institutions, and not just here! Since 2014 my struggle and our work have also been recognized by the European Commission, and now I am a member of the advisory body, i.e. the EU HIV/AIDS Civil Society Forum at the European Commission in Brussels. This is a new life and new beginning for me.

More information on the 32nd Belgrade Ignite, as well as video recordings and transcripts can be found here.

NEWS

ACTIVITIES OF THE SOCIAL INCLUSION UNIT

 

“Support to Innovative Approaches to Increasing Youth Employment and Employability” Competition Closed

The Social Inclusion and Poverty Reduction Unit of the Government of the Republic of Serbia is publishing a call for awarding grants as part of the public competition entitled “Support to Innovative Approaches for Increasing Youth Employment and Employability”. The overall goal of the competition is supporting innovative approaches in solving the problems of youth employment or employability (15 to 30 years of age) through strengthening partnerships between civil society organizations and the private sector.

Support to intersectoral cooperation will be provided through three different models: 1) Support to early development of innovative approaches to youth employment, 2) Support to the improvement of innovative approaches to the employment of youth, 3) Support to the growth and expansion, i.e. scaling-up of innovative approaches to youth employment, proven to be successful in practice.

More information on the competition can be found here.


“Support Systems for Improving Roma Education” Conference Held

Deputy Prime Minister of Serbia Zorana Mihajlović stated on 12 November that Roma education, and particularly female Roma education, is the key to resolving all problems faced by members of this national community. Mihajlović, speaking at the conference “Support Systems for Improving Roma Education”, said the goal of the Government is to include members of this community not only in education, but also the political life of the country and positions of management and decision making.

The Minister of Education, Science and Technological Development Srđan Verbić said the goals are not to have equal rights and an equal level of enrolment to schools, or to have everyone stay in school the same way, but to have everyone decide on their career in an equal manner, to individually make decisions and have equal chances for employment one day. He also announced that by the end of the year the working group will adopt a rulebook on recognizing discrimination in the educational system.

Find more information on the “Support systems for Improving Roma Education” here.


Analysis of Legal Framework and Current Status and Practice of Pedagogical Assistants Completed

The Social Inclusion and Poverty Reduction Unit of the Government of the Republic of Serbia, in cooperation with the Ministry of Education, Science and Technological Development, prepared an Analysis of the Legal Framework and Current Status and Practice of Pedagogical Assistants. The initiative was started to strengthen systemic support to social inclusion through the development of educational potential and improvement of the framework for the activities of pedagogical assistants.

The analysis contains data on the profile, competences and employment status of engaged pedagogical assistants, an analysis of the legal framework, practice and scope of their work, a projection of needs for pedagogical assistants, as well as recommendations to improve the status and activities of pedagogical assistants.

Download the Analysis of the Legal Framework and Current Status and Practice of Pedagogical Assistants HERE.
 


32nd Belgrade Ignite Event “Get Involved no. 3” Held

The 32nd Belgrade Ignite “Get Involved 3” event, dedicated to marking the International Day of Combating Poverty and the Issue of Social Inclusion, was held on 29 October 2015, at the premises of Impact Hub in Belgrade.

Ten excellent and inspirational speakers have once again, with interpretation into sign language and in an accessible space, presented what social inclusion means for them through five-minute presentations. Thus the audience could learn: what life is like in Serbia with HIV/AIDS; whether our society accepts persons who have changed their sex; is movement using a wheelchair an obstacle for active life; how to build a home for one’s family with one’s own hands; how to get a job you love through self-employment; how music can help empower youth; how every one of us can help the refugees passing through Serbia; how inclusive education can support the professional development of persons with autism; whether we can lead an active life after 60 years of age.

More information on the event, along with video-recordings and transcripts of the presentations can be found here.

OPEN CALLS

Competition to Support Agricultural Development “Plantation for Future” (Deadline: 18/12/2015)
“Novak Đoković” Foundation Issues Call for New Projects in 2016 (Deadline: 23/12/2015)
United Nations Democracy Fund Announces Call for Project Grants (Deadline: 31/12/2015)
First Call for Proposals within Interreg-IPA Cross-Border Cooperation Programme Bulgaria-Serbia
“Get Started for Business” Competition Starts (Deadline: 29/2/2016)
“Jelena Šantić” Foundation's Call “Brave Steps Forward in New Cultural Practices” (Deadline: 11/1/2016)
You may follow the news on open calls regularly at: socijalnoukljucivanje.gov.rs/en/tenders

READ MORE...

Final Conference of “Gender Equality and Disaster Risk Mitigation” Project Held
Plaques on European Gender Equality Charter Presented to Municipal Presidents
Annual Award of Government of AP of Vojvodina for Gender Equality Awarded to Ksenija Vlaović and “Out of the Circle – Vojvodina” Organization
Annual Report of World Economic Forum on Gender Equality Published
NGO Atina Receives International Award for Extraordinary Work
Startit Collects USD 100,000 to Build Educational Centres
Youth Office of Municipality of Raška Improves Youth Quality of Life and Status in Local Community
“Cooperation of State Administration Bodies and Civil Society Organizations” Survey Presented
New Technologies as Point of Intergenerational Learning and Social Inclusion
Open Data Hackathon: 48 hours – 10 projects
You may follow the news on social inclusion and poverty reduction regularly at: socijalnoukljucivanje.gov.rs/en/

SOCIAL INCLUSION BLOG

GRUBB Foundation: Education and Art as a Road to a Brighter Future

It all started in Niš in 2006.

The idea of improving Roma education was initially implemented at an educational level and, shortly thereafter, at a creative level as well. There was a lot of interest among Roma children for supplemental classes in all school subjects, as well as creative workshops, where at first the energy was aimed at dance and music, followed by other arts as well. As a result, the GRUBB (Gypsy Roma Urban Balkan Beats) Foundation soon opened a centre in Belgrade followed by a centre in Novi Sad.

Teachers of Serbian and English language, mathematics, biology, physics and music in GRUBB centres help young Roma deal with their schoolwork in the best and easiest way possible, every day, with great dedication and a lot of love, and when they successfully overcome an obstacle, their mutual joy becomes additional motivation to study even more, to further their success. Children feel when they are welcome in a place, when the atmosphere is warm and friendly, and so they relax easily and without pressure, and do even those assignments they don’t like that much with a lot of good will. (...) We learn together, we create, rejoice in successes and improvements in all fields, we share life, we discover its secrets and we try for our schoolchildren to grow up to be the best possible version of themselves. We choose education and art as a road that leads to integration and a safer and brighter future.

The story of GRUBB is not a story of struggle against prejudice. The story as such can encourage thinking, introspection, but in order to truly change something it is necessary to work – with devotion, a lot of love, understanding, a sincere desire and faith in those children, who have a right to use their potential in the best possible way. They carry the burden of prejudice and we are here to ease that burden and help them to, in spite of it, walk upright through life, educated, accomplished and successful.

The text in its entirety can be found at the Social Inclusion Blog.

Other texts by our bloggers can be found at: www.socijalnoukljucivanje.gov.rs/blog/

SUCCESS STORY

ALJUŠ HELJŠANI: How I Built My Home

From the presentation at the 32nd Belgrade Ignite event "Get Involved 3" (29 October 2015, Impact Hub, Belgrade)

(...) I will tell you how I built my home. As the youngest son in my family, I was lucky - according to the traditions of our population - to inherit my father's house. It was built of adobe and mortared in mud. (...) I collected second-hand building materials to add a room or two. I managed to do what I had intended, I reconstructed an old part of my house and added a new one, so I built my house up to a certain point.

As the icing on the cake, I was visited by a team of people from the Ecumenical Humanitarian Organisation (EHO). They had an incredible approach, they were very kind, and hugged my children as if they were their own. It is indescribable, like when a parachutist can't describe his jump from thousands of meters up high. By the way, the Ecumenical Humanitarian Organization deals with improving the living conditions of the Roma, provides construction and technical support (cement mixer, trolley, cables, other tools). Thanks to them, I now have a functional bathroom I can enjoy with my three children and my wife and we are all very happy because of that. We have flat walls and floors. My children are the happiest because of this - sometimes winter comes to my home in the middle of August, because they slide across the laminate floor like in snow. (...)

We had to do the work by ourselves, which is not hard when you have things to work and build with. For me in particular, this was not hard because I have worked in construction since I was 14. I started as a physical worker and now I am a professional painter and plasterer. I also work a little with ceramics and laminate flooring. EHO provided me with free tools for my professional needs so I work a bit more than I used to, I earn a bit more and I have enough time to play with my children; as we know, all children seek their parents' attention and I believe that a parent's attention is very important for their cognitive development. I enrolled my children in karate class, not for them to become scoundrels and be the strongest, to be some kind of Van Damme or Bruce Lee, but to have a healthy body and healthy spirit. I also try and raise them to fit into the social environment because I don't want them to become children of the street or drunks. I'll teach my children so that one day - maybe even in a much bigger discussion and on a much bigger stage – they may say stop to war, stop to terrorism, stop to violence and stop to racism.

The text in its entirety can be found here.

More success stories can be found at socijalnoukljucivanje.gov.rs
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Government of the Republic of Serbia
Social Inclusion and Poverty Reduction Unit
Vlajkovićeva 10,11070 Beograd, Srbija

E-mail sipru@gov.rs
Phone +381 11 311 4605, +381 11 311 4798, +381 11 213 7915