July 2021
Maribor

We are pleased to announce that for the first time in Slovenia, members of the Roma community have been awarded the prize for excellent school success!

In the EPEKA Association, Soc Ent. for many years we have been addressing the challenges in the field of the educational structure of the Roma in Maribor and at the national level. The Institute for Ethnic Issues finds, as we can confirm on the basis of daily practical work with the Roma community, that “a very large proportion do not even complete primary school, and a small proportion has completed secondary and higher education. Such a situation means poorer employment opportunities for members of the Roma community and, consequently, poorer material and living conditions – and thus much greater opportunities for being trapped in a vicious circle of poverty. Higher education is one of the key factors that can help solve these problems. ”

In order to raise awareness of the importance of education in integration into the wider local environment and subsequent entry into the labor market, EPEKA carries out several activities and programs aimed at encouraging the Roma community to participate in formal educational processes.

For children and adolescents, as part of the operation of the Multipurpose Roma Center Roma Station, we conduct learning assistance workshops designed to support the youngest members of the Roma community who face various challenges in school work. During the workshop, we offer support in understanding school materials, with an additional focus on providing assistance in learning the Slovenian language, which is crucial for following instructions and performing tasks within school work. During the workshops, we connect with educational institutions at the local level and Roma assistants at three primary schools. It was especially important to provide learning assistance to members of the Roma community during the implementation of temporary measures to reduce the risk of infection and prevent the spread of infectious diseases COVID-19, as due to the usually large families, lack of adequate technical equipment and drop out of the formal education system.

In 2020, in cooperation with the Student Tolar Foundation, we published the first Call for Grants to Roma Students. The purpose of the call is to address the social distress of Roma students and increase the chances of achieving a minimum level of quality of life for Roma students. The financial aid is intended for members of the Roma ethnic minority who are not in full-time employment and have student status in the 2020/21 academic year or are without student status for the first year and are still enrolled in a higher education institution from the previous indent (ie ” pause ”). Up to 10 applicants were entitled to one-off financial assistance, and an individual applicant may be granted a one-off financial assistance in the amount of € 400.00. In 2021/22, we intend to repeat the call and thus provide support to members of the Roma community on the path to a better future.

This year we are proud to announce that for the first time we have also awarded a student for excellent success. A 7th grade student at the Maribor primary school, a member of the Roma community, received a cash prize of EUR 100, and we also gave the whole family a free visit to the Mariborski otok swimming pool and the use of a mini golf course.

Acquiring an appropriate education means for members of minorities, such as the Roma community, which still faces segregation and stigmatization, to rise above the poverty line by improving the social and economic situation of the individual. Learning – it pays off.

EPEKA congratulates all pupils and students on the successful completion of the school year.

 

EPEKA Association, Soc. Ent is supported by: