PRALIPE PIROT

PARTNERS

Cultural and Information Centre "Pralipe " Pirot

CIC "Pralipe" - Pirot is a non-partisan, non-governmental and non-profit association of citizens, founded on 20 June 2001. The activists of the organisation want to contribute to the empowerment of the Roma population and the creation of conditions for the integration of Roma in the local community.

The aims of CIC "Pralipe" are:
• education and improvement of the standards of living for the Romas in all aspects,
• education of women and children,
• creation of the conditions for a faster and better learning of the language of instruction,
• creation of the conditions for a pre-school education of Roma children,
• work on the faster employment of Romas,
• protecting the culture and tradition of Romas,
• organisation of TV and radio programmes on and for Romas,
• affirmation of a healthy life style through sports

Pirot Town is in Southeastern Serbia, 70 km away from Nis and 35 km away from the Bulgarian border. It is the largest municipality in Nis Region, when measured by the area, and the third in Serbia. Its area is around 1,200 km2, and it consists of 73 settlements with around 55,000 inhabitants. According to CIC Pralipe data, there are between 2,400 and 2,700 Romas in Pirot Municipality. According to the survey conducted in cooperation with Prof Dr Dragoljub Djordjevic, 10 % of the surveyed Romas live on the social assistance.

The association organised the educational activities in the fields of ecology and environment protection. It started a series of activities whose aim is the communal improvement of the Roma settlement. Together with other NGOs from Pirot, it took part in the campaign against corruption. It also initiated the discussion on the Law on National Minorities and the Poverty Reduction Strategy on the local level. We organised two consultative meetings with the theme 'Potentials of Roma Population in Poverty Reduction Strategy'. As part of these meetings, the representatives of Roma organisations, local authorities and public institutions discussed the issue and formulated the proposals for the empowerment of the Roma population.

In order to improve the educational status of Romas, the Association assists Roma students from Pirot with the application procedure for the scholarships administered by OSI Budapest. Until now, 15 Roma students have got the scholarship of 500 to 1,000 USD per year.

We especially want to emphasise the Development and Education Centre, founded on 1 August 2002, in cooperation with the Society for the Improvement of Roma Settlements, UNICEF, German government agency THV and the local authorities. The aims of the educational centre are the preparation of children for school, the compensatory programme for school children, the improvement of the knowledge of the language of instruction, and integration of Roma children in the local community. Two kindergarten teachers and their assistants, as well as 4 school teachers work in the centre (all of them were on the records of the Job Centre before joining the project). At the moment, around 150 children are attending the activities.

In cooperation with Italian Consortium of Solidarity, we implemented the Project of Prevention and Health Education of Mothers and Children up to the Age of 5, supported by UNHCR. A special attention was paid to the vaccination of the children, the cases of chronic and hereditary diseases, the children with special needs, as well as the education of women for the prevention and early discovery of the diseases of the reproductive organs.

With the support of IOM, and again in cooperation with ICS, we have been implementing the Project of Support to the Romas - Victims of the Nazi Terror. The project caters for 140 beneficiaries, who come to the Social Club, and use the services of the doctor, get the medicines which cannot be obtained free of charge, glasses, prosthesis, hearing aids, food and hygiene parcels, firewood; those who are the most vulnerable get the emergency financial support.

The representatives of CIC "Pralipe" have participated in a number of gatherings, forums, seminars on the status of national minorities, problems of Romas, and the development of the civil sector in general.

The implementation of our projects has been supported by Fund for an Open Society Belgrade, OCSE, USAID, UNICEF, IOM, ICS, UNHCR, the Ministry for Social Affairs, and the German government agency THV.