ECMI Caucasus’s most recent project is aiming at further advancement and empowerment of the Roma community. It is particularly oriented towards creating a positive environment for better economic, social and civil participation of all marginalized Roma communities in Georgia.
The project will be particularly focused on:
- Enhancement of knowledge of the state language among the Romani community members;
- Enhancement of the social inclusion of Roma cildren through establishing and equipping kindergartens in Roma settlements;
- Improve the technical skills of adult Roma through vocational training courses;
- Increase the participation of the Roma community in the civic and political life;
- Preservation of Roma cultural identity through encouraging the formation of musical groups;
- Empowerment and support to the Kutaisi nomadic Kurdish-speaking Roma.
The project is supported by supported by Open Society Georgia Foundation (OSGF). It carries the title: “Support and Development of Roma Communities in Georgia”.
Facts: Previous Roma related activities by ECMI Caucasus
The Roma people in Georgia are one of the least protected and marginalized ethnic groups. Unlike other ethnic communities, the Roma have attracted very limited public attention over the years. Modest positive changes for the community have been seen only since 2008.
ECMI has been one of the first organizations in Georgia to start dealing with the Roma community. As an entry point for engagement with this group, ECMI prepared two policy papers in 2008 and 2009 outlining the history and contemporary life of the Roma in Georgia.
It assessed the current situation of the Roma population with a detailed demographic and geographic overview. Based on this assessment, ECMI initiated small interventions as part of existing programmes aimed at supporting the Roma community in Georgia.
As a result, a series of activities have been implemented ranging from training in basic human and social rights for selected Roma community members and facilitation in the establishment of two Roma community based organizations – in Leninovka village and in Kobuleti’s Roma settlement.
Moreover, school textbooks and clothing were distributed in both settlements. Given that many of the members of Kobuleti Roma community appeared to be talented musicians they were also supplied with musical instruments in order for them to organize a music group.
To meet educational needs by enrollment of Roma children in public schools, a bus transportation was provided for Roma children, along with a few Georgian children from the same village.
Since September 2010 the Georgian authorities have taken over the costs of transportation. Also the introduction of integration classes for Roma children resulted in 30 children enrolled into preparatory Georgian language and math courses in order for them to be prepared for attending regular classes.
Vocational Skills Training Programs such as driving lessons, sewing lessons, Georgian and math classes as well as capacity building initiatives for adults are supporting better integration and self-confidence of the Roma groups.