Roma Education Fund and the European Union Working Together for Improvement of Education Opportunities and Employability for Roma Children and Youth in Albania

585 Roma children and students, as well as 500 Roma parents, all from Albania, will benefit from a three-year educational intervention, initiated by the Roma Education Fund headquarters in Budapest (REF) and largely supported through a grant from the European Union (EUpre-accession funds.


Financed by a €3 million contribution from the European Union, together with over €827,000 in funding from REF, the EU Regional Action for Roma Education: Increased Education Opportunities for Roma Students and Roma Youth in Western Balkans and Turkey seeks to reduce the gap between Roma and non-Roma in the participation in and completion of quality education through gender-sensitive programming, to improve Roma students’ transition from education to employment and to promote durable systemic change and desegregation of education systems. 


The kick-off event under the project took place on 30th January 2019 at the “House of Colors” Social Centre in the Albanian capital of Tirana. Among the high officials who participated in the event, were Alessandro Angius from the European Union Delegation to Albania, Besa Shahini, the Minister of Education, Sport and Youth, as well as representatives from the Ministry of Health and Social Protection, the municipality of Tirana and the municipality of Shkodra.


Two civil society organizations (CSOs) have been selected by REF as implementing partner organizations for Albania – ARSIS, Social Organisation for the Support of the Youth and Roma Versitas Albania. The financial share from the project which will be re-grantedto Albaniais €351.195 and the implementation period will last until June 30, 2021. 


Through work of ARSIS at least 330 Roma children (aged 3–6) and their parents from the municipalities of Shkodra and Tirana will be reached with early childhood development services aiming to improve access to quality mainstream preschools and to enhance parenting skills. 120 Roma pupils in primary school from the same municipalities are targeted for accelerating school achievement (including attendance and retention rates, as well as academic results), with the active involvement of the Roma parents in the educational process. 


Through the work of Roma Versitas Albania, in the cities of Tirana, Korca, Elbasan and Fier 90secondary school students will be provided with merit-based scholarships and school-based tutoring and mentoring. The young people will be inspired to graduate and continue their studies through getting to know role models from the Roma communities who have enrolled into universities. Developing skills for smoother transition from secondary school to the labor market will be also guaranteed under this regional action.


Finally, Roma Versitas Albania will contribute to the disbursement of 45 scholarships for university students and graduates with merit-based scholarships and offered support towards improved academic results and employability. The employment component will target cooperation with state institutions, international organizations, national employment agencies and private entrepreneurs. The activities related to tertiary education will target the municipalities of Tirana, Korca and Elbasan. 


The project will lean on effective synergies with state and international agencies to ensure quality performance. Through the involvement of national and local decision-makers, the action will contribute to the reinforcement of policies for the critical issues surrounding Roma education and employment. 


In addition to Albania, project activities will take place in Bosnia and Herzegovina, Kosovo, the former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia, Montenegro, Serbia and Turkey.