Social Entrepreneurship for Roma Communities

Even though many social economy projects have been implemented already in Belgium, the Roma community still lacks knowledge about these issues and possibilities. It appears evident that as a socially and economically excluded community, the Roma would greatly benefit from social entrepreneurship as a way to empower themselves both in a social and economic way.

The interviews carried out in Belgium, teach us different things and give us different points of view regarding this specific subject. Both of our Roma interviewees (a Roma community leader and a Roma NGO), showed the current gap existing between the Roma and social economy. As persons specialized in Roma issues, being of Roma origin and having worked with Roma for a long time, they showed us how social entrepreneurship is still a minor concern in the community and how information about it still takes time to spread. On the contrary, our interview with a representative of “Pour la Solidarité”, has highlighted that much has still to be done from the social economy networks to address specifically the Roma issue. As a non-profit organization specialized in social economy, they have been linked to projects where Roma were concerned but never specifically targeted. This situation creates a vicious circle where very few Roma are either aware or trained in this domain; hence their visibility being very poor, the relevant networks or organizations concerned by social economy do not tackle enough the problems this community faces.

It can then be argued that both parties (the Roma community and the social economy organizations) still have to bring their concerns closer to each another and try to work out solutions by working closely together. This means better collaboration, information, training and knowledge. Knowledge about the Roma community from social economy organizations and knowledge of the benefits of social economy, from the Roma community.

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