Social Entrepreneurship for Roma Communities

SERCo Project Scope

The concept of the project developed after taking under consideration the national Roma inclusion strategies, the Council Recommendation on Roma integration1 and the assessment of the national Roma integration strategies by the DG Justice. All these policy documents recognize the importance of Roma equal access to employment. The Council Recommendation makes specific reference to supporting entrepreneurship, whilst according to DG Justice, “using the potential of social economy and social innovation could promote (re)entry to the labour market” 2.

The project will contribute in supporting the national Roma inclusion strategies and the Council Recommendation on Roma integration concerning Roma employment by creating a strong impetus for bottom-up policy change and innovation. More specifically, it will:
– provide Roma mediators with the necessary skills for supporting the planning, establishment and sustainability of social enterprises within Roma communities;
– extensively disseminate in a targeted manner the project results to all types of stakeholders at all levels thus contributing to policy reform, streamlining social entrepreneurship in national Roma integration policies, increasing awareness and creating a change of attitudes concerning Roma inclusion in Europe;
– establish enduring synergies with Roma communities, public authorities and organizations working with Roma and the social economy at all levels.

The project utilizes prior knowledge and initiatives of the Council of Europe (CoE)3, especially concerning mediation and capacity-building and successful practices identified by the European Commission’s DG Justice concerning Roma social entrepreneurship4. All partner countries but Spain participated in the CoE ROMED programme5, training Roma mediators. Bulgaria, Italy and Romania participated in the CoE ROMACT6 programme, supporting local communities’ plans for Roma inclusion. Spain, Belgium, Italy and Romania participate in the Mediation4Roma7 project funded with support from the Lifelong Learning Programme of the European Commission. In addition, the project will use the experience from Romania in supporting cooperative/associative structures and the social economy and Spain and Italy in targeted employment and training programmes.

SERCo partners have strong interest and experience in supporting Roma rights and integration. To this end, they have contributed to the preparation of this proposal. All project activities will carefully address cultural and community differences and contexts in Roma inclusion concerns. The Roma are a highly heterogeneous population, differentiated by ethnic identity, social status, and language—even within a given country. These various groups also differ in their level of integration and labor market position. Roma women are particularly vulnerable and therefore their involvement in the project activities will be particularly encouraged.

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Contact us

University of Piraeus Research Center
Digital Systems for Learning & Education Laboratory
150, Androutsou Str., Room 207
Piraeus, 18532, Greece