Creating opportunities for the Roma
In Slovakia, the unemployment rate among the Roma population is around 80 percent. In the eastern part of the country, Iceland, Liechtenstein and Norway are helping create employment opportunities for the Roma through ecological farming.
Through support from the Slovak NGO Fund, the NGO Svatobor is receiving €60 000 in support for a project aimed at renovating and expanding the ecological farm Malinka, located near the village of Rudlov in the eastern part of the country. This it will create at least ten new jobs, and also help secure already existing ones.
The people working at the farm are all from the area. In the beginning Svatobor worked with Roma people who already had experience with agriculture. As the project progressed, their children and other long-term unemployed who wanted to learn about farming joined as well.
As part of the project, an irrigation system of artificial dams to collect rainwater is being built. This job is being done by a local business that mostly employs Roma.
The production of ecological seeds will create revenue for the farm and its employees. In addition, the farm is also growing fruit and vegetables with the goal of becoming as self-sufficient as possible.
Svatobor has a holistic approach to how it can help improve the situation for the Roma in Slovakia, and focuses on sustainability in addition to social and economic development.
“It is necessary to have a long term-perspective and to work systematically to help include marginalised groups like the Roma into society, and we hope that our project can serve as inspiration for other projects in Slovakia,” says the director of Svatobor, Štefan Straka
Production of bioseeds - the key to development of sustainable green economy
Type of Institution:
Grass root initiative (NGO)
The Roma are one of Europe’s most vulnerable and disadvantaged groups and frequently face intolerance, discrimination and exclusion. Many lack access to housing, healthcare, social services and education. In Slovakia, the long-term unemployment rate amongst Roma is over 80% and poverty widespread. There is also little awareness among Roma communities of environmental issues and landscape protection and few are involved in farming and entrepreneurship activities. The objective of the project is to empower this vulnerable group and contribute to a more sustainable economic development. The project will involve Roma communities in basic farming and gardening activities by helping them grow their own fruit and vegetables as well expanding more commercially through the production of bioseed. Ten new jobs in farming are expected to be created with 10 existing jobs safeguarded. Short film clips will and other publicity materials will be produced to keep the wider public informed about the project. The main beneficiaries of the project will be Roma communities in the local area with publicity activities also generating awareness among the broader public.