Result 1: Improve the situation of the Roma Provide support in dealing with the problems of housing, as well as infrastructure in the Roma neighborhoods such as: lack of electricity, sewerage and street systems and the general problem with insufficient housing space for the Roma.
Provide support to the interested Roma with respect to preparing the housing documentation.
Build models for regular provision of information to this vulnerable group, with respect to overcoming poverty and social exclusion.
For the purposes of improving the housing situation, the Roma, as a vulnerable category of people should receive a subsidy for a part of the monthly rate for social housing.
Employ as many Roma as possible in the public institutions. Thus they would have greater confidence and would feel “welcome” in the institutions.
The municipalities where a lot of Roma live should employ an officer that would work solely on issues related to the improvement of the situation for this vulnerable category.
Consider the possibility to include more Roma in the soup kitchens.
Provide opportunities for disable Roma to be included in the day centers.
Positive trends have been noted with respect to the education of Roma these past few years. The education level of a large number of citizens has increased, thanks to the national commitments and interventions (provision of personal documentation, conditional cash transfers, free textbooks etc.). However, there are still problems with the inclusion of Roma in preschool education. The Roma education fund, the units of local self-government and the MLSP should expand the number of Roma in kindergartens throughout the country, and they should work more comprehensively with the parents of these children, in order to raise the level of awareness about the need for education as a basis for exiting the poverty cycle.
Provide additional help in the education Roma so that they can achieve better result in the school process. Provide a free extended day care for the children in the schools, and provide free meal/snack during the school day. The additional support in the education process can be offered also by the nongovernmental sector.
Open day centers for fostering, socialization and educational support of Roma children whose parents are busy with everyday obligations.
Implement regular humanitarian activities for Roma families with many children. These activities will entail collection of food, clothes, shoes, school supplies etc.
With respect to healthcare, it is necessary to increase the coverage of the Roma population with healthcare, and especially for the chronically ill, as well as to open healthcare points and health counseling facilities in the Roma communities.
The measure of “Roma health mediators” should be institutionalized.
Roma need to be trained in deficient occupations and should receive full support during the implementation of such trainings (paid travel costs and food). Whenever possible, these trainings should be implemented in the locations where the Roma live.
Apply the positive practice from the existence of the multi-ethnic center (example from Prilep) which offers information and services regarding the inclusion of certain ethnicities (primarily Roma) in society.
Result 2. Improve the situation of the different minorities Another characteristic vulnerable group, in addition to the Roma, is the Yoruk population which lives in the mountainous villages in the eastern and southwestern region. The reason for social exclusion of these people is the low level of education and the fact that they cannot speak the Macedonian language, especially the Yoruk women and therefore specific education programs need to be implemented for this category of people.
Underage marriages, families with many children and the fact that the Yuroks live far from the larger towns are an additional problem that contributes to the transfer of poverty between generations and the exclusion of this category of people. This requires measures specific to this vulnerable group and especially providing information about the social protection opportunities.
With respect to the unemployed women of Albanian, Turkish, Yoruk and other ethnicities, it is necessary to work on raising the awareness of these people, especially in rural environments overwhelmed by traditional standpoints regarding the work of women outside the house.
It is necessary to work on the economic strengthening of the women coming from the minority groups, by teaching them handcrafts and how to make traditional objects which they could them sell on the market.
The increase of employment of members of the minority ethnic communities requires subsidizing the employment of these people in such a way that will make them competitive on the labor market, especially people with lower level of education
Result 3. Improve the situation of the unemployed persons from the vulnerable groups To overcome the unemployment problem is a key priority to reducing poverty and social exclusion. In addition to the measures mentioned previously in this Strategy, proper conditions should be created for individuals from vulnerable groups to be treated with dignity when they find employment and the monthly wages they earn should be sufficient to exit poverty.
Interconnecting and synchronizing education and employment of vulnerable categories, especially adults and people who are completely excluded from the social system, through targeting in order to provide qualifications and access for these people to opportunities to develop their skills. In addition support should be provided also for people whose employment is contingent to providing incentives to employers.
The Law on Social Protection needs to change with respect to the duration of the SFA benefit, because the duration of the benefit is a reason why beneficiaries capable of working do not actively seek work.
When providing SFA, there should be a binding clause that will obligate the beneficiaries capable of working to attend offered training courses and accept offered job positions.
Increase the number of people from vulnerable categories using soup kitchen in order to cover as many people at risk as possible.
The training centers should provide training and retraining, as well as opportunities to attend these trainings in the place where the participants live or, if that is not possible, then the centers should cover the travel costs of the participants.
It is necessary to work on strategic attraction of domestic and foreign investors and open real job positions in local areas.
People with unregulated status or without proper personal documentations need to be informed and supported in effectuating their right to citizenship and procuring the necessary personal documentation.
Result 4: Resolve the rights and requirements of the disabled and handicapped people Undertake measures to monitor the enforcement of the Law on Employment, especially its provisions about the protection of disabled persons against various types of abuses by employers and companies.
The state and the municipalities should make efforts to build resources (technical, financial and human) for providing assistance in home environments.If a family does have the means then they can receive the assistance in the institutions. The amount of material assistance to disabled persons should increase, and support should be provided to the handicapped persons, in accordance with the UN Convention on the Rights of Handicapped Persons.
Form a statistical database of disabled and handicapped persons, i.e. a single registry with data on all disabled people on municipal level (which is a necessity for the social as well as educational process), as well as a registry of employed disabled persons (a municipal social map).
Form mobile multidisciplinary teams (at the level of schools and homes) that will help people with disabilities.
Build mechanisms for early detection and developmental counseling facilities on local level for persons with disabilities and create a lot of forms of support for these people.
Providing support to the biological family of persons with disabilities, especially with respect to the education process, work training and employment, support for independent living, as well as an appropriate healthcare.
The units of local self-government should form and/or implement social protection programs.
Coordinated inter-sector cooperation between the institutions and organizations with a view of appropriately including these people with the healthcare and education sector.
These people need support and assistance to procure appropriate documentation in the PDIFM after the death of their parents. This support should be provided by the legal services of CSW, especially having in mind the short deadlines for effectuating the right to a family pension.
Verify and categorize all children with disabilities in the education process, in order to prevent registering healthy children as disabled children (in order to take advantage of certain benefits offered to these categories) in the special schools.
The teachers need to receive special training for working with disabled children. In addition, teaching assistants should be introduced. The implementation of education inclusion is a national commitment.
Examine the opportunities for the schools that include children with disabilities in the education process, to be entitled to certain benefits in accordance with the law and inform the schools of such opportunities.
Subdivide the disabled children in the day centers according to their age. This would allow for an appropriate individualized approach.
Continue the financial support provided by the municipalities to the day centers, especially those started with foreign support and which have demonstrated exceptional performance.
Building of conditions for including a large number of disabled persons in the day centers in the municipalities, as well as opening of centers where such people can stay for short period of time. It is especially important to mobilize the persons with disabilities from the village areas and bring them to the towns where they can have access to the day centers.
It is necessary to introduce services for providing homecare, especially to people with most severe developmental impediments and people requiring continuous care.
There is a need to open a resource/information/education center for disabled people on municipal or regional level.
Consider the possibilities to change the legislation, i.e. enact a new law that will envision offering employment to disabled people in the public sector by introducing quotas for employment of disabled people in the public institutions.
Introduce programs for work training of these people and establish the concept of social entrepreneurship.
Healthcare should be without age restrictions (disabled people older than 26 should be exempt from co-payments), and the health staff should be properly trained on the rights of these people, while the handicapped persons should be eligible for free tertiary healthcare.
In consideration of the situation of disabled people incapable of working and older than 26 years of age, consider the possibility to award this category of people a minimal income, having in mind that their costs increase proportionally to their age.
Open several housing centers with support. In addition to the opportunities for this category of people to socialize, learn life skills and build self-confidence, the opening of these centers will mean employment for a lot of people from the local community with appropriate qualifications.
Improve the information accessibility and offer training on working with computers to people with disabilities.
The legislation needs to change immediately with a view to equalize the rights and benefits of the biological and fostering families (especially the monetary benefits).
Multiple campaigns are needed, organized by EARM, to raise the public awareness about the problems, but also the potential of this category of people (especially the awareness of potential employers), as well as campaigns to inform the disabled people and their families about the rights and opportunities on the labor market. These activities should be implemented in a clear and understandable way and should cover as many of the stakeholders as possible.
It is necessary to envision larger amounts of funding in the national and local budgets for development and a network of social services in the different municipalities, targeted to this category of people, as well as adapt the space to the needs of the handicapped people.
Alienation from the family, physical fatigue, illness, neglect by the closest relatives and friends, economic dependence, difficult access to the institutions, especially healthcare institutions, CSW, PDIFM and others, are the fundamental problems facing the old and decrepit people. The old people need retirement homes, mobile services that will visit and detect the needs of the old and decrepit people, healthcare, procurement of medicines and food, etc.
Result 5. Support old and decrepit people Form a database of old people (categorize these people by their mobility, age structure, whether they have income or not etc.) at a municipal level, which would be related with an appropriate central registry.
There is a need to provide healthcare over the weekend and holidays, especially in rural areas where there is no developed network of healthcare institutions.
Introduce subsidies for cultural involvement (attending the theatre etc.).
It is necessary to provide hot meals for old and decrepit people in rural areas. Consideration should be given to subsidizing the meals of old people with low incomes.
Introduce food delivery services to the homes of the beneficiaries. In addition to soup kitchens, this is another service which is necessary for the immovable old people.
Old people capable of working could get involved in companies on a voluntary or any other basis wherever there is a need to take advantage of their expertize, especially to train the younger staff.
Provide support and care in a home environment at the local level. Involve the nongovernmental sector in the provision of services to old people, if they fulfill certain conditions. The funds for this could be provided by the national or local authorities, with some financial participation from the beneficiaries themselves. Consideration should be given to training and engagement of SFA beneficiaries for the purposes of providing support to this category of citizens, in a home environment.
It is necessary to form clubs of old people within the existing retirement homes or societies. The aspiration would be to have old women visit such clubs as well and not only men, which is the current trend.
The municipalities should make efforts to introduce more forms of protection and services for older people (home environment services: adaptation of the home, maintenance of the home, installation of 24/7 alarm systems, temporary substitution of the family care etc., as well as establishment of day centers, clubs, small group homes, accommodation in fostering families, palliative services, patronage services, care for disabled women etc.).
It is necessary to increase the number of retirement homes (or expand the existing ones) and introduce the concept of sheltered housing for old people, because the four public homes do not satisfy the needs in the country. The existing homes accommodate people from other municipalities and not only from the municipalities where the retirement homes are located. However it is still difficult to find an available vacancy. Consideration should be given to the opportunities to get involved in public – private partnerships with domestic and foreign firms.
The municipalities should not charge communal fess to the investors that build social assistance buildings or retirement homes (Look at the example with the construction of a retirement home in Shtip with self-contributions, i.e. the old people themselves provided contributions to cover part of the cost, and the rest was covered by humanitarian events organized for this purpose by the Municipality).
It is necessary to identify potential fostering/sheltering families, as a form of protection of old people.
For the old people at risk of poverty, it is necessary to organize humanitarian events for collecting food, clothes, hygiene supplies, firewood etc.
Having in mind that most of the old people have difficulties with respect to resolving legal and ownership issues, especially in relation to the members of their immediate families, it is necessary to establish a legal service that will represent the old people, through the CSW, old people’s clubs or other forms that exist within the municipality.
Some of the more characteristic categories of children at risk are the children from poor families, street children, children of dysfunctional families and juvenile offenders. For these categories of children the education process does not provide mentoring programs, there are no municipal professional workers, not any psychological or social support is provided by the schools and the centers for treatment of narcotic addictsin the municipalities. For street children and action plan for supporting these categories during the period 2013-2015 is being prepared. This plan envisions having a child file and working with these children on an individual basis, working with their parents etc.One of the fundamental problems with the inclusion of street children in the social flows is the fact that they do not have personal identification documents and slowness of the procedure for acquiring them.Therefore these children do not have, or have limited access to education, social and health services.
Result 6. Work with children and assisting children at risk Form a patrol service for identification and support of street children, considering that most regions do not have any institution that deals with this. This has been introduced in Skopje and yields solid results.
Determine the responsibilities of the social work centers with respect to the children found on the street, which come from other municipalities and are involved in begging during market days or on a seasonal basis when the region faces a larger inflow of persons that work abroad (except feeding them, the responsible institutions do not have the authority to instigate further procedures for these kids).
The municipalities should open day centers for street children or provide financial support to the existing centers.
Provide dormitory accommodation and mandatory school attendance during the working week. In order to avoid full separation from the families, the children have the right to visits during the weekend.
In order to improve the early child development, it is necessary to work methodologically with the children at risk, but also with their parents.
Examine child poverty and form criteria and indicators to monitor child poverty and undertake measures that will have a direct impact on the overcoming of the adverse situations and prevent the appearance of poverty among children at risk.
The students with bad behavior need to be included in the social flows for supporting certain vulnerable categories, on a voluntary basis (for example: visit old people and provide basic supplies). At the same time, one must have in mind the educational, emphatic and inclusive moment of this accompanying measure so that the participants do not take it as a punishment, but rather make them feel useful and accepted by society.
Engage the municipalities and the centers for social work in the area of peer violence, introduce education programs for children at a later development stage and which have missed the appropriate level of education related too cooperation and living together.
Implement campaigns for prevention of juvenile delinquency and provide information about the ensuing consequences. In regions where this phenomenon is more frequent, open a day center for children and young people, with therapy programs and creative utilization of the potential, mentorships, sports, and recreational activities.
Employ social workers in primary schools, in order to facilitate close cooperation between the municipalities and the local schools in respect to including students in works of general benefit, and stimulate philanthropic activities on local level.
The lack of appropriate capacities and support programs provided by municipalities, and the lack of interest of employers to employ women who are victims of family violence are part of the problemsfacing these people. The inappropriate records, the judgments from the environment, the fear from a bully, the economic dependence and the poor socialization are additional reasons for social exclusion of women who are victims of family violence. The improvement of their situation requires the support from the basic family, provision of free legal aid, strengthening and encouragement to get included in the labor market.
Result 7. Greater employment of women – victims of family violence Establish an appropriate and unified records of women who are victims of family violence, within the relevant institutions (centers for social work, police stations, etc.).
The existing shelters for the victims (the so called shelter centers) should be strengthened with expert staff like psychologists and social workers, which would work on the psychological and social strengthening of the victims.
Increasingly inform the public about the initial signs indicating family violence, and stimulate the reporting of family violence. This requires training of the educational staff in kindergartens to recognize family violence through the behavior of the children.
Create specific measures for reporting psychological violence, especially in intellectual circles.
Detect family violence through the nongovernmental sector, especially using the existing SOS telephone lines operated by professional staff trained to work with victims of family violence, which as a good practice should be expanded in multiple regions through Macedonia.
Stimulate the victims of family violence to form associations for the purpose of a more organized fight for their rights or to fight for their rights through informal groups for self-help.
Open family counseling facilities for prevention of this phenomenon.
The municipalities should provide financial benefits or subsidies to companies that employ these categories of persons, and they should lobby with the employers for the employment of such persons.
It is necessary to offer specific training, requalification and training of these people, in accordance with the analyses of the needs of the labor market.
Help single mothers, victims of family violence, women suffering from malignant conditions, unemployed women, divorced women, and Romani women.
Increase the level of material benefits in order to meet the basic needs of the people at social risk.
Introduce active measures for priority employment of the long term unemployed female beneficiaries of social protection.
Exempt the female beneficiaries of social protection from payment of administrative fees.
Enrich the network of social institutions by promoting public – private partnership.
Result 8. Assistance and treatment of persons that abuse drugs and psychotropic substances Prevention of this phenomenon, as well as introduction of services for institutional and other protection, by implementing preventive campaigns for education of the young people about the consequences of this phenomenon.
Introduction of records and opening of municipal centers for treatment and rehabilitation of drug addicts.
Raise the awareness for accepting these categories of people in the environment where the live.
Facilitate methadone therapy in several towns in this country.
With respect to employment, the period of employer subsidies should be longer and the trainings implemented by the employment center for these people, should be more intensive and shorter.
There should offers to study manual handcrafts which would also serve as a work therapy for these people.
Use the experiences, for example from Strumica, where the drugs addicts have been involved in providing agricultural services.
Prepare a detailed census of the homeless population living on the territory of this country.
It is necessary to conduct detailed field work to survey the homeless and identify their needs and potentials.
There is a need for field work and personal contacts with the homeless persons in order to establish trust.
Construction of new welfare apartments for the homeless people or repairmen, reconstruction and adaptation of the existing dwellings, having in mind the emotional relationship of these people to the territory where they live.
Open hostels and day centers for fostering homeless people, i.e. overnight facilities which would be open, especially during bad weather conditions.
It is necessary to inform the homeless people about their rights and opportunities. This could be implemented either by the CSW staff or by NGOs active in this sphere on local level.
It is necessary to open a larger number of hostels/day centers for sheltering these people, in municipalities where a lot of homeless people have been detected. The practice to shelter these people in retirement homes (for example in Bitola) has been assessed as bad by some participants, because these people have not been subjected to proper medical tests and could be a threat of infection to the old people that are staying in the retirement homes.
The young unemployed persons, as an especially vulnerable category are not satisfied with the amount of effectuated material rights, because they feel useless they do not instigate any new initiatives and they do not have the spirit of volunteering, often they do not accept the jobs offered by the employment center, they have problems with their self-confidence, they are not sufficiently sensitive to the vulnerable categories etc. The level of inclusion of the young people can be achieved through employment, effectuation of material rights and professional development.
Result 10. Support young people from vulnerable categories to find employment Encourage the young people to get involved in associations and organizations for development of new businesses or carriers, through which they would get information about opportunities and their rights on the labor market, would learn about the ways to actively seek work and start-up their own businesses, and would work on preparing the documentation necessary for job applications. A good example in this direction was presented by the Employment Center in Tetovo, where with the support from a foreign donation, the Center established job clubs which offer support for certain categories of unemployed persons in the process of job applications (preparation of personal resumes, motivation letters), as well as training on certain skills, manuals for legal stay and work abroad.
The employers need to be stimulated and the measures for subsidizing companies when they employ young people, by first taking them as interns and then employing them for a longer period of time if they prove successful, should continue.
It is necessary to provide timely transfer of the volunteering fee to the young people involved in the different companies as volunteers, having in mind that these funds are intended for covering the costs for food and transport to and from the working position.
It is necessary to undertake measures to raise awareness among the unqualified young people about the need for training, learning of languages and computer skills, acquisition of communication skills and a rational use of the free time. In this context, it is necessary to provide more information about the opportunities to complete the education, especially for persons from the vulnerable categories.
The young people living in rural areas or agricultural regions require the creation of measures that would encourage the young people to work on taking advantage of the opportunities offered by the IPARD funds.
The single parents are a special vulnerable category which has the priority when creating the measures in the employment centers and when hiring people for seasonal work of public interest. The single parents with low levels of education are more vulnerable than those with higher education and those that are well provided for.
The problems facing this vulnerable category, especially single mothers living in remote villages are: insufficient information about their rights, neglected education, communications problems, environmental impacts, difficult access to institutions, as well as the tradition and religious beliefs with respect to the how independent should women be in leading their lives.
Result 11. Provide support and assistance of single parents Stimulate labor inclusion.The ULSG and the EC should cooperate and engage single parents in public activities for periods of up to six months. It is necessary to extend the period of engagement of these categories of people in public activities (not only utility activities, but also social sphere activities), which would mitigate any future dependence on social financial assistance.
Include single parents in opportunities for training and retraining, training for language, communication and information skills.
Another necessary measure is the introduction of support for children that live with single parents until they finish their elementary education, as well as introduction of extended day care for preschool children living in families where the parent works.
Another sub-category are the Albanian women who are single mothers, especially in more traditional municipalities or regions, where due to the harsh patriarchal beliefs the women are not allowed to participate in the labor market. It is necessary to work on raising the awareness and uproot some traditions, increase the social transfers to this category of women and their minor children. It is necessary to work on the economic strengthening of the Albanian women through handcrafts and manufacturing of traditional product that could be sold on the market.
For better socialization of these categories it is necessary to form self-help groups.
The single parents in the eastern part, in accordance with research, are categorized as single mothers employed in the technical industry and they require specific assistance measures.
The Ministries and the Health Insurance Fund do not provide sufficient funding to provide services to the chronically ill persons and persons with malignant conditions. These people are insufficiently informed about their rights. There are insufficient statistical data about these people. This category of people lacks education about their rights and which institutions can they turn to for the effectuation of their rights. These are just some of the problems facing this vulnerable category of people. Therefore measures and activities have been considered to provide special care for these people.
Result 12. Special care for the chronically ill people and people with malignant conditions
These people need to be registered as a separate category when the EARM creates the active employment measures. In addition, the local self-government should prepare annual plans with measures that will incorporate these people as a special employment category.
It is necessary to revise the obligation for annual registration of the chronically ill people in the institutions, especially with respect to paralyzed persons whose situation cannot possibly improve substantively.
Provision of a financial fund within the local self-government, for providing support to this category to procure medicines or treatment.
Opening of a regional oncology centers in certain regions, as well as provide exemptions from the payment of the health co-payment for women suffering from malignant conditions.
It is necessary to stimulate these people to form formal or informal associations through which they can receive information about the rights, opportunities (for example: part time work, quota employment etc.), and which could also serve as support groups.
The fostering of people who are victims of human trafficking and person involved in prostitution, is seen as a separate category of people which require measures for social inclusion. This category of people, primarily women at risk, is mostly represented in the Polog and the southwestern region of Macedonia. Nationally, there are no institutionalized services from the public sector, while in some regions (Gostivar) there are nongovernmental organizations that provide support to this vulnerable category.
The priority areas for improvement of the situation of this vulnerable group are the social prevention, rehabilitation, resocialization, and establishment of crises centers and SOS lines.
Result 13. Provide assistance and care to people who have been victims of human trafficking and prostitution
Nationally, it is necessary to conduct an in-depth examination of the trafficking and prostitution phenomenon and determine the characteristics, the needs and the problems of this vulnerable group.
Raise the awareness about the consequences from prostitution, through campaigns and organization of education for prevention in school on local level.
Open a rehabilitation center and introduce programs for reintegration of this vulnerable group on regional level.
Form a crisis center for short term accommodation as a form of protections, which would offer quick interventions of rescue and protection.
Introduce an SOS line for this category, which could be managed by nongovernmental organizations.
Review the requirements for protection against sexually transmitted diseases and educate the people that would be discovered as users of services of sexual workers, as well as permanent regulation and control of these phenomena.
Raising awareness about gender aspects of judges, public prosecutors, representatives of the ombudsman, attorneys and young lawyers with respect to the legislation from the area of gender equality and anti-discrimination.