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Promoting community inclusion and employability of Roma youth
Start date: 22 Aug 2016, End date: 21 Jun 2017 PROJECT  FINISHED 

Research shows that many of the estimated 10-12 million Roma in Europe face prejudice, intolerance, discrimination. The Roma population in Europe is young. The average age is 25 among Roma, compared with 40 across the EU. It is therefore of crucial importance to invest in the education of Roma youth to allow them to successfully enter the labour market. Integrating the Roma people will not only bring social benefits, but will also economically benefit both Roma people as well as the communities they are part of. Economic and social integration of the Roma will also contribute to social cohesion and improve respect for fundamental rights, including the rights of persons belonging to minorities, and help eliminating discrimination based on someone’s race, colour, ethnic, social origin or membership of a minority.The idea of this Mobility project was developed by the young peer leaders during the Training Course in Romania aiming at promotion of social inclusion and employability prospects of disadvantaged youth. Youth peer leaders found a common interest in promotion of Intercultural Learning (ICL) for empowerment of the young people they work with and decided to go further and develop this topic with a particular target group - Roma youth. We believe that a series of empowerment activities would enhance Roma youth prospects for employability and social inclusion.Thus with this project we are aiming at practicing ICL education and peer to peer approach for social inclusion and active participation of Roma youth in the labour market in order to support their employability. Our partnership will use its vast experience gained in the youth work field to achieve this.The objectives of this project include empowering young Roma people with the skills to recognise that they can be drivers of change, getting the participants acquainted with an array of new ICL methods to create replicable presentations that will promote employment among Roma youth, training the participants with ICL and empowerment skills to share their knowledge and competences with their peers and ensuring Roma youth’s inclusion and active community participation.The stages of the multileg mobility project include: 1. Youth Exchange in Romania with 42 young peer leaders and representatives of the participating organisations from the UK, Romania, Bulgaria, Portugal, Lithuania and Turkey to develop Action Plan with ICL and active community participation as alternatives to unemployment and social exclusion of Roma youth and present profiles and experience of the participating organisations in this field; 2. Youth Exchange in Portugal with 72 participants (including Roma) involved in the work of the represented partner organisations where they will test and explore ICL and co-operative community volunteering project work in mixed nationality teams as a way to increase personal self-confidence and employability; 3. Youth Exchange for peer educators and multipliers in Bulgaria with 42 youth peer educators motivated to act as multipliers of the projects' achievements. The working methods to be used during the basic activities of the mobility project are: presentations of realities with Roma inclusion situation in the partner countries; presentation of the Erasmus+ programme with a special focus on opportunities for cooperation between the partners on the projects' theme; workshops on project management, best practice on inclusion and employability opportunities for Roma young people; role plays and exercises on ICL and inclusion techniques; use of peer role models and peer education techniques; study visit to a local Roma youth community centre and meeting with private sector representatives (small and medium size businesses) having experience in Roma youth employment; Open Space method.As a result of this mobility project we will have a European group of young motivated peers and trained peer educators with necessary skills and competences to promote ICL and community participation to tackle with youth exclusion and facilitate employment motivation of Roma youth.The local communities involved with the basic activities of the mobility project will experience a greater sense of understanding and cohesion through the co-operative projects and campaigns that the participants will produce. Joint and active participation of motivated peer leaders, youth workers and trained peer educators will increase awareness about common values and principles of ICL and community participation to approach youth disenfranchisement as well as facilitate employment motivation of Roma youth.We anticipate that we will be able to spread our findings and knowledge further to other youth organisations active with the issues of promoting ICL and active community participation as a tool to support social inclusion and employment opportunities of Roma young people. All the participants will work towards accreditation with a Youthpass certificate.
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