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Romani Citizens Presented with Literacy Certificates

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Today, at a ceremony held at the Belgrade City Assembly, 43 Romani middle aged and senior men and women were presented with the certificates for completion of literacy course organized by Civic Initiatives association and conducted by students of Belgrade University. The certificates were presented by Deputy Mayor of Belgrade Miodrag Krkobabić and the Director of Civic Initiatives NGO Miljenko Dereta.

Under the auspices of the project implemented by Civic Initaitives and financed by the City of Belgrade, 14 students worked for two months with the Roma men and women who learned to write in bloc letters, sign their names, read simple sentences and fill in simple forms. The City Administration will compensate the involved students for their efforts with payment of their tuition fees for the ongoing academic year.

This course included the Roma citizens that were moved from the former settlement under the Gazela Bridge in Belgrade to new accommodations in Belgrade’s neighbourhoods of Barajevo, Rakovica, Makiš, Mladenovac and Boljevac. The newly acquired literacy is of great importance and will make their daily life and affairs much more easier.

“I feel much better now that I can sigh my name and I don’t have to ask other people to fill in the forms for me. I want to express my gratitude to all the people that made this possible”, Dominika Nikolić (38) from Lipovica said at the presentation ceremony.

The work with this group will continue for another eight months, and the literacy courses for middle-aged and elderly Roma will continue in the future. In fact, the latest available statistics demonstrate that 32,5% of Roma men and women have no education at all, or have completed less than the most basic four years of elementary school. Already a vulnerable group, the low levels of education further undermines their efforts to overcome and escape poverty. (Source: Građanske inicijative/www.blic.rs)

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