The roundtable was held at Café bar "16" on Friday, June 8th, and gathered professionals from civil society organizations (from the Center for Youth Integration, Center for Interactive Pedagogy, Friends of Children of Serbia, SOS Children's Village and Center Alpha), Foundations ("CWS International", the Roma Education Fund), representatives of the National Council of the Roma National Council of the Republic of Serbia and representative from the office of the Commissioner for the Protection of Equality, as well s the representatives of Belgrade municipalities, preschool institutions, primary schools and departments of the city center for social work.
The participants had the opportunity to get acquainted with the current strategic framework and data on the provided support to the municipalities in Serbia, through the presentation held by Dragana Jovanovic Arijas from the Social Inclusion and Poverty Reduction Team. Neda Zivanovic presented a survey conducted by "Civil rights defenders" on discrimination against members of the Roma community. Saša Stefanović, director of the Network of Organizations for Children's of Serbia, spoke about the participation of civil society organizations in supporting children. Prior to the opening of the discussion, Marko Tošić, Executive Director of the Center for Youth Integration, presented the children's support models that were developed within the services and programs that “CYI” has been implementing for more than a decade.
The discussion, once again underlined the lack of reliable information on the participation of Roma children in formal education, and in particular the lack of data on "dropout" of education. Positive goals have been identified which, through strategies and new funds, that the state has identified, are focused on increasing the capacities of preschool institutions and increasing the coverage of children from the Roma community. Discussions of cases of discrimination and abuse of affirmative measures were held, with particular emphasis that, despite this, affirmative measures are particularly important. Good practice examples were also discussed in both the civil sector and the government institutions - examples of the good practice of the Center for Youth Integration are especially emphasized within the Drop In Shelter for street involved children, Education Program and Social Enterprise Café Bar “16”, as well as an example of good practice implemented by preschool institution “Cukarica”, whose experts regularly do outreach visits and influence the greater inclusion of children from the Roma community in pre-school education.
Some of the conclusions from the meeting are:
It is necessary to map all the resources (within the institutions and the civil sector) in the local community that already exist, which can be in support of children from the settlement;
It is necessary to organize support networks for children from substandard settlements at the local level (in municipalities);
It is necessary to agree measures for improving the position of children, actions in their implementation and work on increasing the sensibility of the majority population in relation to the challenges that families from segregated communities meet in order to reach a more inclusive society.
As a round table epilogue, the continuation of the conversation and the concretization of cooperation between the actors is expected.
The Center for Youth Integration thanks all participants for their presence and active participation.