A new life chapter for Roma families in Valjevo

April 8, 2024

Slađana and Adam share their life stories on International Roma Day

Slađana lives in Valjevo with her daughter Anastasija, who is in the second grade of elementary school. She has two older children who also visit her often. 

She is a beneficiary of the "My New Home" project, implemented by the City of Valjevo as part of the "European Union Support to Social Housing and Active Inclusion" Programme, financed by the European Union and implemented by the United Nations Office for Project Services (UNOPS) in Serbia.

To the question how she sees her life in a few months, Slađana responds: "Much better. Because we will receive support to find a job or start something on our own and do creative things." Slađana likes creative work and hopes to receive support within the project, which will enable her to pursue her business endeavour. Currently, she is preparing a new creative project for the Easter holidays.

In addition to support in employment and self-employment, 20 vulnerable families in Valjevo will receive a new home in a new social housing building, and will also be supported through complementary active inclusion measures, such as support in education, psychosocial support, and healthcare.

Anastasija already attends workshops for children where she receives educational support and participates in various activities. "I go there sometimes before school, and sometimes after, we do our homework and draw", says Anastasija. Slađana says it means a lot to her that her daughter can attend other activities besides school, which truly help her in learning and where she spends time with her peers.

"Support means the most to me because of the children, as they need space to learn and develop", says Adam, who is 33 years old and lives in Valjevo with his three children and wife.

At the trainings held at the Social Welfare Center in Valjevo, Adam says he learned important information, but what particularly matters to him is support in education for his children, as well as better access to healthcare, as he has one child with health issues.

"I have great hope that things will progress positively. I plan to open my own workshop that will deal with minor repairs, the school will be closer for the children, and the living conditions will truly be better for us."

Adam explains how he wants to open a workshop for repairing phones and electronic devices, and through the project, he will receive the necessary support and income generating equipment, which will contribute to long-term economic security for him and his family.

In addition to Valjevo, social housing and active inclusion projects are being implemented in 18 more cities and municipalities in Serbia with the aim to provide adequate housing solutions for 360 vulnerable families, through the construction, purchase, and reconstruction of apartments and houses. The European Union has allocated 27 million euros for the EU SHAI Programme, and the project is implemented by UNOPS in Serbia. Beneficiaries are also supported through complementary active inclusion measures, tailored to individual needs, which will significantly contribute to better social inclusion.

Photo: UNOPS/Sanja Knežević