Association Centre for Social Initiatives NADEZ: "We need to build reliable social capital"
Date: Nov. 3, 2020

Consortium member from Republic of North Macedonia, The Foundation For Educational And Cultural Initiatives “Step By Step” will be closely cooperating with Association Centre for Social Initiatives NADEZ in the ARISE project.NADEZ is a non-governmental organization founded in 1997 at the initiative of the employees on the project "Roma Reintegration Program" implemented by Caritasverband für das Bistum Essen e.V., Germany. The biggest motive for founding of the organization was the determination of its members to help people in need. 


Since its beginning, C.S.I. NADEZ has been actively working in the field of supporting vulnerable groups through: support for women  and their economic empowerment; support in the education of children and youth; support for girls' integration by providing access to education and offering extracurricular activities; support for the multi-ethnic dimension of our community and its growth; collecting and distributing food and clothing to those in need, spreading the principles of reciprocity, humanity and solidarity.
C.S.I. NADEZ mission is to work for the social-economic integration of socially marginalized people and people living in poverty, with a focus on Roma and youth, through educational support and assistance in exercising social rights. Our vision is a developed democratic society of equal opportunities, where human rights are respected; citizens are socially engaged and highly tolerant and supportive of diversity. The program C.S.I Nadez is implementing at the moment is Support to Sustainable Return and Reintegration of Roma families in Republic of Macedonia and this program includes informative-advisory support, vocational training, mediation for employment for the returnee families, work with their preschool and school children and their integration in the formal education.

When it comes to inclusion and integration of children with low SES background, C.S.I. NADEZ overarching conclusion is that one of the gaps is a lack of services/facilities and organized low-cost activities for these children to join. Parents’ top priority is more for children and young people to do and more services to use: “Parents’ educational background, work experience and ability to access work while bringing up children, all influence children’s own attitude to learning and later to work. Most of the parents we work with, which is the average situation of the population in the community, only have minimal or no qualifications and do low-paid, non-professional or casual jobs. They have such limited education and work experience that their opportunities to progress affect their children’s chances. Almost all parents need support to overcome these major handicaps. Working with children and families especially in the period of their lives when they are at the end of their elementary school education and deciding in which direction they should continue their education is especially important. Also, an important challenge is the migration from the lower to upper grades (5th to 6th grade in elementary school), when many of the children in poverty drop out from school. The main reason for that is that the children who live in poverty start earning money from their tenth year. The low level of awareness about the negative effects of gender inequality is also one of the challenges regarding inclusion of children with low SES background. The Roma population in the Republic of North Macedonia represents the most marginalized group in the country with the lowest chance for upward mobility; the situation of Roma women is especially difficult, given their economic and social vulnerability and dependency of welfare aid and the good will of their husbands and/or parents in-law. Most mothers who don’t work said it was because of children. For these women, being a full-time, stay-at-home mother was the obvious choice. Due to patriarchal traditions, Roma women and girls still do not enjoy full respect for their freedom of choice in matters concerning the most fundamental decisions of their lives. Roma women are still facing significant levels of discrimination and difficulties in all areas of life and are still highly undervalued in their communities regardless of which group/subgroup they belong to. Their educational level is lower than those of Roma men and that of non-Roma women. This is due, among other reasons, to stereotypes by society in general, early marriage, having multiple children, low levels of literacy, and so on. Roma households are multi-generational and usually the "real woman" role is assumed by the mother in-law, who has big influence over young couples. However, as the bride grows older, she begins to assume the characteristics of her mother in-law. This is evident in traditional households and is becoming less common in families that have attained a higher level of education, which are unfortunately still too few”.

C.S.I. NADEZ  points out, as one of the priority actions that should be taken to tackle the obstacles in the process of integration of children with low SES background, the building of a reliable “social capital” locally and social meeting points (building local support networks; child-oriented services especially for female children; as well as the urgency of tackling issues such as poor parental supervision, gender issues):  “In the community like Shuto Orizari, in which a significant portion of the population faces poverty, creating a space for children with low SES background, dedicated to providing services/activities for children, parents and wider community to join together while bridging and linking social capital and addressing the question of gender equality, for our organization is a main priority to address. The focus should also be on girls in the last years of their elementary school education. Creating an online platform that will include more services/activities/resources for the target group, in combination with live events/activities is a powerful toll that will provide the needed support for these children and their families, as well as for the whole community. The target group we work with is a group which needs to be part of this project the most, since they are coming from marginalized ethnic group, but also face poverty and economic difficulties, and are socially excluded. Furthermore, the awareness for the importance of education is very low and the children lack support from the parents through their education“.

To learn more about Association Centre for Social Initiatives NADEZ, visit their website and follow it on Facebook.