Is a decade enough?
The month of joke that we are leaving behind was full of serious events. Most of them do not have a single effect. On the contrary. For example, the consequences of our choice will follow us in the next four years, and the effects will definitely last even longer.
In April, the Government officially started the activities for the “Roma Decade” that will last until 2015. The effects of the Decade may be long-term. Symbolically, the Government chose to start of the activities on the World Roma Day, 8 April.
The expectations of the Romas in Macedonia, who are one of the most marginalized ethnic groups in Macedonia are big. “We hope that I will be able to give food to my children”, “I hope that we will live better”, are some of the answers to the question: “What do you expect from the Roma decade?” Results are expected in the four sectors where the activities will be focused: education, housing, health and employment. Those results should contribute to better integration of Romas in the society, which is the very idea of the whole Decade. But, is a decade enough? Are ten years enough to overcome the stereotypes, beliefs, mistrust, to empty the crossroads, increase the life expectancy, register the first days of official employment…
Probably not. However, it does not mean that we should give up in the first place. On the contrary, the Decade is a challenge for the Romas and for all the others who live with them. For the Government, as well as for the civil society organizations. The Decade is not only ten years, it is the first ten years. And the effects from these ten years, I believe, will last much longer.