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For the first time in Macedonia

Roma Economic Forum

The Forum addresses issues like - the government and the international programme for Roma in Macedonia, development of small and medium enterprises and the possibilities for employment of Roma in Macedonia, the economic possibilities for Roma women in Macedonia, etc.

The Roma Economic Forum takes place for the first time in Macedonia at the Aleksandar Palace Hotel on 25 and 26 March 2004. It is organized by the Roma International Centre in Macedonia (RICM), the Institute for Sociological, Legal and Political Researches (ISLPR), HDZR "Mesecina" from Gostivar, CRZ "Drom" from Kumanovo, HDZR "Kham" from Delcevo, ZZR "Esma" from Skopje, ROZM "Daja" from Kumanovo, "Romaveritas" from Skopje, "Horizonti" from Skopje, Filis Demirova, graduated customs and shipping manager and Semsi Sainov, graduated economist. The Roma Economic Forum is financially supported from the United Nations Development Programme - UNDP, the Macedonian Centre for International Cooperation (MCIC), the Macedonian Enterprise Development Foundation - MEDF, the Swiss Embassy in Macedonia - the Swiss Agency for Development and Cooperation, the United Nations High Commissariat for Refugees - UNHCR, the Foundation Open Society Institute Macedonia - FOSIM, the British and the United States Embassy in Macedonia. On behalf of the organizer, the Forum was opened by Zoran Dimov, RICM President, greeting the present representatives from the civic sector, especially the Roma, the government representatives, the diplomatic corps in the country, the businessmen and all present Roma, with the belief that the Forum will result in concrete operational conclusions.

“It is a fact that Roma people in Macedonia are left on the bottom, on the margins of the society. My organization is trying to find finances - through membership fees, donations, companies - to implement its activities directed towards improving the life of Rma people in Kumanovo, especially in the field of education. However, I hope that from this Forum, we will learn how to look for further alternative donations for continuing the activities, for self-financing, because it is a fact that the foreign donations will sooner or later stop coming as they have so far", said Mibera Demirovska, president of the Roma Humanitarian Women Association Kham from Kumanovo.

Jovan Ananiev from ISLPR, presented at the Forum, probably one of the most striking facts from the research they conducted in the period between 25 December 2003 and 9 January 2004 in several Roma settlements in Macedonia with a population of over 2.5% Roma. The research was done with the help from local Roma civic organizations: "This part of the research shows that over 50 percent of the Roma questioned, answered that when looking for a job, they faced ethnic discrimination, that is, they were declined only because they were coming from another ethnic community. It is also shocking that although in the last couple of years we have treated exactly the same problem, that is the elimination of this problem, the results are such as I have just presented", added Ananiev.

“The success of this Forum will depend on what the proposals, recommendations and conclusions at the end of the Forum are going to be like. Anyway, we have to welcome this activity since it is the first of this type in our country, and it involves almost all subjects relevant for the socio-economic life in the country", were the words of Milan Demirovski, president of the Roma community "Nijami" (Justice) and one of the participants at the Forum.

The Forum addresses issues like - the government and the international programme for Roma in Macedonia, development of small and medium enterprises and the possibilities for employment of Roma in Macedonia, the economic possibilities for Roma women in Macedonia, etc.


Daniel Medaroski



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