1) construction of a new multipurpose facility for children and youth in the municipality of Stráne pod Tatrami as the target municipality (hereinafter referred to as the „Multifunctional facility“), and
2) creation of a network of 6 centers, which will organize activities for vulnerable children and youth in the target municipality as well as in the town Kežmarok (5km) and in the village Rakúsy (12km). All three locations are identified in the Atlas of Roma Communities 2019 and are situated in the district of Kežmarok, which is one of the least developed districts in Slovkia with one of the country's highest unemployment rates: 17.12% (October 2020).The village of Stráne pod Tatrami is situated 5 km from Kežmarok and 20 km from Poprad. It is lies in the middle of the Poprad basin at the eastern foot of the High Tatras at an altitude of 700 m above sea level, which ranks it among the alpine villages. The village along with its Roma settlement spreads on the boarder of the Tatra National Park.
The Applicant is the municipality of Strane pod Tatrami with 2 285 of inhabitants, out of which 2 050 are Roma nationality. The municipality includes a segregated Roma settlement, identified in the updated Atlas of Roma Communities 2019, with more than 2 000 Roma inhabitants, out of which 1 566 are children and youth under the age of 24. The target group of the project is more than 16,000 children and young people under 24 who live in the village of Stráne pod Tatrami and surrounding villages (within 15 km from the target village). The project addresses the following situations and problems of this target group:
The key problem in the village is the high rate of long-term unemployed people as well as the unemployment of young people. The unemployment rate of young people under 24 years of age in the targeted district of Kežmarok at the end of October 2020 was 18,22%, one of the highest in Slovakia. In terms of achieved educational, it is the population with lower education and qualifications that have problems of employability. Currently, the low level of education is a major obstacle to finding a job on the labor market.
The target municipality has no space, playgrounds or facilities where the extra-curricular activities could take place and the local children and youth could spend their free time in a meaningful meaner.
The Roma community living in the target area of the project is one of the groups seriously at risk of social exclusion. Roma people often face discrimination in the labor market and are disadvantaged compared to the majority of the population. Poverty, crime, riots as well as civic separation from the majority are growing, increasing tensions in coexistence.
The largest concentration of the Roma population lives in the settlement near the target village, where this marginalized group lives without electricity, water and sewage. Children live in an unsuitable family environment, neglected by their own parents, their lack of interest in education and provision of basic living needs.
1) Construction of a new multi-purpose facility for children and youth in Strane pod Tatrami and neighboring villages. The facility will include a gym hall, a fitness room, a computer room, tutoring class and a room for field social work.
2) Creation of a network of 6 centers, which will organize activities for children and youth in the target village Stráne pod Tatrami as well as in the nearby villages of Ľubica (8km) and Rakúsy (12 km). All three locations are identified in the Atlas of Roma Communities 2019 and are located in the district of Kežmarok. All the activities will be offered free of charge and inclusive for the target group.
The project will involve 8 legal entities, including the Applicant, Norwegian partner and 6 legal entities from Slovakia. They will implement activities in 4 target areas (health, education, employment and housing) within 6 centers, which together form a multifunctional center. Each of the partners and cooperating institutions, with the exception of the Norwegian partner, will contribute premises, equipment and qualified staff with many years of experience working with vulnerable children and youth from the marginalized community. The Norwegian partner, Åpenhet, will help raise awareness and increase the impact of project activities. Åpenhet will collect, process and disseminate data and information in support of project objectives and outputs.
The development of the Multifunctional facility and creation of the network of centers implementing a variety of activities will help improve the access of vulnerable children and young people from disadvantaged areas to a wider range of extracurricular activities in order to improve their personal development and provide them with skills that increase their chances of success in society. Increasing education and theoretical knowledge in the field of social activities for this target group will increase their social inclusion and quality of life. By implementing activities focused on health, protection and building families, education and housing, the village will become more attractive to visitors, tourists, which will contribute to its overall socio-economic development. Through the activities of the Applicant and the project partners, negative impacts will be eliminated, prevention will be strengthened and growth in the creation of a healthy society with a permanent economic background and a diverse culture of social life will be ensured.
Three social workers were involved in the cooperation with the individual centers. Their experience and long-term work with the target group of children and youth from the marginalized group significantly contributed to the creation of an ideal set of measures and activities to ensure the achievement of the project.
The implementation of the project is subject to approval by the municipal council of Stráne pod Tatrami. The general council approved the project by the resolution no. 100/2020 of 26.11.2020 (Annex 3).
The municipality of Stráne pod Tatrami is an independent territorial self-governing and administrative unit of the Slovak Republic. It is a legal entity that manages its own property and its own income. The key role of the municipality is to:
a) structure and manage its administration and budgeting and planning processes to give priority to the basic needs of the community, and to promote the social and economic development of the community, b) participate in national and provincial development programmes,
c) ensure the provision of services to communities in a sustainable manner,
d) promote social and economic development
e) promote a safe and healthy environment
f) encourage the involvement of communities and community organisations in the matters of local government
The total area of the municipality is 422 ha with a population of 2,285, out of which about 2,050 are Roma and 1,566 children and young people under 24 years (468 in the age of 0-6 and 533 in the age of 7-14). The village of Stráne pod Tatrami consists of 2 parts: the local part and a Roma settlement, which is 1 km away and is home to approximately 2,000 Roma. The village has a primary school with a kindergarten, attended by a total of 518 children, all Roma. Due to the small capacity of the school, children have to attend in 2 turns – half of the students come in the morning and the second half in the afternoon. As a result the school premises cannot be used for any extra-curricular activities. The target municipality has no other space, playgrounds or facilities where the extra-curricular activities could take place and the local children and youth could spend their free time in a meaningful meaner. In total, more than 16,000 children and young people under the age of 24 live in Stráne pod Tatrami and the surrounding villages within a radius of 15 km.
A big problem in the village is the high rate of long-term unemployed people as well as the unemployment of young people. The unemployment rate of young people under 24 years of age in the targeted district of Kežmarok at the end of October 2020 was 18,22%, one of the highest in Slovakia. In terms of achieved educational, it is the population with lower education and qualifications that have problems of employability. Currently, the low level of education is a major obstacle to finding a job on the labor market. The second reason, caused mostly by the current economic situation, is the lack of larger employers in the target municipality. The business environment consists mainly of micro-enterprises and small tradesmen with a few job openings. The inhabitants of the village work mostly in the district town of Kežmarok - 6 km, Poprad - 21 km, Spišský Štvrtok - 23 km. They commute to work by bus or cars. A large part of the village's population is mainly engaged in crop production, working in the field of forestry and logging and engaged in construction work. Other sectors such as food production and retail are also represented to a lesser extent. The village of Stráne pod Tatrami, due to their location and flat land character, are predestined for agricultural production, which used to be a main source of living in the past. .
As part of the infrastructure development, the municipality has long planned to build a multifunctional center, which would serve not only the inhabitants of the village Stráne pod Tatrami and the adjacent Roma settlement, but also the surrounding villages. The municipality urgently needs a facility for sports, cultural and educational activities, where the local children and young people could spend their free time meaningfully and thus reduce opportunities for wrongdoing. The Municipality plan of development of Stráne pod Tatrami for the years 2016 – 2022 as well as the previous plan included a measure to build such a multifunctional center. However, due to lack of funding, it has not yet been implemented
The Applicant has experiences with implementing projects of this character and scale. Financed from public sources, the municipality has managed to implement several projects such as:
- Field social work
- Modular school in a Roma settlement
- Black dump disposal
- Support and development of local employment - Guard service
- Support and development of local employment - Coordinator of activation work
- Support and development of local employment - support of pre-primary education of children from marginalized community / Roma assistant
- Support and development of local employment - support of pre-primary education of children from marginalized community / special pedagogue
The vision and goal of the municipality of Stráne pod Tatrami is to create and ensure better conditions for current as well as future generations and permanently improve the quality of life of the inhabitants of Stráne pod Tatrami, develop its economic performance, increase its competitiveness while ensuring sustainable development and overall attractiveness of rural areas.
In the implementation of the project, the Partner1, the municipality of Rakúsy, will provide premises, including their equipment, which are currently used in the personal hygiene center and can be used in the project activities. At the same time, an employee who has many years of experience working with the marginalized Roma community will be available. The cooperation will expand the services currently provided at the centre (drying clothes and linen, providing towels and bath towels). Thanks to the funds obtained from the project, a larger number of residents of the local settlement will be able to use the services of the centre. The cooperation will significantly strengthen bilateral relations contributing to the sharing of experiences, whether positive or negative, but also to the strengthening of bilateral relations in the future.
Partner2 has been educating and training the children and young people from disadvantaged communities for 13 years. In the environment of a marginalized community directly in the settlement of Rakúsy, it has created a special purpose facility – Leisure centre, which became the center of cultural and social life. It has experienced employees along with volunteers that will be available to help with the implementation of the project activities. The Leisure centre currently includes a furnished cooking classroom, 3 playrooms for smaller kids, a library, an outdoor area with a gazebo and a stage. All property, equipment, books and teaching aids will be available for the project activities. The cooperation in the project will expand the educational activities for the endangered group of children but also older youth, including young parents, from the marginalizing community that lives in the village of Rakúsy, only 12 km from the target village. The inclusion of partners from the surrounding communities will allow more vulnerable children and young people in the locality to access a wider range of extracurricular activities in order to improve their personal development and provide them with skills that increase their chances of success in society.
The main contribution of Partner3a to the project is to support the employment and employability of young adults from the marginalized community in the target village of Stráne pod Tatrami as well as the surrounding municipalities through career counseling, education and job mentoring needed for adaptation in the workplace. The training will focus on social and communication skills that will help people from the marginalized community to raise healthy assertiveness, perseverance and responsibility in their future workplace and in everyday life. The expected output of the project is at least 30% success of the project participants in the labor market during the project implementation. At the same time, thanks to job mentoring, we estimate that 50% of the participants in the labor market will retain their employment for at least 6 months. Ultimately, participation in the project will contribute to the acquisition of such knowledge, skills and habits that will help the young participants to understand the labor market, the employers as well as the job requirements.
The private centre of special-pedagogical counselling was established based of the decision of the Ministry of Education, Science, Research and Sport of the Slovak Republic in 2011. It started its activities on 01.09.2011 as a non-profit organization with legal personality. Based on the Ministry of Education of the Slovak Republic, our facility is included in the network of schools and school facilities. Three professional employees, two special educators and one psychologist work in the counseling facility.
We provide comprehensive special-pedagogical activities, psychological, diagnostic, counseling, rehabilitation, preventive, methodological and other professional activities and a set of special-pedagogical interventions to children with disabilities and their families, including intact children with developmental learning disabilities, in order to achieve optimal development of their personality and social integration.
In the project, we focused precisely on the latter group of children in order to improve and develop their potential in increasing the level of their cognitive abilities using neurofeedback trainings that will allow them to achieve better educational results and thus a higher possibility of using their real abilities.
Partner 4, Åpenhet, is a Norwegian private company that specializes in fact based policy making and the dissemination of knowledge in an interactive and visually attractive way. They will help raise awareness and increase reach of the activities. Åpenhet will collect, process and disseminate data and information to support the project objectives and deliverables. Åpenhet has the experience and tools needed to promote the project and make educational materials accessible and user-friendly. Their solutions for digital storytelling will help engage users and keep the deliverables relevant also long after the project has ended.
Åpenhet would help to do the data collection and manage surveys, share best practices, develop education materials or campaign materials. It is expected that the cooperation will strenghten the bilateral relationships and that all the deliverables and outcomes of this cooperation can and will be used on local, regional as well as national level.
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