SUPPORTING LONG-TERM INTEGRATION OF REFUGEES AND INTERNALLY DISPLACED PERSONS IN SERBIA
SOLIDAR member Initiative for Development Cooperation (IDC) has a long-standing experience in supporting social and economic capacities of refugees and internally displaced persons in Serbia and facilitating their integration in societies and access to justice.
What are the local realities?
Following the dissolution of the Former Republic of Yugoslavia, Serbia experienced a huge influx of refugees in the early nineties. The situation was exacerbated by the arrival of IDPs (Internally Displaced Persons) from Kosovo, which greatly increased the numbers of people without acceptable housing and living conditions, and decent employment. Even though the war ended in 1995, according to official data from 2014, there are around 50,000 registered refugees and IDPs residing in Serbia, which is the highest number in Europe. For this reason many Civil Society Organisations (CSOs) providing social services are involved in programmes to support integration of refugees and internally displaced persons.
What is the innovative capacity of your project?
The project aims at improving economic and social capacity, and strengthening of the productive network and access to the labour market, especially assisting vulnerable groups. Vocational training provided through this project lasted six months in most cases, and included training in various jobs needed on the labour market: painters, ceramists, cooks, machine operators, accountants, cosmeticians, masseurs, weavers, etc. The main difference between this and other programmes tailored for unemployed people is the focus on learning practical skills and constant mediation with potential employers.
In Serbia there is a lack of quality laws and regulations on adult education and there are no clear regulations on the certification of vocational training. That is why IDC arranged for training to be conducted in cooperation with local public vocational schools, whose staff were engaged in teaching and whose premises were used for the classes. The training curricula were prepared in cooperation with teachers and adjusted to the regular curriculum of the high school. At the end of the training, participants had final exams in front of a committee composed of school teachers. The assessment of their knowledge and skills was at the highest level, all of them got a certificate with the logo of the school, as well as the signature of the director and an official school stamp.
Read the case study here.
Read the country report from Serbia here.