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NGO Young Roma - Herceg Novi was registered on 10 May 2005.

Even before the founding of the organization, the majority of our members had experience in the NGO sector, working as volunteers at the Association of Roma of Bay of Kotor (URBK) through participation in projects in the field of education and preservation of the Roma culture.

The founders of the NGO Young Roma are: Samir Jaha, currently the Executive Director, Mehmet Beriša, Anita Zećiri, Zafer Tafa and Sanja Knežević. Activists and founders of the organization were participants of the OSCE program "Strengthening Roma leadership potential", through which they gained necessary knowledge and skills to work in the NGO sector. 

 

The beginnings

The working program of our organization was developed based on the research status and problems of the Roma population in the municipality of Herceg Novi, but also based on the personal experience of activists from their previous work in the NGO sector. Then designed platform of action was presented to thelocal self-government together with the application for provision of working space for the organisation. The local self-government expressed confidence in NGO Young Roma, after which the two institutions jointly developed steps for the project Roma Centre, an office that works actively since 1 December 2006.

The Employment Agency - Labour Office Herceg Novi also recognized the importance of this initiative and funded 6-month internship  for Mehmet Berisha, who  worked in the Roma Centre.

Stemming from the expressed interest to purposefully contribute  to implementation of obligations under signed Declaration on the Decade of Roma Inclusion 2005 - 2015, as well as improving the social position of the Roma population, the Municipality of Herceg Novi has launched a series of activities at the local level. One of the activities was to connect with activists of our organization, whom the local government considered an adequate partners to reach mutual goals. This wasa group of young, trained people willing to learn and contribute to a better position of their community.

Accordingly, the target group and ultimate beneficiaries of the NGO Young Roma were initially Roma men and women from Herceg Novi, about 300 of them residing in the municipality already nearly sixty years. Today, however, our activities reach all Roma men and women who live in Montenegro.

 

The first activities

  • We began by obtaining data and evidencing Roma in Herceg Novi and formed a database;
  • We provided scholarships for all students and ordinary and extraordinary high school students with the support of the Roma Scholarship Foundation;
  • We have provided firewood, medicines, food and legal assistance for the elderly in Herceg Novi, with the support of the International Organization for Migration;
  • We applied for funds with the project "Computer Literacy" at the Municipality of Herceg Novi;
  • We joined the Coalition of NGOs "Roma Circle";
  • In partnership with the Centre for Roma Initiative from Niksic, we implemented the project "Research on the customs and traditions among Roma";
  • We established cooperation with Roma Scholarship Foundation and Employment Agency, and participated in the project "Roma on the labour market";
  • WeoOrganized the celebration of the World Day of the Roma;
  • We established cooperation with the Government's Office for Gender Equality, and took part in the project "Roma Women Can Do It II";
  • We created a strategic plan for the organization's activities over the next three years.
  • During 2006/07, the NGO Young Roma mainly paid attention to linking and encouraging young people in the Roma community to take concrete actions and initiatives, while also training teenagers to develop individual skills for the benefit of personal and collective progress.

In the years that followed, NGO Young Roma was constantly working to improve organizational management, but above all to improve the conditions of the Roma population through the implementation of activities aimed at the education of illiterate Roma - particularly young girls and women, increasing the level of participation in pre-primary education, primary education supplement , the launch of vocational training courses, training in computers, foreign language courses. etc.  The largest number of activities was dedicated to improving the level of education and raising awareness about the importance of adequate health care.

Through its dedicated work, this, at first, small, local organization, has grown into a credible partner of national and local institutions and international organizations. Since 2013, NGO Young Roma is the focal point of the Decade of Roma Inclusion.

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