For Immediate Release
On Thursday, May 22, the USAID Roma Education Project (REP), implemented by the Foundation for Open Society-Macedonia, held a close-out ceremony in Skopje. The 10-year project benefited more than 3,000 Roma students at all levels of education - from pre-school to university - and significantly improved rates of student enrollment, retention, and graduation. The event focused on the accomplishments of the project and acknowledged the contributions of partners and stakeholders. Several speeches and video testimonials spoke of the life-changing impact of the assistance.
Addressing the REP beneficiaries at the event, U.S. Ambassador Paul Wohlers said, “As teachers, lawyers, social workers, medical doctors, and human rights activists, you are an example to others, contributors to Macedonia’s economic growth, and living proof that the cycle of poverty and exclusion can be broken.” He also noted, “Though the project officially ends, the long-term goal of full Roma integration in this country still remains. The success of this project provides the foundation for continued pursuit of this important goal.”
USAID worked with over 1,000 Roma parents, many of whom are now actively participating in school activities and serve on parents' councils and school boards. Over 450 teachers from seven primary schools in Skopje, Kumanovo, and Prilep received training in interactive teaching methods, social justice, and school improvement plans. In their testimonials, many teachers credited REP training for notably reduced prejudice in schools. Daily after-school education assistance to pre-school and primary school students; scholarships; mentoring/tutoring; and additional academic support to high school students all contributed to a more than 20% rise in primary and high school completion rates. Of those who graduated high school, 97 went on to receive university degrees. The Ministry of Education and Science now provides ongoing scholarship and mentorship support for Roma high school students countrywide.
NOTE TO EDITORS:
The American people, through USAID, have invested more than $500 million in Macedonia since 1993. USAID works with the people of Macedonia to create jobs, strengthen democratic institutions and practices, enhance integrated education, and prepare students for the workforce. These initiatives improve the quality of life and support Macedonia’s transition to a stable and prosperous democracy. USAID provides economic and humanitarian assistance in more than 100 countries. For more information please visit USAID Macedonia Website and the USAID Macedonia Facebook page.
Last updated: February 26, 2016