How you present yourself in society is often the first thing people notice. We try to meet people’s needs as best as we can while at the same time educating people and empowering them. Many of our beneficiaries live for today and don’t have the concept of tomorrow, of saving for the future and for harder times that might come ahead. We don’t just give out things, we teach people how to use them and more importantly, how to value what they receive and have. We encourage people to wash dirty clothes or shoes, to patch broken things and recycle and reuse what’s old. In the Humanitarian Aid program we offer clothing, shoes, food and other necessary things, including hygiene and house products. In many ways this project follows the harm reduction path in the sense that by meeting the needs of our beneficiaries in therms of humanitarian aid, we reduce the stereotypes and the stigma that follows gypsies, homeless people and others who are in a disadvantaged position.
Learning how to read and write or learning basic skills is essential in today’s society and a key element in breaking the vicious cycle of poverty. In our Education program we teach young children and teenagers not only these invaluable skills but also life lessons and principles. We try to show them that there is more to life than what they’re used to. There is a different way of thinking and a different way of doing things, a better and healthier way. At the same time, we provide a safe and fun environment and an array of recreational activities. We try to build their self esteem and show them that they matter, that they are valued and appreciated. At the end of the day we offer them a meal, sometimes this being their first meal that day.
One of our main concerns is to support children and teenagers in continuing their studies. We do this by offering them logistical and motivational support in our after-school program at our day center. At the same time we support children with potential in obtaining social scholarships.
During summers we organize day camps for them. Day camps are a great way of reinforcing the values and skills we try to instill in them throughout the year. The reason behind it is that children and teenagers join our day camps for a few weeks in a row, for several hours daily.
Living in poverty often means not having a medical insurance and being denied certain medical procedures. Through this project we offer free medical assistance to those individuals who don’t have a medical insurance and/or can’t afford certain treatments that you have to pay for. Another purpose of the project is to educate people in basic hygiene notions and habits. Often traumas or wounds don’t heal properly because of bad hygiene therefore education is a big part of this project. Sexual education is another area we work on.
Another part of the project is related to meds and prescriptions. We provide financial help in dispensing prescriptions and medical and prescription drug counselling. Children and emergencies have priority in this case. We are also actively involved in severe cases that require surgical interventions. In this regard we assist our beneficiaries every step of the way. We offer pajamas, toiletries and other necessary objects to pregnant ladies or people who have to be admitted into a hospital for various procedures. We also accompany them to doctors appointments or to certain hospitals if they are located in another city.
Due to poor living conditions, bad diet and very young age at which they give birth (starting with 13-14 y/a), often new mothers can’t breastfeed their babies. We are determined to assist the babies and their families by providing them with powdered milk. There are some criteria by which we decide which families are eligible for the project but sick babies and very poor families have priority. One of our main purposes is to prevent infantile death and malnutrition.
Legal and Judicial Counselling
Very often the lack of ID documents is an obstacle in accessing various Social Protection rights. Therefore we offer legal, judicial and material assistance in compiling the necessary documents. It is also in our mission to advocate for the legitimate rights of our beneficiaries. We want people to be aware of the rights they are entitled to.
In order to prevent domestic violence, traumatic family events, school abandonment and to reunite and repair broken families, we are directly involved in the personal and family life of our beneficiaries by assisting them every step of the way.