What we do


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Access to European resources to work in partnership with partners from different countries has been a formula widely used by the FSG to advance approaches and work methodologies that have an impact on the daily work of the institution. The European context allows valuable innovation space for experimenting with new ideas and solutions to issues related to social inclusion. Through thematic projects (health, education, social inclusion, etc.) we worked very interesting initiatives in several European partners with different backgrounds and working in different contexts, but with common goals and purposes: social inclusion of Roma. Such projects have been a great learning experience for the FSG, to allow sharing approaches and methodologies in the same field of work with different entities. Both the type of activity and the profits of many European initiatives have been the basis for subsequently developing other projects nationally.

Here are some of the most relevant projects in their area of activity:


  • Health

In 2003 and 2004, the FSG carried out the project entitled Promotion of cooperation networks among entities addressing the problem of drug addiction and the Roma Community. This project, supported by the European Commission’s DG for Enlargement, was based mainly on networking the issues of preventing drug addiction, and training social agents on a very specific topic such as this. The project incorporated partners from Eastern European countries such as Slovakia, the Czech Republic, Hungary, Romania, and Bulgaria.

Also within the framework of the European network SASTIPEN (health in Romany), the “Reduction of Health Inequalities in the Roma Community” (2005-2006) programme was carried out within the European Public Health Programme. Partners are from Bulgaria, Slovakia, Greece, Hungary, Italy, Portugal, the Czech Republic, and Romania. This project was put forward to gather information on the health situation of the Roma community in Europe, analyse the socio-economic and environmental factors that have a negative effect on the Roma population, and identify the factors that prevent normal access to health-care services.

The European project entitled Health and the Roma community: Analysis of the Situation in Europe, which was funded by the European Commission’s DG for Health and Consumer Protection and based on the scheme developed in Spain, has made it possible to obtain information about the health situation of the European Roma population, identify its true needs, and establish priority actions.

This project, which began in 2007, ended in November 2009 with the publication of the document Health and the Roma Community: Analysis of the Situation in Europe (Bulgaria, Czech Republic, Greece, Portugal, Romania, Slovakia, and Spain), which contains a comparative analysis of the health status of the Roma population in countries that have taken part in the study, as well as a chapter of recommendations directed at the key players involved in the health-Roma community nexus. The report also contains, as an annex, a summary of the results of each of the surveys carried out in the participating countries. All relevant information about this project can be obtained from the project’s final report.

  • Social Inclusion

In the European dimension of this field, the FSG set up a project entitled Involvement of the Roma Community in Inclusion Programmes. In this first project, in which the FSG led a group of partners from Portugal, Belgium, France, and the United Kingdom, the aim was to identify and analyse the reasons behind the social exclusion of the Roma population, and to reflect on why the anti-exclusion social policies have hardly had any impact on the Roma. One of the partners’ main tasks was also to identify positive experiences, or best practices in combating social exclusion. It was a project based on research and analysis.

In 2002, and within a new European framework defined by the European Social Inclusion Strategy and its corresponding Community Action Programme, the FSG put forward a pilot project entitled Promotion of more pro-active social inclusion policies for the Roma and Traveller communities. This project helped to produce a subsequent project that included an extensive partnership comprising of 14 entities of seven European countries. Although the previous project only included Member States from EU-15, this project, which was carried out between 2003 and 2005, was developed in an historic period marked by the enlargement to the East of the European Union, and the importance that the large Roma population acquired during this process from the then candidate countries. The FSG also joined this dynamic, and incorporated companies from Eastern Europe into all its projects. This project has had great institutional relevance for the FSG insofar as seven ministries responsible for the social inclusion policies of the partner countries, together with one NGO per country, were all involved as partners in the same project. The transnational and institutional dimension of the project has had a great impact.

The objectives of the project were intended to promote institutional action, focusing particularly on the National Action Plans for Social Inclusion, and training to promote the social inclusion of the Roma population. Actions were designed to analyse social inclusion policies and devise indicators to evaluate progress of the Roma inclusion process and recommendations in this area. In brief, an extensive joint report was published along with the Awareness-raising guide for the social inclusion of the Roma community, which summarised the guidelines of previous analyses. Lastly, the project provided training in each of the Member Countries to Roma organisations, with the aim of promoting their involvement in social inclusion processes as well as public administrations in charge of social policies.

  • Education

In this field, the Foundation has carried out several projects within the framework of the European SOCRATES programme in its various versions. Between 1996 and 1999, the FSG implemented several projects focusing on Training for Mediators and Professionals working with the Roma Population in the area of Education. These projects are based on supporting educational professionals, developing strategies, materials, and resources to facilitate the educational processes of the Roma students during the different stages of education, as well as aspects like cultural diversity, values education, coexistence, and intercultural education.

In 2001, the main objective of the project entitled Training and Support for Teachers in Cultural Diversity Centres was to contribute to the ongoing training of teachers in view of diversity and intercultural education. Documents were drafted for teachers with guidelines, suggestions, and basic strategies for dealing with cultural diversity and introducing cultural minorities, especially Roma, to the curriculum. Also identified were cases of good practice in values education for the multicultural society, cooperation between internal and external education agents, and the social integration of ethnic minorities in school. Partners from France, Portugal, and Slovakia took part.

The FSG has also worked in adult education with the LUMINA: lifelong learning for adults in a situation of disadvantage project (2001-2004) with partners from the United Kingdom and Romania.

In 2003, the FSG coordinated the project entitled Ethnic Minorities and Secondary Education: the Roma student body. The objective was to analyse the variables that affect the educational processes of ethnic or cultural minority students (Roma) in secondary school, defining the measures and strategies to promote access to studies and academic success. In partnership with six countries, specific analysis actions were implemented to identify the factors that influence this student body’s access to and permanence in secondary schools, promote awareness-raising, and compile documents containing guidelines to promote student access and academic success of ethnic minority students in secondary education.

Also in 2005, the FSG launched the A New Approach to Relations among Teachers, Parents, Mothers and Students project, in which a didactic application of the ‘Forum Theatre’ method was developed as a methodological strategy to work on communication and settling group conflicts. The FSG took part as a partner with entities from Romania and Turkey.

The A Good Start pilot project on pan-European policy coordination: the FSG is a partner in the pilot project A Good Start, a European Commission initiative whose aim is to promote quality early childhood education for Roma children (0-6 years).

The project is led by the Roma Education Fund (REF) and provides specific actions in four countries (the Former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia, Slovakia, Hungary, and Romania) involving 4,000 Roma children in the activities. The FSG’s role is to learn from the project’s interventions in order to draw up strategic documents and proposals at political level.

More information in English: http://www.romaeducationfund.hu/good-start-eu-roma-pilot

  • Vocational Training and Employment

The FSG started to work with European funds in this area in 1995. The first project was ENFORMA-Empowerment (Horizon Initiative), which consisted in the training of mediators, and the sharing of labour market integration experiences with partners from France, Greece, and Ireland. This project was followed by the FORMAROM project in 1996 (Leonardo Da Vinci programme), geared towards improving the quality of initial vocational training and the transition of young people into an active life of employment. Partners from France, Italy, and Portugal took part in the project.

But the most important project in this field is undoubtedly ACCEDER: Roma community’s access to the labour market, which began as a pilot project with French partners within the INTEGRA programme in 1998. Due to the good results, the project was extended to become a six year project (2000-2006) funded with the Structural Funds (ESF and ERDF). This project, which combines individualised pathways to employment with more general training measures, technical assistance, and awareness-raising methods, has been recognised by the European Commission as a model of best practice because of its results and good management. In fact, the project continues to adapt itself to new challenges during the new period of Structural Funds 2007-2013 that include supporting the academic success of Roma children (PROMOCIONA), and interventions with the Eastern European Roma population.

Within the framework of the SOCRATES programme but in the Grundtvig 2 section, in 2005 the FSG launched the Skills for companies and jobseekers project. Together with partners from Great Britain, France, Italy, Belgium, and Romania, this project promoted the organisation of exchanges and the production of tools in two areas: vocational counselling methods targeting jobseekers, and the interrelationship with companies in order to carry out an objective and practical assessment of the skills and abilities required by potential workers.

The FSG currently participates in the European project, a study on employment and the Roma community. European inclusion project EU Inclusive:  Data transfer regarding the inclusion of the Roma population in the labour market between Romania, Bulgaria, Italy, and Spain, funded by the Romanian ESF and led by the Soros Foundation Romania (2010-2012). Through this initiative, the model and methodology of the FSG’s study carried out in Spain in 2005 on the Roma population and employment is being transferred. This project makes it possible to carry out the Spanish study five years later, in order to evaluate the advances or changes that have been made during this very important period of added common value, which is to visualise the situation of the Roma population in employment in times of crisis. Furthermore, this information will be obtained in Romania, Italy, and Bulgaria, consequently setting up a comparative pioneering study on this matter in Europe.

  • Equal Treatment and the Fight against Discrimination

In this field of work, the Foundation has always tried to follow and disseminate the European guidelines. The European Union has been characterised as being at the forefront of promoting anti-discrimination legislation, and supporting measures and projects of equal treatment far ahead of most of the Member States.

The FSG took part in various Fight against Racism campaigns (1995-1999), coordinated a project entitled Identification of best practice in combating discrimination against the Roma community in 1999. The objectives were, on one hand, to analyse the indirect discrimination to which the Roma population is subjected in terms of treatment received in gaining access to certain public services and social rights. On the other hand, cases of best practice were identified by analysing their strategies both in terms of filing complaints or raising awareness regarding these forms of discrimination, and how to go about correcting them. The results of the process were published in the document entitled Roma, Travellers and Discrimination:  A Transnational Study including cases studies from all the participating countries (Spain, Ireland, France, Portugal, and Holland).

In 2002-2003, the FSG carried out the Raising Awareness for the Promoting of Equal Treatment project , a European project, with a national dimension, aimed at raising the awareness of government administrations and Spanish social organisations about the new legislative framework being implemented in the European Union, particularly Council Directive 2000/43 EC implementing the principle of equal treatment between persons irrespective of racial or ethnic origin. The handbook Discrimination and Roma community: keys and strategies to promote equal treatment was published and an international seminar on the subject was organised.

In 2004, the FSG launched the preparatory phase of the project entitled ROMA EDEM: promoting integration and equality of treatment of Roma/Travellers in education and employment, which was implemented during the course of 2005 and 2006 within the framework of the Community Action Programme to Combat Discrimination. The objective here was to close the existing gap between anti-discrimination legislation and institutional practice. The project includes a number of bodies that specialise in combating discrimination in Northern Ireland, Portugal, Romania, the Czech Republic, and Hungary, along with a Romanian NGO. The project has achieved its initial objectives through the organisation of national and international seminars on education and employment, and the publication of specialised material and a handbook about discrimination intended for the Roma community, 

  • European Citizenship

Throughout 2007 and 2008, within the framework of Action 5 of the European programme YOUTH, the project entitled Roma Youth- European Citizenship was set up. The main objective was to promote the capacity-building of Roma young people to exercise their citizenship at European level, informing and training the Roma youth in order to involve them in European processes and dynamics, therefore putting them on an equal footing with the rest of Europe’s youth and citizens.

Through training and capacity-building actions on European citizenship, the publication of teaching material, the launch of a web page, the celebration of Europe Day, the publication of the Teaching Guide Roma Youth: European Citizenship, and the organisation of study trips, the project reflects on young Roma people, the concept of Europe, European citizenship, its values, resources, and participatory mechanisms. Partners taking part in this project are from Bulgaria, the Czech Republic, Romania, and Slovakia.