Denisona Beriša for already two years’ has been working as Help mediator for employment and social care for the Roma and Egyptian population in Nikšić. She started immediately after High school, after one of her schoolmates, who was health mediator, introduced her with the Help program.
She says that she really likes her job, but she is only partly satisfied with results, as Nikšić generally has a problem with unemployment, and especially for the Roma and Egyptian population. She notes that it is possible to find jobs at the Montenegrin coast, but very often parents don’t allow that their children, particularly girls go there and work. That’ s the main reason why so many girls cannot find jobs, even when their parents sent them in elementary school.
Very often talking about her own personal experience helps her to convince parents to take better decisions for their children.
„I tell them my story, that my parents also didn’t want me to work, but after I had managed to find the job in Help as mediator, immediately after High school, they changed their attitude because they realized that this is good for me. So I am using my story all the time in conversation with parents, to convince them that this is for their children’s better future “.
As Help mediator, she organizes regularly with the local Bureau for employment workshops for RE population to help them with practical instructions: how to apply for job, where to look for it, how to write CVs and cover letters.
„Recently I helped 16 persons to apply for a job in an supermarket. Unfortunately, no one of them got the job “. As she said, she was persistent and called the supermarket to ask them why nobody didn’t get a reply, and they said that they were „still checking to see if they can hire someone “. In the meantime, she has found out that all jobs were already occupied.
Denisona Beriša today intensively works with about 20 RE families, although she is always there for others members of the community when they need help, not just for employment. Also she provides them support for other things like medical care, and whenever they need contacts with institutions on the local level.
“For example, very often people ask me to write requests or appeals to the Electro distribution system, especially when they want legalization. They also often require help for housing problems and similar difficulties”.
Denisona is 21 years old and she likes her mediator job, because it gives her a feeling of purpose for RE community, and that is what she wants to do for now, but she is also thinking about possibilities to continue her education in future.
Born in Nikšić, Denisona Beriša lives there with her parents, her father is an invalid retiree from Željezara steal factory, and with her two younger sisters who are in school.
The Roma and Egyptian mediators’ programme is part of Help’s regional project “Support to socio-economic stability in the Western Balkans region 2019-2020” that is funded by the German Foreign Ministry.