News Archive 2021

Help mediators will soon be helping the RE population in 11 municipalities

20.08. 2021

Ermina Tafa, from Herceg Novi, is one of the participants in the training for mediators that was held at the High School „Slobodan Škerović” in Podgorica. For the past two months, she has been attending classes regularly and has finally passed the vocational exam as mediator for social inclusion, with focus on social protection and employment of the Roma-Egyptian (RE) population in Montenegro.

The training for mediators had started at the beginning of July in the Slobodan Škerović High School in Podgorica.

The mediator training was attended by a total of 30 participants, who received professional knowledge in this certified educational institution in a period of two months. The participants will then have the opportunity to apply their knowledge in practice, by helping citizens of the RE population in 11 municipalities across Montenegro. At the beginning of the week, 27 participants have taken the exam.

This is Help’s project “Social inclusion of Roma and Egyptians through mediation” for which funds were provided by the Ministry of Finance of Montenegro – Directorate for Finance and Contracting of EU Assistance Funds (CFCU). The project is co-financed by European Union and the Government of Montenegro.

Partners of Help in this project are the Roma Council, the Capital Podgorica and the municipalities of Ulcinj and Berane.

“The training is very effective and we have socialized very well during its course, we had good communication with professors and each other, and I really liked it, I am very satisfied. We learned a lot that will be useful in our future work. I had some basic prior knowledge but we learned many more new things. The lecturers have really brought us closer to our future work. ”

Although Ermina is more or less familiar with the problems that her community is facing, according to her, she can now recognize and understand the problems of the beneficiaries much better.

“Thanks to the training, we can better understand the beneficiaries, their problems and what is going on in our community – we learned and talked about all this in detail during the training, as well as about the most important methods with which we can help people to better exercise their rights “.

Ermina Tafa has passed the training as a mediator in social inclusion in the areas of social protection and employment.

“I decided to choose these areas because there are a lot of cases in our community that are in need for assistance as well as employment. This is actually a key problem of our community. You have a lot of unemployed youth, among other things, because of discrimination. I hope that I will have the opportunity to approach them and help them. ”

In the municipality of Herceg Novi, where she comes from, most of the Roma population is employed either in a public utility company or in similar public institutions. As she says, private businesses are usually not interested in employing people from the Roma-Egyptian population.

“That is the discrimination that I’m talking about, but we’re working to change that. Private companies now lack manpower, and in the season they employ both Roma and Egyptians. In winter, however, finding a job here is a real problem. Also, in Herceg Novi, there is a large number of social assistance beneficiaries from the RE population, which is why I opted for this mediator training. ”

Mihalea Čadjenović is a member of, as one can say, the majority population, but she was enthusiastic to join this project as a committed civil activist, which supports the inclusion of one of the most vulnerable categories in Montenegrin society, the Roma-Egyptian population.

“To me, this project really seems like something that is successful and something that has shown that Montenegro is a civic, multiethnic state and that we care about everyone, in the sense that we are working on inclusion with full attention. And I think that Help is contributing significantly to improving the situation of this community. Here I am as someone who comes, as they would say, from the majority population, and I could feel during this training just how important belonging and synergy is.”

Mihaela has been commited to activism and human rights ever since and so it was no question for her to join the training for Roma mediators.

“Through activism, I have always tried to contribute to improving the conditions of all groups that are on the margins of society for example women who are victims of violence, or women who want to develop their independent business. It is very important to intra-connect society and establish a balance in which everyone will live with equal chances. As a free, civil, and multiethnic society, we must strive to ensure that everyone has equal access to the rights as guaranteed by the Universal Declaration of Human Rights.”

Mihaela states that it is generally known that the RE population in Montenegro is unjustifiably on the margins and our aspiration is that this community, like all others, has equal access to institutions, and all services provided by society.

“I decided to choose mediation in social protection and employment because, thanks to my previous activism, I already have experience in working with these institutions and I honestly think that I was quite successful in cooperating with them. I was trained as a mediator in education in the past and this was an opportunity to formalize the mediating role in this area, which is also a very important segment when it comes to helping vulnerable population groups. You know that unemployment has never been higher and presents a key problem of the RE community, just like access to social protection.”

Mihaela Čadjenović knows the Albanian language and not Romani, but she is quite sure that this will not be a problem in her future provision of services and with helping the beneficiaries of the RE population.

“There are other colleagues who will surely help me, just as I will help them, in performing future obligations and communication with the RE population. The most important thing for me is to do my best to solve people’s problems, and I believe that I can do that.”

Training for health mediators is underway for another 19 participants

Goran Marinković from Bar is an 18-year-old with a high school economics degree and is currently still in training for health mediators. He travels to Podgorica every day and is very pleased to have been given the opportunity to learn how to be useful to his community in the best possible way.

“The training is going very well; we have a good opportunity to learn how to be useful to our community. The situation in Bar is very bad in that area, primarily because the community is not doing well in addressing health institutions. That is why I think that as a health mediator, I can help the RE citizens of Bar exercise their basic and guaranteed rights easier and faster”, said Goran.

Merljinda Beriša from Nikšić is also hoping to be a health mediator – and she is currently in training after which she will take the exam to obtain the certificate ‘health care mediator’.

“I really like the training; we have the opportunity to learn a lot and I am very glad that I applied for this program. After taking the exam, I expect to start working as a health mediator.”

Merljinda says that her motive for applying for training as a health mediator was that she knows that many members of the RE population in Nikšić do not have all the necessary papers or do not know how to obtain them to ensure their access to health care.

“I noticed that people are often helpless and therefore hesitate to go to the doctor. If all this ends as planned and I am accepted, I could help them realize these rights much easier than before. In fact, I am ready to help the community with everything it needs.”

The biggest inspiration for this young 19-year-old from Nikšić is her sister Denisona, who has been Help’s mediator in their hometown for a couple of years, and intensively and successfully helps the RE population to exercise their basic rights, which are often unavailable to them for various reasons.

“She does it successfully and I see that she has a lot of work to do, people constantly turn to her and she manages to help them exercise their rights more easily. It inspires me and that’s why I think I could help people.”

Upon completion of the training, participants take an exam and receive certificates of the acquired professional knowledge. The best of them will then be employed through Help in the next year and will provide assistance to citizens of the RE population in exercising basic rights and daily services in the field of health, employment and social care.

In each of the 11 municipalities involved in this project, in which we also cooperate with the Ministry of Justice and Human and Minority Rights, at least three mediators will be employed.

Help, as an organization that since the beginning of its work two decades ago in Montenegro has been continuously helping the development and socialization of the Roma-Egyptian population and their active inclusion in society and practical realization of basic social and economic rights, has been intensively developing the institute of mediators. The institute has proven to be a very effective mean of bridging several barriers, such as the language barrier, and with this to support the provision of basic services at the local level for this vulnerable and marginalized community.

For several years now, Help has had its three mediators in Podgorica and Nikšić, who daily provide mediation assistance to the citizens of the RE population.


Montenegro has previously successfully introduced the role of RE mediators in health care in Podgorica, as well as the role of mediators in employment, health care and social protection through pilot projects in three municipalities.

The goal is to permanently apply this model in all municipalities with Roma-Egyptian population, since numerous reports have found that “marginalized Roma face limited access to almost all aspects of development, such as basic rights, health, education, housing, employment and decent living standards”.

The total value of this project, which is expected to last 18 months, is 500,382 Euro.



Crnogorski Deutsch