Roma Humanitarian Assistance Project - RHAP
The 18-month programme (2007/2008) was implemented in five countries: Macedonia, Montenegro, Romania, Serbia and Slovakia. The overall objective of RHAP was to contribute to the successful closure of the German Forced Labour Compensation Programme by utilizing unused “residual” German Forced Labour Compensation Programme (GFLCP) funds for humanitarian and social assistance projects in line with requirements of the Federal Foundation “Remembrance, Responsibility and Future”. RHAP aimed at a tangible improvement of living conditions of needy, elderly Roma survivors of Nazi persecution born prior 9 May 1945 in target communities in the above-mentioned countries. IOM Field Offices implemented the humanitarian projects either directly or in partnership with experienced service providers (NGOs), as appropriate. The assistance included the entire range of humanitarian and social assistance (material, social, medical, legal, food and clothing).
Food, hygienic parcels and winter assistance covered the basic needs of elderly Roma, and contributed to their better everyday living. Legal assistance provided by lawyers helped in enabling access to social and medical rights, and in solving various legal issues of the target group. Medical assistance was provided by medical doctors and nurses/medical assistants through medical check-ups, counselling, referrals and provision of medicines and/or covering the costs of diagnostics/treatment related to various health conditions. Social assistance was organized through the establishment and running of social clubs and organization of social activities for elderly Roma (different social events, chess tournaments, visits to different cultural sites, workshops). This contributed to the removal of obstacles for their participation in social life of the community.
RHAP for elderly survivors had a stabilizing effect on greater Roma communities while strengthening local Roma NGOs. This capacity-building “bonus” supported the integration and empowerment of Roma minorities in the region through the development of a strong grassroots NGO sector within the Roma community itself, equipped with the skills and accountability necessary to serve their constituencies. Working in close partnership with Novi Sad Humanitarian Centre and the Italian Consortium of Solidarity, and with Roma NGOs in 20 target municipalities in Serbia, IOM Serbia assisted 1,500 direct beneficiaries and approximately 1,000 indirect beneficiaries (families, Roma community and the like).