Roma Women Organization of Macedonia "DAJA" from Kumanovo is nongovernmental, non-profit, nonpolitical and first Roma women organization on the Balkans and Macedonia, with headquarters in Kumanovo.
RWOM "DAJA" is established on 6th of June 1993, with am to provide help to Roma population on several issues. Its project, realized in continuation, the organization base on official state data considering the status of Roma in Macedonia, as well on personal researches on the field of education, health, economy and gender, as fields where are located most of the programs of our target group. The methods for working that Daja implements are: classes, workshops, campaigns, platforms, conferences, etc.
Having in consideration that RWOM “DAJA” is first Roma women organization in Macedonia, it is active all the period of its existence, and it has achieved credibility and authority in local and national frames, for which it has great number of awards and acknowledgments.
In the period from RWOM Daja’s establishment the situation among Roma was as following: Roma girls weren’t included in formal education, and even there were enrolled, they drop-out very quickly. Juvenile marriages, in which most of the girls were 12 years old, were often as well as the traditional influence by the parents on these marriages. Even in the Kindergarten at the beginning there were more boys then girls. The parents were also uninterested for their children, due to what they didn’t attend the workshops and the parental meetings. Especially uninterested were the fathers. On the other hand, the platforms that Daja organized were rarely visited by Roma women, due to the traditional norms and values of Roma families toward women’s place.
What have changed in the past 15 years: first, the level for the awareness among Roma about education for their children is main condition for social integration, and that girls’ place is also on”school desks” from their preschool age. The educational process should be interrupted during primary school due to marriage arranged by the parents. The education of the children and the interest by their parents should be common obligation. Following the premise that the girls should attend school, there straightens the awareness, especially among Roma men, that Roma women can be active in public and political life.
Next are the strategic aims set up with the Strategy of organizational working for the period 2005 – 2010:
• Daja’s actively including into the realization of the aims of Decade of Roma Inclusion;
• Emancipation and integration of Roma woman into society;
• Improvement and expanding of cooperation with institutions that work on education;
• Improvement of the status of Roma youth into society, thought
opening (establishment) of Youth Club;
• Improvement of health status of Roma population;
• Providing minimum financial sustainability of Daja;
Mission of RWOM “DAJA”
RWOM “DAJA” is association of citizens (women’s organization) that exists for emancipation of Roma women and integration of Roma population into society, through realization and support to activities for raising the educational level, legal protection and improvement of social status of Roma population in Republic of Macedonia.
Its working straight RWOM "DAJA" directs toward several target groups:
• Roma women ;
• Roma youth ;
• (Roma) NGOs ;
• Roma population ;
The work of Daja is directed on 3 levels:
• local level
• national level
• regional level
On local level Daja works directly on the needs of the target group, resolving problems as: lack of interest for education, especially for girls, illiteracy, weak success and drop-outs from school, providing information and advices for completing rights, and similar. Considering this, Daja cooperates with local educational and social institutions, Community of Kumanovo, local NGOs, media, etc.
On national level Daja works on raising awareness of Roma population on the need of education, but as well political activism. The second one is aimed for Roma women, which face double degradation (as women and as members of Roma community). Considering this Daja cooperates with Ministry for labor and social politics (especially sector for equal opportunities), Ministry for education and science (Department for nationalities), NGOs and other.
On regional and wider international level, Daja cooperates with other NGOs and networks (Roma development network exam) where Daja builds common strategies for resolving important issues for Roma population.
Daja’s target group is:
• Roma women (uneducated, illiterate, unequal in family, but as well as Roma women with qualities and adequate education for political participation)
• Roma pupils, with special accent on girls, in preschool and primary education
• Roma population in general
On long terms, Daja is presented as significant factor for emancipation of Roma women and their integration into society. In this frames Daja managed to build good relationships with governmental and NGOs. Daja is recognized as first and most successful Roma women organization in Macedonia and wider. This is proved by receiving the most prestige award by the Municipality Kumanovo - the November prize in 2001.
Daja is in constant communication with central and local authorities. Therefore, par example, the Ministry for labor, especially the Sector for equality is our partner in some projects and gives us total support for the Campaign for bigger political participation of Roma women. This Ministry is consulting us for any law changes in aimed for women where they accept our opinion and suggestions. With the Ministry for Education, before all with the Unit for advancing the nationalities, we have continued contacts and partnership considering realization of our educational projects and activities.
On local lave, Daja cooperates with local gauthorities, with all education institutions, schools, Department for development, public kindergarten, etc. They contact us for any problems that Roma pupils face considering education; we have regular meetings with them working on prevention of problem.
The contacts that we have build with the local Centres for social work and employment we use for often meetings and consultations for solving problems considering social rights. About cooperation with media, we have great contacts with the local TV Nova and the national MTV that are regular visitors on our promotions. Besides the Campaign, Daja cooperates with political parties, especially Roma political parties.
Daja works on advancing the cooperation with international representatives, organizations and foundations. Unfortunately, the foundations step out from the region in expectations of the European IPA founds that aren’t still available for Macedonia. This opens vacuum in the financing due to what many civic organizations stop working or become passive.
The business sector in Macedonia is still passive considering support of NGOs activities. Still, in the next period Daja will try to develop strategy for cooperation with business sector to propose them to support the activities from which they will benefit considering advertising.
Daja in the past 15 years was presented as most significant actor for integration of Roma population in society, especially from the aspect of Roma women’s position.
Vision of DAJA
In its twelve yearly acting, RWOM DAJA builds its self and proved as organization that have sensibility toward Roma population’s problems and capacity to solve their problems on adequate way. Therefore, it raised the need for creation of new organization’s vision, in the frames of which Daja is foundation (consultation house) that works on programs on the field of:
• Education of Roma population;
• Gender equality;
• Raising the rate of employment and socio-economic status of Roma in general;
In this, main activities are:
• Providing grants for activities for education, employment and emancipation of Roma;
• Consultant’s services to organizations that work on Roma issues;
Its target group is Roma population in Republic of Macedonia.
Through achieving of its aims, RWOM Daja cooperates with Government of Macedonia, Ministry of labor and social politic, Ministry of education and science, Local authorities, local educative, health and social institutions and NGOs from Macedonia. Beside the Government of Macedonia and Local authorities of Kumanovo, key partners in Daja’s programs financing are foreign and domestic donors.
RWOM Daja posses adequate material – technical and professional resources necessary for realization of the programs: expanded space for working, adequately equipped offices, professional team consisted by 40 professional educated people, divided in 5 programs and 8 teams, students – volunteers, etc. There is working in teams, with divided responsibility among the team members and common cooperation. Although the vision doesn’t means reality, still, all the personnel of RWOM DAJA clearly and strongly stands behind this vision for the FUTURE, and it is placed in function for sooner achieving of this vision.