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EPALE - Eiropas Pieaugušo izglītības e-platforma


Elena Siljanoski, a Community Story from North Macedonia

EPALE Moderator
Valoda: EN

Elena Siljanoski

I am a 38-year-old sociologist and I currently work as a project coordinator for the non-governmental organisation, Association for Development of the Roma Community Sumnal-Skopje. I have a degree in Sociology from the Faculty of Philosophy - Skopje. I have participated in several projects which seek to improve the current situation of Roma people as a marginalized group. In particular, I have contributed to better informal education of adults by organising learning activities that aim to enable the adults to work, engage in various social activities and further their personal development.

My professional engagement is mainly focused on improving the living standards of the members of the Roma community, with a particular focus on adult education, Roma women and their social status, social inclusion of the elderly, and housing, etc.

The aim is to motivate them to complete the educational process and become more socialised and integrated in society. I am a highly motivated person and take my responsibilities and obligations extremely seriously. I am thorough and efficient in how I work and I am committed to working with marginalised communities.

I found out about EPALE through the social networks and the website of the National Agency for European Educational Programs and Mobility. I was curious to find out more so I attended a number of informative meetings organised by the National Agency for European Educational Programs and Mobility where they explained in more detail how the platform works. After I learned about the opportunities that the platform has to offer, and after I was the given opportunity to share my professional experiences with many different countries and people, I expressed my willingness to be part of the EPALE platform and I logged in to share my experience with the others, and to learn something new from everyone who is part of it. What I like most about the EPALE platform is that it offers a different approach to sharing information; it is a platform for sharing and reading as well as an opportunity for people to connect and to create new ideas and opportunities to improve a particular social activity.

During the Covid-19 outbreak, volunteers are on hand every day and representatives of Sumnal also visit our beneficiaries twice a week. A medical mobile team is also available to carry out medical visits to measure their sugar levels, their blood pressure, and notify them about their general health and give them advice on any treatment they may need to have. During the visits, the team discusses with them how they are coping with the new situation brought about by COVID-19 and whether they need any additional support. They elaborate and clarify the measures and explain how they need to protect themselves from the virus. The mobile team left each of the elderly members of the community with a mobile phone number which they could call at any time if they needed help. Some beneficiaries received basic supplies and medicines, as well as protective masks and gloves. One part of the team collects and pays the electricity and communal services bills. We are taking care of the oldest during this time of crisis. The beneficiaries expressed their gratitude to the team. This service is vital for them, especially given the lockdown measures which restrict the movement of those over the age of 67. At the same time the team stops to chat with the beneficiaries.

Some of the beneficiaries live alone and during the lockdown they may have no one to talk to.

Some of the beneficiaries have been coming to the Sumnal premises to collect supplies for themselves. They have been using this opportunity to socialise and talk. They pointed out how important is has been for them to be able to come to Sumnal when most of the doors for them are closed and they feel very isolated. They enjoy being able to talk to each other and collect the supplies, even if they have to do so in small groups of two. During the activities with the elderly we had to respect the rules on social distancing, wearing face masks and limiting the number of people to two at a time.
The beneficiaries have been very satisfied with the visits and the exchanges they have had with the team at Sumnal. The ones who got the packages with products and medicines were very thankful and pleased. They hope to be able to meet and socialise in the club at Sumnal again soon.

According to the guidelines and restrictions for movement during the Covid 19 pandemic, the social club is not allowed to work as it did before. The team from Sumnal visits the beneficiaries in the field, respecting social distancing measures at all times.
The project is financed by EVZ Stiftung – Erinnerung, Verantwortung, Zukunft from Germany.

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