New aggrement will secure children´s right to education

Imagine the delight when Faik, Ramiza, and their ten children could finally leave misery behind and move into a warm home with water and sewage facilities in Skopje, North Macedonia, in early February.                                                                

Faik and Ramiza are also the first parents within the framework of the Loza Foundation’s project “Families in Extreme Poverty” to receive conditional donations: they commit to ensuring that their children attend school.                                  

“We have worked a long time to provide a home for these children. Getting the agreement in place has been a lengthy process, and finding a house with enough room for the family, which they can also afford, has been a real challenge that has dragged on”, says Sabina Grubbeson, Secretary-General, Loza Foundation.

When every day is a struggle for survival, school and education are often pushed far down the list of priorities, but with a safe home, a job to go to, enough food for the day, and clothes on their backs, families can start building their lives for the long term.

Attending school is the most crucial factor in preventing poverty from being passed down to the next generation. However, there is evidence that maintaining motivation can sometimes be difficult, especially when children who are already behind in school face further setbacks and discrimination.

Support for increased attendance
Children typically lag far behind their classmates in terms of academic knowledge as they have missed several years of school. They feel that teachers and classmates look down on them, and they are sometimes sent home if they don’t have shoes or wear tattered clothes. In such situations, it is easy to lose confidence, skip school, and instead help one’s parents earn money for food.

Loza Foundation has made significant efforts, such as clothes and shoe donations, to increase the school attendance of the children included in the project. Families receive assistance navigating the bureaucracy and red tape surrounding North Macedonia’s school system. Children receive tutoring to catch up with their peers, and parents are given information about health and hygiene.

Sought-after legal solution
Although we have seen many families succeed, we have occasionally felt a need to question whether children are being kept at home. It may not necessarily be for work; it could also be that parents want to protect their children from bullying or shame, and in such cases, an agreement is a tool that works in the interest of the children, ensuring their right to education.
The agreement will be used in conjunction with more significant donations to ensure that children living in houses donated by the Loza Foundation continue their schooling.
In the spring of 2023, an investigation was conducted with the purpose of developing a legal solution. This resulted in a donation agreement, which means that parents assume the responsibility of ensuring their children complete their primary education.

From deprivation to a brand-new start
Faik and Ramiza are the first couple to sign the donation agreement. Loza Foundation’s fieldworkers have supported the family since the start of the “Families in Extreme Poverty” project and have, in various ways, tried to find a solution for the parents and their large brood, who lived in a dilapidated eight sq.m. hut without water, sewage, or functioning cooking facilities.
Imagine the joy when the family recently moved into their new home, with beds of their own, a functional kitchen, bathroom, and laundry facilities. Now, a new process begins as they learn to live in the house and manage the household. Lots of new things are available to them and must be figured out, such as turning off taps, showering, flushing the toilet, and using the refrigerator and washing machine.
Faik, who used to collect and sell plastic and metal to recycling centres, has previously been helped to find work as a cleaner. But the wage is meagre, and he must support the family on approx. €200 per month, which is a challenge. Initially, the family will need a lot of support to learn how to pay bills and be frugal with electricity and hot water to stick to the household budget and ensure they can make ends meet.

The sequel to the film about life in poverty
Loza Foundation has supported the family since 2020, when the “Families in Extreme Poverty” project began. Just over two years ago, the foundation made the first film about the family, where they talked about their situation at the time. This spring, 2024, Loza Foundation will produce a sequel, where the family will talk about their move to the house and the changes that has brought. If you want to follow the progress of these children and watch the film later this spring, you can subscribe to the Loza Foundation newsletter.

If you want to support Loza Foundation and help us support more children. Please click here for more information.

The project in brief
Loza Foundation’s support and mentoring program “Families in Extreme Poverty” started as a two-year pilot project in North Macedonia in 2020. The success of this project was subsequently followed up in 2022 by a survey of North Macedonia’s most vulnerable and deprived areas, with the aim of scaling up the operation into a national project and reaching out to more people. Now, the Loza Foundation is seeking funding for 18 fieldworkers who will work daily on reducing and alleviating poverty, registering children in school, and assisting parents on their way out of extreme poverty. If you want your firm to be a part of this, you can sign up as a corporate sponsor and contribute to the UN Global Goals by reducing poverty in Europe.

Contact Loza Foundation at email: info@lozafoundation.org

Photo: Dare Dimov

LOZA FOUNDATION: “WE HAVE BEEN GIVEN A PROMISE; WE WILL ENSURE IT IS KEPT”

Image: Sabina Grubbeson, Secretary-General at Loza Foundation, visited the newly renovated care home Depandans with EU parliamentarian as early as 2019. Photographer: Mikael Sundberg.

Before the summer of 2023, the institution’s management team promised Loza Foundation that the institution in Demir Kapija would close for good on the last day of September 2023, and all the remaining residents would be moved to a care home. This promise has not been kept.

“When Project TIMOR came to completion in May, we were promised that the 60 remaining people still living at the institution would, before the end of September, be moved to a newly renovated care home, Depandans, situated close by. This promise has not yet been fulfilled”, says Sabina Grubbeson, Secretary-General of Loza Foundation.

Since 2016, Loza Foundation has worked tirelessly to ensure that all the disabled individuals living at the Demir Kapija institution would be allowed to move. Over the last two years, 110 of them have been moved to well-functioning group residences, and now there are approx. 60 people with severe disabilities and illnesses left at the institution. The working conditions for the nursing staff are extremely demanding and the staff members struggle to perform their tasks. Together with the staff at the institution, Loza Foundation strives to offer these individuals a dignified life.

Sabina Grubbeson and Pär Rylöv travel to North Macedonia

“The process is currently very slow, partly because of changes in the leadership team at the institution and partly due to a breakdown in communication with those in power. This, in turn, is why we will now travel to North Macedonia and meet the decision-makers. Our goal has not changed: No one should be left behind”, says Pär Rylöv, chairman of Loza Foundation.

“It is incredibly frustrating and a great disappointment. The people worst affected by this are the ones who have to remain in these difficult living conditions and the staff at the institution in Demir Kapija too, who are both disappointed and angry.”

The people worst affected by illness and disabilities are still there

The disabled individuals still living at the institution today are the ones with the greatest need for care. They struggle with severe disabilities, and many of them are very ill. They cannot be moved to group residences, nor do they want to, as they need 24-hour care. Since the summer, the Depandans care home located on the outskirts of Demir Kapija is more or less ready for people to move in. Still, the whole process has stalled due to reorganisations of decision-makers and management levels.

“The purpose of our visit to North Macedonia is to resume our dialogue with the local decision-makers and hurry the closure of the institution along. We want a firm date when all the residents still living at the institution in Demir Kapija can move to the Depandans care home.”

An ongoing, positive dialogue is desired

Loza Foundation is in contact with the new CEO of the Demir Kapija institution, who expresses that she is keen to continue collaborating with Loza Foundation.

“The fact that we are now receiving positive signals about a continued collaboration feels promising, but that is not enough. We are currently working to ensure the promise made to us is kept, and we will keep at it until the promise has been fulfilled. No one should be left behind”, says Pär Rylöv, Chairman, Loza Foundation.

Investments are needed for the care home operation – Loza Foundation starts fundraising

Large sums of money will need to be invested into Depandans. The care home needs equipment such as beds, furniture, and interior decoration for the communal areas. Even though the care home is a one-storey building, disability equipment such as handicap lifts and wheelchairs are needed, as well as other tools and aids for the bathrooms and kitchen.

Loza Foundation will ensure that every individual receives clothes of their own, personal hygiene items and storage for their personal belongings. That is why a particular fundraising campaign is set in motion for Project Depandans, where the aim is to gather funds to realise the last phase towards the goal outlined seven years ago: No one will be left behind.

 

AFTER DECADES LOCKED AWAY INSIDE AN INSTITUTION, A DIGNIFIED LIFE IN A GROUP RESIDENCE AWAITS – A WITNESS DESCRIBES WHAT IT IS LIKE ON THE INSIDE

Tome lived at the institution in Demir Kapija for 26 years. Thanks to EU project TIMOR (Together for Introduction of More Opportunities and Respect), he has now finally been allowed to move to a group residence. Joining forces with local organisations in North Macedonia, Loza Foundation has managed the TIMOR project and seen it through to fruition.
Watch the documentary that Loza Foundation and the TIMOR project have produced, and find out from Tome how his life has changed.
”By producing this film, we let the disabled people have their say. No one can tell the truth like the people who have actually experienced life on the inside. Their depiction of how amazing it was and how it improved their life to get out of the institutional care and be offered dignified living conditions in a group residence is a solid testimony to the fact that our work really does make a difference, and that TIMOR has been successful”, says Sabina Grubbeson, Secretary-General of Loza Foundation.
In the film, Aneta and Stefan also share their experiences of living in a group residence with support staff. We are given a glimpse of what their life at the institution was like before, and they tell us about the life they have today.

The film is now available on the Loza Foundation website. Please press here to get to the film.

Loza Foundation continues to help the remaining 60 disabled, institutionalised people at the Demir Kapija institution.

”We are talking to the decision-makers in North Macedonia to create dignified living conditions for the individuals who have been left behind, while we are also carrying on with our fundraising to finance a sustainable, long-term change. Our goal is to not leave anyone behind at the institution”, says Sabina Grubbeson.

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The invisible children of North Macedonia barred from school

 

Today as many as 3,000 people are estimated to be living as paperless citizens of North Macedonia, most of them children. Not having an identity makes it impossible to attend school, which effectively is a crime against Article 28 of the UN’s Convention on the Rights of the Child, where it is stated that every child has the right to free primary education.

This is nothing short of a violation of these rights. Parents face unfeasible demands to prove their own and their children’s identity in order to have the right to schooling, health care and social security. This means children miss their chance to learn how to read and count, which, in turn, leads to them being stuck in poverty and social exclusion”, says Pär Rylöv, Chairman, Loza Foundation.

This is not the first time Loza Foundation has written about these two sisters, Samira and Natalija. In an article published in March 2022, Loza Foundation described how the two girls, their siblings and parents, who were previously homeless, had been given a home and, thus, the chance to start a new life far away from poverty and social exclusion. Then, in September 2022, it was time for Samira and Natalija to start school, but they were denied a place as they did not have birth certificates. Ever since then, Loza Foundation has done everything in its power to provide identity documents for Samira and Natalija, who have by now turned 7 and 10 years old, but so far, Loza has not succeeded.

“It is absurd to think that children are not welcome at school, and we hope that the authorities of North Macedonia will prioritise this on a national level. EU reports show that the lack of identity papers closes the door to so many people trying to escape poverty. Despite this, it is virtually impossible to get through the process, and the number of children barred from society is everincreasing.”

When it comes to Samira and Natalija, the problem is that the girls were born in Italy when their family lived there for a period of time. The authorities of North Macedonia require birth certificates from the country of birth. Bojana Atanasova, a board member at Loza Foundation, used to work at the Health Ministry in North Macedonia, and she is frustrated with the situation:

“The law has to be changed for Samira, Natalija and all the other paperless children to be admitted to school. This issue has been debated for years, but nothing seems to happen. Therefore, from a legal standpoint, these children do not exist. With every year that passes, the chance to schooling diminishes, and so, their chance of escaping poverty once and for all”, says Bojana Atanasova.

The local Loza Foundation team in North Macedonia has worked for several years, assisting and supporting families with children who live in extreme poverty so that they can obtain identity documents. Still, in some cases, such as with these two children, it seems like a lost cause.

Zaklina Durmis works at the Center for Educational Support Dendo Vas. She confirms that a new law has to be introduced and accepted nationally for the children and adults, who lack North Macedonian birth certificates, to become a part of society and to have the right to schooling and health care to name but two.

“We are well aware of the fact that this is a complex situation for families like Samira and Natalija’s. This is why new legislation is required to allow North Macedonian authorities to issue identity documents for these people”, says Zaklina Durmis.

To ensure children like Samira and Natalija will not fall behind in school, Loza Foundation has hired an assistant to work in the field and provide home schooling.

“This is a stopgap measure. It is not sustainable for us long term to provide education like this, but while we wait for a solution to these ID issues, we will do everything in our power”, says Pär Rylöv, Chairman, Loza Foundation.

Investments in future generations, i.e. when children are given schooling, thus, having more opportunities than their parents had, can significantly impact a country’s overall development.

“Excluding children from school creates hostility and reinforces conflicts that have consequences in the future. Loza Foundation actively works for the individual child, who may need a pair of shoes to be able to go to school, but they also strive for societal changes. That is why we need your support”, says Pär Rylöv, Chairman, Loza Foundation.

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Facts, The invisible children of North Macedonia

According to official sources, approximately 700 people, who live in the country, lack a birth certificate or other identity documents (2022).

Several sources report that as many as 3,000-5,000 people are paperless.

The North Macedonian authorities admit this is a real issue. Alexandra Efremova, Macedonian Young Lawyers Association (MYLA), says: “It is shameful and such a failure for a country aspiring to EU membership to have 700 known individuals that, due to administrative procedures, do not have the opportunity to obtain identity documents”.

In March 2022, North Macedonia officially entered into membership talks with the EU. The report from the first Intergovernmental Conference (19 July 2022) states “Further efforts are required in order to deal with structural problems, e.g. a lack of resources for the public institutions working with children’s rights, a lack of strategic documents relating to children’s rights and how the statutory body responsible for monitoring the implementation of the convention on the rights of the child actually works. So far, an action plan for children, including a sufficient budget and models for providing effective services for children, has not yet been developed.”

Loza Foundation Business Partnerships

If you want to learn more about our business partnerships and how these enable Loza Foundation to help more families with children escape extreme poverty, please click this link. To become a business partner, please contact info@lozafoundation.org

Do you want to set up a monthly donation

As a monthly donor, you will continuously support the work of Loza Foundation. You can read more about monthly donations on our website. Become a monthly donor here.

Families with children living in extreme poverty

The support and mentor program’ Families with children living in extreme poverty in North Macedonia’ supports the UN Global Goals for sustainable development through goal number 1, No Poverty. Read more about the UN Global Goals here.

For more information
Sabina Grubbeson, Founder and Secretary-General, +46 (0)733-21 38 23, info@lozafoundation.org

 

NO ONE WILL BE LEFT BEHIND AT THE DEMIR KAPIJA INSTITUTION

Loza Foundation has been part of EU project ‘TIMOR’ since 2019. The goal is to create group homes in North Macedonia, into which disabled people from the institution in Demir Kapija can move and have a dignified life as part of the local society. Unfortunately, at the end of 2022, this successful EU project will come to an end, but Loza’s work for the disabled continues.

“If everything goes according to plan, around 60 people will remain at the institution in Demir Kapija after the project has finished. Loza Foundation continues the work to ensure that all the individuals will be moved to group homes with dignified living conditions”, says Sabina Grubbeson, Secretary-General, Loza Foundation.

For almost three years, Loza Foundation has worked to get people with disabilities out of the institution in Demir Kapija and into group homes. The work has been carried out within the framework of EU project TIMOR. The people who are now left at the institution are people with severe disabilities and require lots of care. Moreover, the premises are in deplorable condition and do not meet the required accessibility standards, e.g. wheelchairs are often missing wheels and a seat.

“While we are delighted that so many have been moved out, it is painful to see many are still there. The staff are also expressing frustration and disappointment, and to the personnel, we want to emphasize that we are not giving up; we will keep on working to give everyone a good home.”

As the most robust individuals have left the institution by now, only the weakest and most disabled people remain. Although it sounds contradictory, this actually means an increased workload for the staff.

“In the past, the stronger, more able-bodied could help their fellow residents and thereby relieve the staff of some duties. Now the staff are buckling under the workload, and the living conditions of the residents have sadly deteriorated further.”

Loza Foundation continues to strive to create opportunities for the living conditions of the remaining 60 disabled residents to improve. Back in October, the new chairman of Loza Foundation, Pär Rylöv, visited North Macedonia and the infamous institution in Demir Kapija.

“We are working on finding a good solution for the remaining residents. At the same time, our fundraising continues, and we are communicating with the authorities in North Macedonia. Our goal is that no one should be left behind in that institution, says Pär Rylöv, Chairman, Loza Foundation.

 

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Why not give someone you really care about a Christmas gift that will spread genuine warmth? Please take a look here if you want to set up a monthly donation or give a one-off sum. If you want to donate clothes or equipment, please contact us at info@lozafoundation.org

The project is a success but has stirred up a lot of feelings

Despite hardships such as a pandemic and inflation, the project has proceeded.

“TIMOR is a successful project. CeProSARD, which we collaborate with locally, has had to put up with challenges such as inconsistent guidelines or rules and the social stigma linked to disability that is very much present in North Macedonia. Our project team has handled each problem calmly and patiently.”

Up to now, it has been unusual for disabled people in North Macedonia to be a part of society. People are not used to seeing or meeting individuals who are different. The CeProSARD project team has put much effort into informing, communicating and responding to people’s scepticism.

“We have tried to tackle prejudice, for instance, by participating in TV and local media. Our goal is for the public to discover the joy and love disabled people spread all around and to accept them as part of society.”

Their work has sometimes involved publicly displaying pictures of vulnerable people, which has raised questions and caused certain reactions.

“The purpose of Loza Foundation is to help vulnerable people to achieve a dignified life. The communication and information we have put together to describe our work can often evoke strong feelings. Still, by showing the world what the situation is like right now, we hope to make more people understand and increase awareness.

Gardening is part of the therapy

Within the TIMOR framework, methods for restorative, therapeutic activities have been developed, e.g. gardening and growing herbs. All in all, 25 nursing assistants have been taught gardening therapy (green therapy).

“Gardening therapy is healing and restorative. Research shows that it has calming effects and reduces anxiety and worry. Furthermore, it brings joy and physical activity too. The group homes need donations to be able to continue gardening, for instance, seeds and garden tools. There is also a never-ending need for clothes, shoes, and items linked to learning and creativity, such as jigsaw puzzles and educational board games.

Life outside of the institution

Moving out of an institution and into a group home is a huge change for someone who has lived their whole life inside the walls, in a world totally closed-off from the rest of society.

“Individuals adapt in their own time, some people faster than others, but over time, we can see they feel better, become happier, function better in their everyday life and their communication with the world around them improves too.”

In some cases, special arrangements must be made, and the number of staff members needs to increase in order for the disabled to be able to live in group homes. Such research and mapping need to be carried out on an individual basis.

“We foresee that a new project may have to be put in place to meet the demands of special, bespoke group homes, and this is something we will look into.”

Set up a monthly donation or give a Christmas present

Give someone you care about a Christmas present that keeps on growing, healing, giving off a lovely scent and blossoming. Click here to set up a monthly donation or give a gift. If you want to donate clothes or equipment, please contact us here.

 

FACTS about PROJECT TIMOR:

Since November 2021, ten group homes have been opened within the framework of Project TIMOR.

The latest, in Bashino Selo, is now housing five people who moved in on 28 November. The head of the operation is Daliborka Zlateva, who Loza Foundation has written other pieces about before.

A LIST OF GROUP HOMES:

  1. Demir Kapija I
  2. Negotino
  3. Veles
  4. Demir Kapija II
  5. Demir Kapija III
  6. Demir Kapija IV
  7. Demir Kapija V
  8. Gradsko I
  9. Gradsko II
  10. Bashino Selo

Every group home has five residents and five staff members who, through the project, have been trained to work as nursing assistants for the disabled individuals.

Group home, Pär Rylöv, Chairman of Loza Foundation, visits in October 2022
Resident at the institutionen in Demir Kapija, October 2022
Resident at the institutionen in Demir Kapija, October 2022

Loza Foundation: “The situation is desperate for the poorest people of Europe – more aid needed.”

 

While the eyes of the world turn towards Ukraine, the energy crisis and high inflation, the poorest people are even worse off. The situation is beyond desperate for many of them. Loza Foundation is working to improve the living conditions of families with children currently living in extreme poverty in North Macedonia and is increasing its efforts to deliver humanitarian aid before the winter.    

“We are apprehensive about the trends we see worldwide, and we can only keep our fingers crossed for a mild winter. The high food prices and lack of firewood make people desperate, and they are forced to leave their homes in search of warmth and money for food”, says Sabina Grubbeson, Secretary-General, Loza Foundation.

 

The current crisis in Europe puts more and more people into extreme poverty, and the people already in that segment find themselves in an even worse position.

“We are receiving worrying statements from our aid workers in the field, who tell us that many families have to sell the few possessions they own and flee to other countries in Europe. They are often refused on the border and are not allowed to gain entry to the new country, and when they are sent back, their situation is even worse than before.”

This autumn, Loza Foundation has been working intensely to gather funds and organise aid deliveries for the winter, in cooperation with companies such as Shepherd of Sweden. The employees of this shoe company have collected and donated warm clothes for children and adults, while the company donates winter shoes and warm slippers. Shepherd of Sweden will also pay for the freight costs.

“Shepherd of Sweden has been Loza Foundation’s business partner since 2021. We have our manufacturing in North Macedonia, work actively with the Global Goals of the UN, and therefore want to act locally to combat poverty. Loza Foundation’s strong presence in the country means shorter routes between the sponsor and the recipient, and the donations are put to good use. As we can see the need is increasing in line with the crisis in Europe, we increase our efforts, and there is an aid delivery on its way to North Macedonia as we speak. Through Loza Foundation, we are pleased to be able to contribute to a slightly warmer winter for the poorest and most vulnerable”, says Maria Leijonhufvud, Head of Design and Sustainability, Shepherd of Sweden.

Earlier this year, Loza Foundation received a donation from Mia of Sweden, which contained 6,000 garments, warm jackets, sweaters and warmly lined trousers for children aged 1-8 years. This summer, the jackets have been packed with a few other garments inside, thus making the jacket the actual packet and creating a clever Zero Waste solution without any additional packaging. Furthermore, Vagabond Shoemakers have contributed with shoes and L:a Bruket with sanitary items.

“The response from Loza’s business partners and the public has been fantastic and has helped us create more aid packages. Clothes and shoes that would fit children aged 9-15 have also been collected by private individuals.”

Up to now, administering and organising second-hand clothes and shoes has involved lots of work, and in order to make this process more effective and for the aid to reach as many people in need as possible, Loza has started working with Arbetscentrum in Varberg.

“Esther at Arbetscentrum reached out to us, offering their help with packaging as well as contributing with things that may be missing for our aid packages.”

Arbetscentrum is an operation run by the municipality, offering daily activities for people with disabilities. They have recently incorporated second-hand goods with activities such as washing clothes, sorting, drying and ironing. Quite simply a perfect match for Loza Foundation, which also runs projects to improve the rights of disabled people.

In the project ‘Families with children in extreme poverty’, Loza Foundation are putting in hands-on efforts for the poorest and most vulnerable people in Europe. Focusing on the UN Global Goals for sustainable development, their work directly addresses the first four goals: No poverty, Zero hunger, Good health and well-being, as well as Quality education for everyone.

“During 2022, we have increased the project from approximately 100 children and adults to just over 200. We are now preparing a national project in North Macedonia and have visited 14 of the most disadvantaged areas this year. The purpose of this national project is to ‘educate a generation’ and thereby create the prerequisites to reduce poverty. In the long term, going to school and learning how to read and write is the way out of poverty. Through education, people can get a job and become a part of society”, says Sabina Grubbeson.

 

Give a Christmas present to the poorest families in Europe!

Thanks to our business partners and other joint ventures, Loza Foundations will be able to continue to work in the field and send aid deliveries.

However, we sadly see less financial support coming through from both companies and the public while the needs are ever-increasing. This is why we need more people to help out: monthly donations, sponsorships and business partners.

With more support, we can carry on and increase our efforts and reach even more people.

“Why not think of Loza Foundation as a gift for someone you care about? A sponsorship is a beautiful gift, which not only brings joy to the recipient but also to the person in extreme poverty who can survive the winter and have faith in the future”, says Sabina Grubbeson.

 

Loza Foundation Business Partnerships

If you want to learn more about our business partnerships and how these enable Loza Foundation to help more families with children escape extreme poverty, please click this link. To become a business partner, please contact info@lozafoundation.org

Do you want to set up a monthly donation

As a monthly donor, you will continuously support the work of Loza Foundation. You can read more about monthly donations on our website. Become a monthly donor here.

 

Families with children living in extreme poverty

The support and mentor program’ Families with children living in extreme poverty in North Macedonia’ supports the UN Global Goals for sustainable development through goal number 1, No Poverty. Read more about the UN Global Goals here.

 

For more information
Sabina Grubbeson, Founder and Secretary-General, +46 (0)733-21 38 23, info@lozafoundation.org

FROM A BLANKET UNDER A BRIDGE TO A HOME OF THEIR OWN: LOZA PROFFERS A FAMILY WITH SIX CHILDREN A LIFELINE OUT OF HOMELESSNESS.

Suzana is 33 years old, and together with her husband Emran, 34, she has six children ranging from three to fifteen years old. Up until the 3rd of August 2022, the family lived on blankets under a bridge in Veles, North Macedonia, and all they collectively owned, apart from their youngest son’s pram, could easily fit into a plastic bag. However, Loza Foundation has now donated a house, which the family has moved into. From this point forward, there is an opportunity for this family to raise their life from extreme poverty and vulnerability to hopeful anticipation and increased safety. 

“A home is a prerequisite to be able to get out of extreme poverty. Being able to take care of one’s personal hygiene and wash one’s clothes is fundamental to improving one’s situation and managing one’s health. When you don’t even have the option of keeping clean, you lose your dignity as a human. Loza Foundation is relieved and happy to be able to offer this family a home so that their most basic needs can be taken care of. They finally have a situation which allows the parents to work and the children to go to school”, says Sabina Grubbeson, Secretary-General, Loza Foundation.

Not having a roof over one’s head, having no income, and living in such vulnerable conditions as homelessness generally is, can also lead to health issues. Suzana has a slipped disc that needs an operation, she and Emran both suffer from heart disease, two of their children have chronic bronchitis, their 8-year-old has a hernia which needs an operation and their youngest boy suffers from severe cramps and stomach problems. The little money they manage to scrape together is spent on medicine, and the situation has gone from bad to worse, deteriorating every day.

“Emran and I want nothing more than to work and for our children to go to school. Now, when we are no longer homeless, we have the possibility of achieving this. Ever since we lost our house in a landslide several years ago, we have had to cope with a very stressful situation. To see your children feeling worse and worse without being able to put a roof over their heads is awful. As Emran’s and my health have deteriorated, our overall situation has worsened too. For the first time in many years, we can see a brighter future with the possibility of getting back on our feet and receiving help to tackle the family’s health problems”, says Suzana.

Homeless people in extreme poverty are often an unwanted aspect of society. Many choose to look away because of fear, prejudice, shame, guilt or because it is quite simply uncomfortable to see these people. When Loza first met the family in May 2022, the quest for a room to rent started straight away. After five failed attempts to sign a rental agreement, they decided to buy a house instead, as the situation was critical.

“We spent months looking for a room or a flat to rent for this family. There was no shortage of rentals, but time and time again, they were refused a lease. Finally, when they had been subjected to this humiliation for the fifth time, i.e. a landlord changing his mind when he met the family in person, it was time to change tactics and look for a house to buy instead. I get so angry, disappointed and frustrated when I see how vulnerable people are treated inhumanely, undignifiedly, and with no sign of empathy. Never before have the Loza intervention team or I had such a brutal and painful awakening as when we became aware of the horrendous discrimination poor people are subjected to.”

During Loza Foundation’s research trip in May, Sabina Grubbeson and the local intervention team visited ten or so destinations in North Macedonia. These locations, i.e. some of the most deprived places in the country, have been mapped within the framework of a review funded by European Aid, and a subsequent survey will be done in September 2022. At that point, the team will visit the remaining four of the fourteen most deprived areas.

When we visit Suzana and her family in September, they will have lived in the house for about a month. The children are starting school in September, and the Loza intervention team will carry on reviewing and supporting the family until their situation and health are stable. This venture with Suzana and her family has been made possible through monthly donations to Loza Foundation; 177 SEK per month is, for instance, enough for one child to go to school. A monthly contribution will cover food, clothes and school materials, which are crucial if a child living in extreme poverty is to go to school.

Thanks to people donating monthly and to our business partners, more children and their parents can leave deprivation and dejection behind and instead feel hopeful and a sense of dignity.

“To donate monthly, regardless of how large your monthly donation is, is an incredible contribution. Loza does not tie their donors to a specific sum or time frame; the donors set up a monthly donation of their choice and continue giving for as long as they like and can. Every single krona makes a difference, and together our donors can change the life situation for vulnerable, deprived people in extreme poverty, so that they can create a better life for themselves”, says Sabina Grubbeson, Secretary-General, Loza Foundation.

The United Nations Convention on the Rights of the Child (UNCRC) declares that all children have the right to a home, and since 2019, the recommendation is that children should, as far as possible, live and grow up with their parents. Loza Foundation strives to support families with children in extreme poverty and prioritises them as the most deprived and vulnerable.

Click HERE to watch the film ‘No Poverty’ about Loza Foundation’s work for the poorest and most deprived.

Loza Foundation’s business partnerships:

Do you want to know how a business partnership works and how our partnerships enable us to help more families with children from extreme poverty? Find out more HERE.

If you want to become a business partner, please contact info@lozafoundation.org

Do you want to give a monthly donation?

As a monthly donor, you support the work of Loza Foundation continuously. You can read more about monthly donations and how it works on our website. Become a monthly donor HERE.

Families with children in extreme poverty

Our support and mentor program ‘Children in extreme poverty in North Macedonia’ contribute to the UN Global Goals for sustainable development by working on goal no. 1: No poverty.

You can find out more about the UN Global Goals HERE.

 

For further information, please do not hesitate to get in touch with Sabina Grubbeson, founder and General-Secretary, +46 (0)733 21 38 23, info@lozafoundation.org

 

 

 

DALIBORKA IS THE PASSIONATE DRIVING FORCE BEHIND A NEW VENTURE: GROUP HOMES FOR DISABLED PEOPLE IN NORTH MACEDONIA

For almost three years, Loza Foundation has been part of an EU project called TIMOR, where the purpose is to develop group homes for disabled people in North Macedonia so they can move out of the antiquated institutions where they have been living. Through this EU project, Loza Foundation came into contact with a local driving force focusing on social enterprising, Daliborka Zlateva, who is starting several, privately managed group homes in 2022.

“In 2022, Loza Foundation supports EU project TIMOR with a sum of 200,000 SEK, and through this donation, we are also supporting Daliborka’s hard work establishing and running these privately managed group homes. In practice, this means that more disabled people can get out of the institutions, and new employment opportunities are created, contributing to a more inclusive society. Furthermore, with local enthusiasts like Daliborka, more group homes can become a reality in the geographic locations where they are most needed, even after Project TIMOR is finished”, says Sabina Grubbeson, Secretary-General, Loza Foundation.

In the autumn of 2021, it became apparent that the state would not manage all the group homes needed to house the disabled people of North Macedonia, who needed to move out of the outdated institutions. So, through the TIMOR project, a national campaign was launched with the aim of offering parties from the private sector to run group homes.

“The state of North Macedonia will continue to pay for part of the costs associated with each resident, e.g. pay the rent for the properties, but private initiatives and parties are needed to develop, run and manage the group homes”, Sabina Grubbeson explains.

Daliborka Zlateva has run an association for people with cerebral palsy for many years, and the purpose is to “create a world without any obstacles, but with the same opportunities for everyone”. Over the last ten years, they have created job opportunities for the disabled and offered temporary relief for the parents.

“The team working on the TIMOR project came into contact with Daliborka when they were searching for potential business partners in the private sector. Daliborka is full of energy. She is humble and empathic, while she also has extensive experience in running social enterprises in North Macedonia. I am so happy for all the people who have already moved and will be able to move to the group homes Daliborka are building. Her warm, open-hearted commitment makes the people around her feel safe, and for anyone that has lived under the appalling conditions of the institutions, the feeling of being safe in the group home is certainly restorative”, says Sabina Grubbeson.

Furthermore, the Association for People with Cerebral Palsy that Daliborka founded manages therapy and activity centres for disabled people. It also has access to land where medicinal herbs such as lavender and marigold are cultivated. The herbs are pressed, distilled and sold as essential oils. The business is partly funded by GEF SGP (Global Environment Facility Small Grants Programme), and the revenue from their operations is used to develop the group homes further and create new ones.

“Everyone has the right to a residence where they are met with respect and care. For the disabled people living in an institution, such as the Demir Kapija institution that Loza has done reports on before, Daliborka’s hard work and commitment mean a lot. More disabled people will soon gain access to a calm, dignified and safe environment that will feel like a proper home. Many of the people living in these institutions today have never had any personal belongings or clothes of their own. And even if the transition phase may be frightening when you have never experienced a life outside of the institution’s wall, the long-term result will be an enormous improvement”, says Sabina Grubbeson.

In 2022, Daliborka has already started one group home, another facility will open in mid-June, and two more will be finished before year end. All in all, 20 people with varying degrees of disability will be able to move into the group homes Daliborka will create this year.

“It is amazing that we, through the TIMOR project, have been able to enter into such a rewarding partnership with Loza Foundation. Our organisations and operations complement each other perfectly, and thanks to our partnership, we will be able to offer even more disabled people a dignified residence. We will also provide relief for parents who are caring for their disabled children at home”, says Daliborka Zlateva, chairman of The Association of People with Cerebral Palsy.

 

Facts:

Loza Foundation supports the EU-funded TIMOR project with an annual sum of 200,000 SEK in 2020, 2021, and 2022. This aid is, for example, used to develop the group homes for disabled people and to educate the personal assistants who will work at these group homes. Project TIMOR – Together for Introduction of More Opportunities and Respect – is implemented by CeProSard “Center for Promotion of Sustainable Agricultural Practices and Rural Development” in North Macedonia in partnership with:

  • Loza Foundation
  • Association for special needs teachers and rehabilitation therapists in North Macedonia
  • Special Institution in Demir Kapija
  • Demir Kapija town council

The project is financed by the European Union

Loza Foundation will continue to support Daliborka’s work and privately managed group homes even after the three-year EU project finishes in December 2022.

Right now, Daliborka needs a minibus to enable the disabled residents of the group homes to get around, make doctor appointments or go shopping, but also to visit new places and make new friends that will help enrich their new life in freedom outside the institutional walls. Loza Foundation is currently investigating the possibilities of being able to donate such a minibus.

Would you like to support the work of Loza Foundation and contribute to Daliborka’s group homes? Please send your donation to bank account 900-6248 or Swish 900 62 38 (only available in Sweden). Also, please state” Daliborka” in the comment section.

For further information, please contact:

Sabina Grubbeson, founder and secretary-general, +46 733 21 38 23, info@lozafoundation

Samira, six years old, is given a proper home thanks to a partnership with Swedish companies

Towards the end of 2021, Loza Foundation started collaborating with 14 companies where the aim was to work together to reduce extreme poverty and help some of the poorest families in Europe to a sustainable life. The partnership is based on the UN’s Global Goals with a particular focus on Goal no. 1, i.e. No Poverty, and will run throughout 2022. Thanks to these efforts, one of the families has already been moved into a home of their own for the first time, and that has been achieved within the first three months of the project. This is the story of six-year-old Samira and her family.

Samira is six years old and her family consists of Samira’s mummy, Asbija, Samira’s daddy called Albert, her two sisters Enisa (14 yrs) and Natalia (9 yrs) and her big brother Kevin (10 yrs). Samira’s family has been homeless throughout her short life and has been forced to move numerous times and swapped one shed or barrack for another. Their last place was part of a settlement in the outskirts of Skopje. During the first few weeks of January 2022, there were several heavy downpours, and the shed the family lived in got flooded.

“Loza has worked with this family for two years to create the right conditions and opportunity for them to get out of the extreme poverty they have suffered up to now. It is a complex task that requires a lot of commitment, both short-term and long-term, and it requires lots of resources, both monetary and other contributions. But, thanks to the support from our partner companies, we could act quickly and help the family”, says Sabina Grubbeson, Secretary-General, Loza Foundation.

In February, a house that Loza Foundation has acquired was renovated. The house has one room and a kitchen, with electricity, water and wastewater drainage. Unfortunately, due to the acute situation that arose in January, the family had to move into their new home before the house was finished and furnished, but even so, the family was so relieved and happy.

“I cannot remember when we last slept in a real house. We have lived in sheds and ramshackle constructions without running water or electricity for such a long time. Even though we slept on the floor the first few nights in the house, I felt very happy, safe, and calm, both as a mother and as a human being. Now, my children can sleep safe and sound, with a roof over their heads in a home of our own, where we can lock the front door. I can hardly believe it is true”, says Asbija.

The next few months will involve significant adjustments for the family. The Loza support team will be on hand to support them through this period, to facilitate the change from homelessness, social alienation and extreme poverty to inclusion in the local community and implementation of everyday routines that work. The children have been enrolled at school, so Samira’s older siblings will start at the local school, and Asbija will look for work.

Samira has just started kindergarten and when she grows up, she wants to be a police officer.

“When I grow up, I want to put people who do bad things in jail, so they cannot steal anymore or do other damage.”

Natalia, nine years old, wants to study to become a doctor, which now is not just a dream but a realistic, doable plan.

“I want to become a doctor and treat ill people. I want to help them feel good and be happy.”

When Loza started working with this family two years ago, they had five square metres to themselves in a house without windows and just a piece of fabric serving as their front door. For most of their life, this family has lived from hand to mouth, collected scrap metal and plastic, or begged in the street to survive.

“It is a long way from extreme poverty to inclusion in the local community and society on the whole, and to have a well-functioning everyday life. The Loza Foundation project ‘Families in extreme poverty’ works long-term to ensure that the most vulnerable, poorest children are given a better life”, Sabina Grubbeson explains.

Both 6-year-old Samira and 9-year-old Natalia are sponsored by Swedish support families, who make monthly donations to Loza Foundation. Thanks to their support, Loza can invest in the future of these children and for Samira, which means she gets her very own bed for the first time in her life.

Samira and her family have begun a new chapter in their life, and the Loza support team will do everything they can to guide them towards a brighter future.

 

Loza Foundation partnership with companies

Here you can find information about how the partnerships enable Loza Foundation to help more families escape extreme poverty.

Families in extreme poverty

The support and mentoring program ‘Families in extreme poverty in North Macedonia’ contributes to reaching the Global Goals by addressing Goal no. 1, No Poverty.

Read more about the global goals of the UN here.

For more information, please do not hesitate to get in touch with Sabina Grubbeson, founder and Secretary-General, +46 (0)733-21 38 23, info@lozafoundation.org

Companies are partnering up with Loza Foundation to reduce poverty and create a more sustainable development in Europe

So far, 14 companies have chosen to partner up with Loza Foundation, focusing on UN’s Global Goal no.1, No Poverty. The purpose is to jointly help create a sustainable future for some of the poorest families in Europe. The collaboration that started in January will run throughout 2022.

“I am truly grateful that so many companies have chosen to join this venture against extreme poverty, and we can already present results and measures that the efforts of these companies have contributed to”, says Sabina Grubbeson, Secretary-General, Loza Foundation.

With the help of the 14 partner companies, Loza has already achieved several tangible results in the first three months of the year. A story worth highlighting is the story of six-year-old Samira and her family and how they, thanks to the Loza collaboration with companies, have been given their first fully-functioning home. Please click here to read about how six-year-old Samira gets a home.

Throughout the year, the companies entering this venture will be able to follow the Loza projects in North Macedonia and all the families involved. A short documentary will be recorded, where two of the families will tell the audience about their living conditions and their general situation at the beginning of the project. A sequel will be recorded towards the end of the year to show the effect and the result of the different efforts.

“Some of the companies contribute with more than just funding. For example, Shepherd donates transport, jackets and shoes from their manufacturing and has also managed a collection of children’s clothes and shoes, which were donated to the project. Vagabond has also donated shoes from their production. Having shoes is crucial for children to be able to go to school.”

“When we work with these families on their journey out of extreme poverty, we are always amazed by the motivation we witness when they are given the opportunity to change their situation and living conditions. Many of them have never been given such a chance before and can hardly believe it is true. It is fantastic to see them take a big step out of chaos and misery, and what an enormous difference it makes to the health and development of the children”, says Sabina Grubbeson.

The first of the UN’s Global Goals is No Poverty. The more people that can contribute, the quicker we can reach the goal. Working actively with CSR is nowadays perceived to strengthen a brand and increase credibility, which benefits the companies’ communication, and Sabina believes this to be the reason why more and more companies want to get involved.

Partner companies

  • Shepherd
  • Swedese
  • Renta
  • Vagabond shoemakers
  • Wästbygg
  • NJG Investment
  • Varbergs Stadshotell & Asia Spa
  • BEWI Synbra
  • Prevex
  • Etikhus
  • Davids
  • Home of Textiles
  • Wiklund Trading
  • Petrovs Advokatfirma

Loza Foundation partnership with companies

Here you can find information about how the partnerships enable Loza Foundation to help more families escape extreme poverty.

Families in extreme poverty

The support and mentoring program ‘Families in extreme poverty in North Macedonia’ contributes to reaching the Global Goals by addressing goal No. 1, No Poverty.

Read more about the global goals of the UN here.

For more information, please do not hesitate to get in touch with Sabina Grubbeson, founder and Secretary-General, +46 (0)733-21 38 23, info@lozafoundation.org

 

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