North Macedonia is one of the poorest countries in Europe. During the Corona Pandemic 2020, the situation of the poorest and most vulnerable deteriorated and there was an urgent need for food and heat as families who usually survive one day at a time by collecting space or metal for recycling could not collect what is normally enough for food for the day.
In the autumn of 2020 Loza Foundation started a support and the mentorship program called Families with children in Extreme Poverty in collaboration with the local organization Dendo Vas. The project starts in the Shutka district in Skopje, which is North Macedonia’s largest Roma settlement and one of Europe’s largest ghetto areas.
Dendo Vas has a long experience of support programs for families in need and has a strong relationship with vulnerable families. The organization Dendo Vas runs a preschool for the poorest families to integrate the children into the school.
The support program will provide improved living conditions for the most vulnerable families through home repairs and basic needs such as food, heating, water and sewage. Efforts that make a huge difference to health, safety and hygiene and contribute to the children being able to go to school and for the parents to be able to apply for a job.
The program also includes a mentoring support with an intervention team that registers the children in school and trains the parents to apply for work. Through home visits and joint workshops with the goal that the families will get out of the vulnerable situation that extreme poverty entails and become self-sufficient.