The Ministry of Culture of Ukraine has recommended that oblast administrations start working with Roma social and health mediators
The Ministry of Culture of Ukraine has recommended that oblast administrations start working with Roma social and health mediators that were trained through ROMED – a joint program of the Council of Europe and European Commission. The work of the mediators in Ukraine is coordinated by the Roma Women Fund Chirikli together with NGOs in the oblasts, with support of the International Renaissance Foundation’s Roma of Ukraine Program. Chirikli also conducted an advocacy campaign in support of institutionalizing Roma mediators on the state and local level.
The Roma social and health mediators program has been operating in Ukraine since 2010. The program is working in 12 oblasts of Ukraine. 50 mediators have been trained. They help Roma register for social benefits, obtain identification documents, and communicate with medical staff at local hospitals and clinics, in particular they help refer them for medical examinations, and provide other assistance as necessary. These mediators help local social services that work with Roman families, but have limited resources.
In several European countries (including Macedonia and Romania), Roma health mediator is an official profession.
In Ukraine, most Roma live in the Zakarpattya and Odesa oblasts. According to the 2001 census, there are 48,000 Roma in Ukraine; however, international organizations put this figure much higher, at 250,000 – 300,000.
The socioeconomic situation of Roma in Ukraine is quite difficult. Most Roma have limited access to education, social and medical services due to discrimination, poverty, and low levels of education. These problems are common among Roma living in various European countries.
Roma Women Fund Chirikli
(+380 44) 257 19 29
The Roma of Ukraine program goal is to promote the initiatives aimed at raising the level of education of Roma youth, elaboration and monitoring of the efficient state policy regarding Roma minority, improvement of access to healthcare services and promotion of Roma rights protection efforts.