The limited access to social services for the citizens, as well as the inactivity of the services in the JUM Center for Social Work in Šuto Orizari, make it difficult for citizens to exercise their rights. A number of irregularities and inadequate treatment by employees towards socially disadvantaged families and persons have been detected, due to which they feel discriminated and humiliated.
The creative action “Labyrinth in the Center for Social Work in Šuto Orizari” is an expression of dissatisfaction by the Roma community due to the non-functionality of the Center for Social Work in Šuto Orizari. At the same time, it sends a message to the competent Ministry of Labor and Social Policy that the Senter for Social Work in Šuto Orizari is dysfunctional and serious reforms are needed for its proper functioning.
The street performance symbolically conceived as a labyrinth is based on everyday events, personal experiences, life stories and true statements of social service seekers in the Center in Šuto Orizari and is a consequence of the impossibility in the institutional labyrinth to exercise social rights guaranteed by the Constitution.
In the short several-minute play, activists explained the problems and demands of the Roma community. Passers-by and other actors had the opportunity to go through the labyrinth and see directly what problems state benefit applicants face in Šuto Orizari.
The following examples are the most common problems and obstacles that the Roma community faces in accessing social services:
- Submission or non-submission of decisions outside the legal deadline for the submitted requests, and non-issuance of archive numbers for individual cases prevent the right of the applicants to appeal within the legal deadline;
- The social workers in the Center for Social Affairs in Šuto Orizari, subjectively, without going out on the field, assess the factual situation of the Roma households, which prevents them from exercising their social rights;
- Uncoordinated approach, insufficient staffing and lack of capacity and expertise of the services of the Center in Šuto Orizari;
- Inability to establish normal and regular communication between employees in the institution and the applicants for state benefit;
- Lack of facilities and poor spatial conditions, as well as the marginalization of the center by the line ministry.
The action is part of the training for creative activism of Roma organizations conducted by the Foundation Open Society – Macedonia. Representatives of Romano Chachipe, Skopje, participate in the training and in the creation and implementation of the action; IRIZ, Skopje; National Roma Centrum Kumanovo and Station Pet Prilep.
—————————————————4 December 2020