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In conditions of extremely uncertain and risky situation in which our society and public health are currently, the need to protect the most vulnerable citizens is enormous. The highest priority of the Foundation Open Society – Macedonia (FOSM) is the protection and improvement of the lives of all, especially the marginalized citizens. In that regard, FOSM provided a donation of 100,000 dollars for emergency humanitarian intervention for endangered Roma families who are socially and economically most directly affected by the health crisis.

It is extremely important in these moments to provide adequate support for the most vulnerable groups of citizens by increasing the possibility of maintaining regular hygiene and disinfection, but also by supporting the food supply in the period of isolation. For that purpose, FOSM in cooperation with the Red Cross of the Republic of North Macedonia provided humanitarian food packages and packages with hygiene products that are sufficient for a period of one month to serve the needs of a family with 4 to 6 members. The activity will cover about 10,000 citizens from the Roma community, i.e. about 2,000 families living in Šuto Orizari in Skopje, Tetovo, Gostivar, Bitola, Prilep, Kumanovo, Delčevo, Vinica Pehčevo and the village of Crnik.

The distribution of the humanitarian packages will start on Friday, 3 April, with a visit to 400 families in Skopje. On Saturday, additional 400 families are scheduled for visit, also from Skopje, and as of Monday, 6 April, humanitarian packages will be distributed and reach the homes of Roma families across the country. The distribution of humanitarian packages will end no later than 10 April 2020.

For the smooth conduction of the activity, the Red Cross of the Republic of North Macedonia will cooperate with six civil society organizations that are active and recognized in the Roma communities. Romano Čačipe, IRIZ – Skopje, Sonce – Tetovo, Stanica P.E.T. – Prilep, NRC – Kumanovo, NGO KHAM – Delčevo, HOPS – Skopje and the Center for Street Children – Šuto Orizari helped to identify the needs of the most affected Roma families and will help distribute humanitarian packages. We thank them for their selfless engagement in these critical moments.

We at the Foundation Open Society – Macedonia are committed to building a tolerant and inclusive society open to the participation of all citizens equally. The support and participation of the Roma community in improving the conditions for access to education, health and legal services, but also for changing perceptions, attitudes and positions towards Roma remains in our focus.