London Metropolitan University Research Institutes

Psychosocial support and counselling for Roma families in Western Greece

Author(s) Kaouri, C. & Dimakos, I.  
Publisher London: CiCe  
Year 2012  
Editor P. Cunningham & N. Fretwell (eds.) Creating Communities: Local, National and Global  
Age group -  
The status quo of Roma communities in Europe is strongly marked by marginalization and discrimination. Roma people tend to face social exclusion and segregation leading to lack of education, chronic unemployment, and limited access to healthcare, housing and public services as well as widespread poverty. Within the framework of lifelong learning education, attempts have been initiated in order to empower Roma families to develop citizenship identity and actively pursue their rights as members of the Greek society. The Department of Primary Education of the University of Patras collaborated with The Institute of Continuing Education for Adults in order to develop educational programmes such as ‘Psychosocial support and counselling for Roma families’ that promoted social integration of Roma families. During the last four months of 2011, a particular action was initiated and focused on adult Roma education. Under the auspices of the action, eight Parents’ Schools (with 15-18 Roma parents participating at each school) were established in specific locations with large numbers of Roma families in Western Greece. Schools were led by professional psychologists and trained social workers. According to their evaluations, the action enhanced Roma parents’ skills to overcome difficulties and tried to alter rooted stereotypes with respect to employment, education, and access to public services. The specific action aspired to the building of communication bridges, referring to the co-operation between Roma families, schools and local communities. The main goal of this intervention is the maturation of attitudes of openness, acceptance, solidarity and respect, the development of pro-social skills, a sensitisation about school attendance and the encouragement of parent-teacher communication. The ultimate goal is to raise awareness that Roma families should be treated like any other EU citizens with equal access to all fundamental rights and active participation in the socio-economic context of our society. Keywords: Roma, parents’ schools, stereotypes, social integration, psychosocial support

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