Nearly 300 Roma families in Tivat, Bar, Ulcinj, and Niksic received 400 assistance packages under the regional ROMACTED programme. The aim of the programme, which is a joint initiative of the EU and the Council of Europe in the Western Balkans and Turkey, is the promotion of good governance and capacity building for Roma. They organised this activity as a response to the COVID-19 epidemic in Montenegro, in order to help one of the most vulnerable categories of the population.

“On 18 March, with the support of a group of non-governmental organisations, human rights and RE activists, we appealed to the Government of Montenegro to respond and protect the RE population from the COVID-19 infection. Subsequently, we launched a RESPECT campaign aimed to inform about the coronavirus, to help the community in these moments, in line with temporary measures to protect citizens from COVID-19. We have formed an operational body consisting of 34 volunteers from 13 Montenegrin municipalities in which the RE community lives, with whom we are in daily contact, so we can provide the most effective coordination of the campaign itself, emergency response and provision of adequate assistance, as well as for better information of the situation on the ground within the community,” explains Samir Jaha, of NGO “Young Roma,” a partner organisation on the ROMACTED programme.

Packages with food and hygiene products were delivered to Roma families from 27 March to 17 April. Its value is over €13,000, and the money was provided from the project budget of the NGO “Young Roma” through the ROMACTED programme.

“A number of EU projects and programmes have adapted their activities to new circumstances and dedicated them to the fight against the coronavirus. We are glad that this is also the case with the ROMACTED programme. Assistance to vulnerable categories of society has always been a priority of the European Union, and especially now – when they are more affected. Immediately after the outbreak of the coronavirus in Montenegro, we organised assistance for Roma families in Bijelo Polje, Berane, Niksic, and Herceg Novi, and together with partner organisations, we will continue to organise similar activities,” stated Mladenka Tesic, the Project Manager at the EU Delegation to Montenegro.

The European Union helped Roma families in Bijelo Polje, Berane, Niksic, and Herceg Novi at the beginning of the outbreak of the viruscoronas in Montenegro. In cooperation with the HELP organisation and the NGO “Walk with us – Phiren Amenca,” it provided 600 assistance packages to about 400 families of Roma and Egyptian populations. For the eight Montenegrin municipalities included in the ROMACTED programme, an additional €20,000 will be provided from the European Union and Council of Europe funds, which will seek to provide adequate assistance to the RE community.