Donor-funded project implementation

The Roma Education Fund has been active in implementing large-scale education projects funded by major private and public donors since 2010. Based on its experience developing sustainable, impactful education interventions, REF has scaled up its expertise to leverage more funding to increase the reach of its resources and knowledge production to serve Roma families and their children.

Below you will find a list of current and completed projects implemented by REF Hungary.
For additional projects implemented by REF Romania, please visit REF Romania website.

Current projects

Improved Education and Integration Opportunities for Roma in Serbia, Employment Empowerment of Young Roma and Reintegration of Returnees

Dates of implementation: 2017-present
Establish a mechanism of sustainable solutions and policies for Roma children and young people in the process of their return to the educational system in Serbia, and increase graduation rates among Roma secondary school students and Roma university students and their successful transition into the labor market.
KfW Development Bank

Pedagogy Scholarship Program in Czech Republic, Hungary, Romania and Slovakia

Dates of implementation: 2011-2019
Increase the number of female kindergarten teachers and nurseries of Romani origin in the regions of Czech Republic, Hungary and Slovakia. Facilitate the access to pedagogical vocational education for ethnic Romani women coming from poor social-economic background.
Velux Foundations

Secondary Scholarship and Mentorship Program Know-How Exchange

Dates of implementation: 2016-2018
Three regional know-how and capacity-building events bringing together representatives implementing REF’s Secondary Scholarship and Mentorship Program in eight participating countries.
Central European Initiative

Completed in 2017

School Completion as Pathway to Employment more

Dates of implementation: 12/2016-12/2017
The former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia
Description/ Objectives
Promote the integration of Roma communities into the labour market requires a comprehensive approach and addressing the needs of youth, adults and families.
Increase the integration of Roma adults into the labor market through basic skills development, education and training with the aim to secure primary and secondary school diplomas.
Improve education enrolment and retention rates for Roma children aged zero to six through community involvement and increased access to early childhood education and care.
Empower Roma women and combat gender and ethnic discrimination on the labor market through the establishment of community groups which promote continuous education and pathways to employment.
The “pathway to employment” methodology ensures a personalized approach for the individual participants.

Activities, services and results
72 Roma adults aged 18 to 40 (at least 40 Roma women) who have previous dropped out of school will receive their secondary education diploma.
48 Roma adults aged 18 to 40 (at least 25 Roma women) who have previous dropped out of school will receive their primary education diploma
120 Roma children aged zero to six (at least 60 Roma girls) will be involved in the project activities and will regularly attend pre-school or primary school
50 Roma children aged zero to six (at least 15 Roma girls) will be enrolled into pre-school or primary school.
Five women’s empowerment and support groups composed of at least 15 women will be established.
European Commission

Improving Roma Employment through Education and Trainingmore

Dates of implementation: 1/2016-12/2017
The former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia
Description/ Objectives
The overall objective of the project is to promote equal opportunities in the fields of employment for Roma men and women by providing Roma students with the training and education necessary to complete secondary education, increasing access to quality Early Childhood Education and Care for their children, increasing parental and community involvement in the education system, and empowering vulnerable Roma women to combat social exclusion and discrimination.

Specific objectives include:
Increase the integration of Roma adults into the labor market through education and training in order to secure primary and secondary school diplomas
Improve education enrolment and retention rates for Roma children aged zero to six through community involvement and increased access to early childhood education and care
Empower Roma women and combat gender and ethnic discrimination through the establishment of empowerment and education groups

Activities, services and results
72 Roma adults aged 18 to 40 (at least 40 Roma women) who have previous dropped out of school will receive their secondary education diploma.
48 Roma adults aged 18 to 40 (at least 25 Roma women) who have previous dropped out of school will receive their primary education diploma
120 Roma children aged zero to six (at least 60 Roma girls) will be involved in the project activities and will regularly attend pre-school or primary school
50 Roma children aged zero to six (at least 15 Roma girls) will be enrolled into pre-school or primary school.
Five women’s empowerment and support groups composed of at least 15 women will be established.
European Commission

Higher Education Internationalization and Mobility: Inclusion, Inequalities and Innovationmore

Dates of implementation: 01/2015-12/2017
Hungary, Spain, Sweden, UK
Description/Objectives
This action is a collaboration between three universities (Sussex - English, Umeå - Sweden and Seville, Spain) and REF. Partners produce research reports, research articles, and training modules about higher education internationalization and mobility, including for disadvantaged and marginalized communities, thus strengthening regional cooperation, knowledge sharing and exchange of best practices. The partners commit to sending and receiving secondees to and from partner organizations for exchange of experience and mutual work on increasing social inclusion, access to higher education and international mobility and cooperation, as well as organizing trainings on access to higher education for marginalized and disadvantaged communities around Europe.


Activities, services and results
Research/writing –
Three country-specific (Sweden, Spain, UK) research-informed briefing papers led by REF on issues for Roma people in accessing higher educational opportunities in European countries
One co-authored journal paper. Morley, L. Alexiadou, N. Garaz, S. González - Monteagudo, J. Taba, M. (In press) Internationalisation and Migrant Academics: The Hidden Narratives of Mobility. Higher Education
Guidelines for higher education institutions on reflexive internationalization aimed at embedding equity in their employment practices and treatment of international staff
Training
Module entitled Internationalisation in Higher Education: Practical Guidance
Network
Facebook Page to support the Roma ESR community, linked to CHEER web
communications
An established network on which to base applications for further funding e.g. to the Horizon 2020 Programme and the Open Society Foundation
European Commission

Ready Set Go – Increasing Early Childhood Development Outcomes for Roma Childrenmore

Dates of implementation: 11/2014-04/2017
Romania
Description/Objectives
The project seeks to:
scale-up access to quality early childhood education and care (ECEC) services for disadvantaged Roma children,
provide capacity building for involved Roma NGOs,
enhance the community cohesion and integration in the targeted localities, and
influence the improvement of the policy framework through dissemination activities with the ultimate goal to improve early childhood development outcomes of Roma children aged 0-6 years

Activities, services and results


The implementation of the activities was done in cooperation with high-profile experts from the World Bank and local stakeholders, the representatives of the municipalities and the county school inspectorates:
consolidated capacity of kindergartens to enroll children
enrolled 560 children in kindergartens for 2 school years
training teachers, mediators and facilitators
home visits
material support for enrollment, including food vouchers and transportation solutions
parents’ non-formal education meetings
Your Story sessions for mothers
Home Pre-School Community Liaison program
multi-stakeholder workshops
reading out loud activities to the children
community motivation events
employing Roma teaching assistants;
increased the capacity of institutions in charge with services of early childhood education and care
Norwegian Financial Mechanism 2009-2014

Completed in 2016

Support to the Integration and Voluntary Return of I/DPs and residents of Konik Camp – Phase IImore

Dates of implementation: 09/2014-06/2016
Montenegro, Kosovo
Description/ Objectives
Lead partner: Help - Hilfe zur Selbsthilfe e.V.

This project aimed to increase social inclusion and employment opportunities by facilitating I/DPs and residents of the Konik settlement to access their rights to legal status, education, health and employment in order to enable full local integration or facilitate voluntary return, as well as to strengthen the capacities of local institutions in project management. This is the second phase, a follow-up of the action in Konik camp which REF implemented in partnership with Help, e.V. from 2013-2015.
Activities, services and results


Support to obtain secure legal status, enroll children in kindergartens and integrated primary education; design and implement diverse trainings for teachers, teaching assistants and volunteers;

Increasing employment opportunities - trainings for waste collectors provision of 60 income-generation grants; business and specialized trainings for individual income generation beneficiaries; programs for Roma women entrepreneurs, with literacy and financial literacy training and health mediators

Strengthening regional cooperation - provision of concrete and accurate information to beneficiary population about the conditions for return to Kosovo by organizing 29 cross-border events; at least 50 displaced families referred for return and reconstruction to agencies/authorities in Kosovo, with transport facilitation and basic return assistance provided only to those not already assisted by projects in Kosovo

Supported and guided lead partner on all aspects of results-based project management during the project period.
European Commission and Government of Montenegro

Completed in 2015

Enhancing Roma Youth’s Access to Higher Educationmore

Dates of implementation: 05/2014-11/2015
Romania
Description/ Objectives
The main objective of the project is to enhance Roma youth’s access to higher education and to reduce their risk of drop out in the first years by providing 170 study scholarships to Roma students enrolled in 1st and 2nd years of Bachelor and through the implementation of a mentorship scheme for Roma students in 1st year of Bachelor.
Project Objectives
Facilitating the access to higher education for 170 young Roma through a scholarship program for Roma students enrolled in the first cycle of university studies
Facilitating the integration in higher education for 170 young Roma enrolled in the first year of Bachelor studies and developing their professional and academic potential through an integrated system of mentorship
Continuous training and capacity building for 15 representatives of the management structures in universities with Roma students
Consolidating the electronic network of communication for Roma students in Romania

Activities, services and results
Facilitated the access to higher education for 170 young Roma through a scholarship program for Roma students enrolled in the first cycle of university studies
Facilitated the integration in higher education for 170 young Roma enrolled in the first year of Bachelor studies and developing their professional and academic potential through an integrated system of mentorship
Continuous training and capacity building for 15 representatives of the management structures in universities with Roma students
Consolidated the electronic network of communication for Roma students in Romania
Implemented mentoring component (with subsequent activities related to developing electronic system architecture to implement this component, selection and training of mentors’ groups of the Roma students in the final year Bachelor or Master and PhD programs, establish groups monitoring student-mentors and mentoring sessions)
Training of representative’s leadership structures of universities
European Commission

Integrated Educational Services for Roma Communitiesmore

Dates of implementation: 04/2013-08/2015
Romania
Description/ Objectives
The project seeks to develop and improve Roma’s competencies and skills for a more successful entry in the labor market through the reduction of the early school leaving phenomenon and by
ensuring access to education for Roma adults who have not completed primary education by providing ‘second chance’ and other counseling services
ensuring equal access to education for Roma pupils in grades 9-12 at risk of early school leaving in 5 regions through the provision of an integrated service package including mentorship, orientation and counseling, stipends and educational support
improving the competencies of educators and community workers from 5 regions who are involved in the implementation of measures designed to prevent and correct early school leaving among Roma

Activities, services and results
Developed an online platform for education for disadvantaged groups
Grants, scholarships and awards to 810 beneficiaries of the project: 310 Roma adults who have not completed compulsory education participayrf in the "second chance program, and 500 students from grades 9-12 received educational support activities as dropout prevention measures
A camp was organized for Roma students' personal development
A study completed on the situation of early school leaving in the 5 regions of the project
An information campaign and awareness for actors involved in prevention of early school leaving in 50 Roma communities and 50 schools in the project areas
1 European Conference promoting awareness on the issue of early school leaving by Roma
European Commission

Completed in 2014

Support to the Integration and Voluntary Return of I/DPs and residents of Konik Camp - Phase Imore

Dates of implementation: 12/2012-06/2014
Montenegro, Kosovo
Description/ Objectives
Lead partner: Help - Hilfe zur Selbsthilfe e.V.
This project aimed to increase social inclusion and employment opportunities by facilitating I/DPs and residents of the Konik settlement to access their rights to legal status, education, health and employment in order to enable full local integration or to facilitate voluntary return and to strengthen the capacities of local institutions in project management.

Activities, services and results
Support to obtain secure legal status, enrol children in kindergartens and integrated primary education; design and implement diverse trainings for teachers, teaching assistants and volunteers;
Increasing employment opportunities - Implementing trainings for waste collectors; provision of 60 income-generation grants; and organization of business trainings and special trainings for individual income generation beneficiaries; implement programs for Roma women entrepreneurs, with literacy and financial literacy training and health mediators
Strengthening regional cooperation - provision of concrete and accurate information to beneficiary population about the conditions for return to Kosovo by organizing cross-border events; displaced families referred for return and reconstruction to agencies/authorities in Kosovo, with transport facilitation and basic return assistance provided only to those not already assisted by projects in Kosovo;
Supported and guided lead partner on all aspects of results-based project management during the project period.
European Commission
Government of Montenegro

Completed in 2013

School after School – the First Step to School and Professional Successmore

Dates of implementation: October 2011 - June 2013
Romania
Description/ Objectives

After-school program consisting of remedial education and assisted learning for Roma pupils of primary education (grades 1-4). Fifty after-school centers participated in the program in three development regions of Northeast, Central, and South Muntenia. With the main objective to increase the enrollment and student performance in primary education for 2000 children at risk of early school dropout.

The project targeted
Children in risk of early school leaving – 2,269
Parents of children in risk of early school leaving – 4,000
Teenagers who dropped out school – 200
Persons involved in implementing and developing programs in this regard -the early school leaving– (teachers and school mediators) - 280


Activities, services and results
50 well-equipped School after School centers for over 2,000 children included in the project
Training courses for the teachers involved in the project
Activities targeting personal development of the children
Support offered to the parents of the children in order to raise awareness of the importance of education in children’s development and life
Painting exhibition for children
Intercultural summer schools
50 partnerships signed with the school and municipalities selected in the project
Awareness campaign for the importance of education for the community (implemented in 50 communities)
European Social Fund / European Commission

Completed in 2012

A Good Start: Scaling-Up Access to Quality Services for Young Roma Childrenmore

Dates of implementation: June 2010-June 2012
Hungary
FYR Macedonia
Romania
Slovakia
Description/ Objectives

The project supported nearly 4,000 Roma and non-Roma children aged zero to seven to access early childhood education and care (ECEC) services in 16 locations in four countries. In addition to the budget provided by the European Commission DG REGIO, the Network of European Foundations, the Bernard van Leer Foundation, and the LEGO Foundation contributed to the successful implementation by providing funds and resources.

The two main objectives were to:
scale-up access to quality ECEC services for disadvantaged Roma children
raise early childhood development outcomes for Roma children, so as to enhance their school readiness and subsequent life opportunities.

Activities, services and results
Carried out by the local partners:
training teachers, mediators and facilitators
home visits
open house – preschool/ kindergarten and primary school
financial support for enrolment; material support
parents’ non-formal education meetings
Your Story for mothers
Home Pre-School Community Liaison program
Multi-stakeholder workshops
reading out loud activities to the children
community motivation events
providing informal (community-based) pre-school activities
employing Roma teaching assistants
providing formal day care services for 0-3 children
after-school instruction for children in the first grade
accompaniment to and from school; transportation
experts’ services: psychologist, pediatrician, speech therapist, etc.
working with a higher education institutions
providing leaflets and handouts, awareness raising
assisting to apply for official documentation and birth certificates
providing LEGO educational toys for kindergartens and community centers
European Commission