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Factors and Consequences of Social Exclusion of Children in Macedonia – experience directly from the field . PhD Verica Stamenkova Trajkova MA Frosina Denkova MA Ivan Trajkov MA Sofija Arnaudova. Background:.
PhD Verica Stamenkova Trajkova
MA Frosina Denkova
MA Ivan Trajkov
MA Sofija Arnaudova
=>Aim of this paper=> to present the perceptions and the opinions of the different structures, direct and indirect participants in working with children from the governmental institutions and from the civil society associations in the Republic of Macedonia related to the basic problems and needs of children on the level of the entire country
-105 participants from different NGOs in 8 regions in Macedonia
Data collected in Republic of Macedonia shows that:
Insufficient number of secured housings for the children from the institutions after they leave them
In the Republic of Macedonia there are several categories of children which have housing problems. Those are:
These children reach their maturity by creating a vulnerable structure of their personality which without further adequate support, they will hardly organize their life and independent life in the society. The problems and obstacles that the other young people at their age easily solve, for this group of youth they are to big problems. In lacking support of the Government they are under high risk to live in poverty and social exclusion in the future and to show associative and delinquent behaviour.
The majority of them are with low education i.e. unqualified and uncompetitive in the labor market and with unsolved housing issue. For this reason they are at risk to become homeless or victims of different type of abuse and exploitation (labor, sexual etc.).
-90% of the street children are from families that live in improvised carton board neighbourhoods in several locations in Skopje, the capital, but also in Bitola where around 272 families live in this kind of homes with 536 children.
They live in exceptionally difficult living conditions under which most endangered are children, more exactly their entire psycho-physical development and their health condition is questioned. These children are in the magical chain of poverty where housing is the first circle to which are linked the educational and health exclusion. These children the majority of the day pass outside home, which together with their parents or more often alone obtain financial means by begging, doing services for people, collecting paper, old iron or nutrition products and clothes often in garbage bins.
Unemployed parents, a cause of poverty and endangered well-being of children.
-unemployment was identified as the main generator of poverty of parents and other family members
A special category affected by this problem are children from families with a single unemployed parent, children from Roma families and children living in the poorest rural municipalities.
Educational exclusion of children
The educational exclusion of children is referring to the exclusion of children from
Insufficient reach of children of pre-schooling age in the pre-school educational system
-Bad material situation of families:
-Distance of the institutions from the living place
Incomplete inclusion of children of primary school age (7-14years old) in primary education
As reasons for exclusion of the primary education the present of the workshops emphasized the following:
Language barriers. This reason is also recorded and is applicable only for certain groups like Turks, Roma and Juruks from the east of the country, children of which due to the lack of knowledge of the Macedonian language are unable to get included in the educational process. Here also parents don’t show sufficient interest and don’t pay special attention to education and because of this they don’t stimulate their children to learn the language and to get enrolled in schools.
-high percentage (33.9%) of youth at the age of 15 to 19 are excluded from the secondary education. It shows that the young people which are not included in secondary education are the same ones that haven’t followed primary school, but there is a certain percent that are not able to continue with their education because of their bad material situation (the biggest percentage are Roma children but also children from families that live in huge poverty).
-Especially in rural areas, 30% of the excellent students don’t continue their education in higher educational institutions because of family poverty; families are unable to educate their children, but also the lack of scholarships for stimulation of these children to continue with education.
Lack of education
Health exclusion of children (incomplete inclusion of children with the health protection service)
The biggest number of children and youth that are not at all covered with health insurance come from poor and socially excluded groups which survive outside of the formal economy. A considerable number are also children which receive social relief are not covered with health insurance.
Incomplete staffing of the centers for social work with personnel for providing help and services to children
In the Republic of Macedonia there are 27 inter-municipal Centers for Social Work (CSW) which cover the whole territory with real and regional authority. In the centers it is decided for all of the questions related to social protection and non-institutional support is provide for citizens.
-383 have shown asocial behavior,
-727 were criminally unanswerable
-3570 criminally charged.
This number in comparison with the number of the employees in the CSW in the Republic of Macedonia (660 persons of which457 professionals and 203 administrative-technical staff) says about the big discrepancy between the children’s needs for help and services and the real assistance provided to them.
- the rights of the child are stipulated in the Convention are not enjoyed by an important percentage of the children, especially the children from the poorest families and part of the ethnical communities.
We can conclude that:
-social exclusion of children and youth in the Republic of Macedonia is a result of poverty, parents unemployment, inadequate living conditions, insufficient coverage with health protection, insufficient inclusion in the educational system and insufficient monitoring of the realization of children’s rights.