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

Commissioned by: German Federal Ministry for Economic Cooperation and Development (BMZ)

Partner: Roma Education Fund

Project period: 2016-2019 (Phase 1) and 2019 – 2022 (phase 2)


  • To combat discrimination and to create conditions, under which Roma can obtain access to quality education and employment


In late 2016, EUR 2,373,950 and in December 2019, EUR 4,000,000 were granted by the German Federal Ministry for Economic Cooperation and Development (BMZ) to the Roma Education Fund (REF). Administered by KfW Development Bank and implemented by the Representative Office of the Roma Education Fund in the Republic of Serbia, this grant seeks to combine the scholarship-graduation program from high school with job-related skill training for Roma entering the Serbian labour market.

The Project consists of three components: Supporting secondary school education for Roma youth, supporting employability of graduates of the REF secondary school scholarship program and promoting the re-integration of Serbian Roma returnees from Germany into Serbian society.

The prospect of few income opportunities after graduation, combined with socio-economic and cultural pressure, frequently leads to Roma abandoning their studies. Simultaneously, many employers remain hesitant to hire Roma high school and university graduates, even if they are suitably qualified. Moreover, stiff competition for vacant jobs, that are available, worsens the situation.


  • The promotion of secondary school education for Roma youth:

From 2016/17 to 2018/2019 school year, a scholarship for secondary school was guaranteed for 1,310 young Roma., which decreases school dropouts significantly as well as improves the grades of the scholarship recipients.

  • The promotion of employability of graduates of the REF secondary school program:

Every year and over the course of several months, at least 50 Roma secondary students and graduates participate in internships and at least 25 Roma graduates attend professional training classes. About 435 young Roma have received support after their return from Germany, 766 of them did the vocational training and 300 had a professional internship in companies

  • The promotion of the re-integration of migrants returning from Germany to Serbia:

438 Roma families, returning from Germany to Serbia, are supported in their reintegration process – especially when reintegrating their children into the Serbian educational system. The program supported 843 children (5.5-14 years old).

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