Meaningful Assistance from TİKA for the Roma People in Croatia

Turkish Cooperation and Coordination Agency (TİKA) continues to positively affect the lives of disadvantaged groups in Croatia.

Roma Association Step by Step, which serves Roma people living in Croatia’s Koprivnica-Križevci County, transports the children of families living in Roma neighborhoods, who are in need of special education, to rehabilitation centers at the city center every week. The association, which used to provide this service with an old minibus was supplied with a new minibus by TİKA and the children were supported to access special education opportunities at better conditions.

The handover ceremony took place in the City Square of Koprivnica Country, and it was attended by Roma Association Step by Step President Franjo Horvat, association administrators, the children transported by the association and their families. The Governor of Koprivnica-Križevci County Darko Koren, Mayor of Koprivnica Mišel Jakšić, Podravina County Development Agency Director Melita Birčić, Representatives from the Chamber of Commerce, Deputy Governor Ratimir Ljubić, Chairman of the County Council Željko Pintar, Turkish Ambassador to Zagreb Mustafa Babür Hızlan, TİKA Zagreb Office officers, managers from various units of the governorate and the municipality, Podravka Sunce rehabilitation Center’s managers and employees as well as members of the press.

“The integration of the national Roma minority into the society will be facilitated”

The Governor, who welcomed the Turkish Ambassador and his delegation prior to the ceremony, made a presentation that displayed the basic characteristics, cultural and natural beauties and the economic indicators of the region and offered his gratitude for the cooperation with the Association Step by Step. In his speech during the ceremony, Governor Koren said, “This is a special day for the City and County of Koprivnica, we are delighted to welcome Mr. Ambassador and the TİKA Coordinator. We are grateful to them for donating a minibus to our Roma Association Step by Step, because this contribution will facilitate the integration of the national Roma minority into the society. In our meeting prior to the ceremony, we discussed potential cooperation with Turkey, and I believe that today we opened the door for cooperation.”

Ambassador Hızlan thanked the Governor, the Mayor and the Roma Association Step by Step for their warm welcome and expressed that Turkey will always be open to economic investment offers extended by Croatia. The Ambassador also pointed out making the cooperation official with an agreement would be good and he stated his happiness regarding the minibus that was donated and said: “We see the result of a wonderful project aimed at a minority group,  standing at the edge of the society with a real need for our help. Although this is a modest contribution in terms of the budgetary aspect, it carries great value and meaning. I would like to thank everybody, who has provided help, and to TİKA for understanding the importance of this project and carrying it out.  I am very happy that we achieved this cooperation.”

Coordinator Koç talked about the projects implemented by TİKA in Croatia and remarked that the Agency works all around the world with the motto of “All For a Smile” and he expressed that they are very happy to be the reason for the smile on the faces of Roma children.

The Mayor Jakšić stated that he is proud to see the cooperation between TİKA and the Roma Association Step by Step and said: “The project is very important because it facilitates the Roma minority to be part of the school system. As the Municipality, we are also engaged in an excellent cooperation with representatives of the Roma people, and we have common projects such as community services and cucumber farming.”

The keys to the vehicle were delivered by the Ambassador Babür Hızlan and by the TİKA Coordinator to the President of the Association Mr. Franjo Horvat. The ceremony, which was also attended by the children that will be transported to the Rehabilitation Center, also featured gifts to these children. President Horvat stated that the primary use of the vehicle will be the transportation of sixteen children to the rehabilitation center, who used to use an old minibus for this and he offered his thanks to TİKA and to the Republic of Turkey.