Meeting of those at risk of poverty and social exclusion to take place in Brno, Czech Republic
On 15 and 16 April, the second National Meeting of People Living in Poverty and Social Exclusion (Národní setkání lidí žijících v chudobě a sociálním vyloučení), organized by nonprofit and publicly-funded organizations, will take place in Brno under the auspices of the Czech Public Defender of Rights (the ombudsman), JUDr. Pavel Varvařovský with the financial support of Dagmar Havlová's Good Will Committee (Výbor dobré vůle Dagmar Havlové) and other organizations. The meeting will provide an opportunity to learn more about the situations of those at risk of poverty and social exclusion.
A group of 20 people whose own experiences with poverty make them experts on the subject will meet to discuss various questions, such as: What does inclusion into ordinary life mean for me? Do I consider the services of the helping professions capable of supporting the inclusion of disadvantaged persons into ordinary life? These themes will be discussed by people with mental disorders, homeless people, people at risk of addictions, asylum-seekers, immigrants, crime victims, people leaving prison or treatment in custody, people who are socially excluded because of their ethnicity, single-parent families with children and youth at risk of undesirable social phenomena, and children and youth leaving institutional care.
"The tradition of a national meeting of people who have personal experience with poverty and social exclusion is based on our conviction that it makes sense to strive for our clients' participation in politics and public affairs by having them directly formulate their needs based on their experiences. This year we want to learn what these people think of the effects and usefulness of the helping professions and integrated services in the Czech Republic. We are gathering specific suggestions for the Czech Ministry of Labor and Social Affairs and regional authorities which we believe can contribute to improving the effectiveness of those services," said Mgr. Katarína Klamková, director of the IQ Roma servis civic association, the organization arranging this year's meeting. "At the same time, representatives will be chosen from among the participants in this meeting to attend a similar meeting in Brussels which will bring this discussion to the European level."
The event is being organized by IQ Roma servis, o. s. in collaboration with the following organizations: The European Anti-Poverty Network in the Czech Republic (EAPN ČR, o. s.), the Social Welfare Department of the Brno City Hall, People in Need (Člověk v tísni, o. p. s.), Safe Sex (Rozkoš bez rizika, o. s.), A-kluby ČR o.p.s., o. s. Ester, Nový prostor, o. s., and the Brno Probation and Mediation Service. The meeting will be opened by Deputy Ombudsman and Senator RNDr. Jitka Seitlová. A press conference will be held between 12:00 and 13:00 followed by a discussion with journalists, who are sincerely invited to participate.
The opportunity for poor, socially excluded people to speak at the very center of the European Union and to actively contribute to the creation of the policies that affect them is one of the key aims of the international Together and Across program. This program is being financed by the European Social Fund, the Operational Program Human Rights and Employment, and the state budget of the Czech Republic and is implemented by IQ Roma servis.
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