E2E story – Knowledge for the new beginning

E2E story – Knowledge for the new beginning

Kragujevac: Within the “Education to Employment“, an opportunity for employment was provided to women from Kragujevac who have been victims of domestic violence. A group of women from this vulnerable population attended on-the-job training for vocational profiles in high demand  which opened for them room to become economic independent after they leave the Shelter. Mina Mijailović, project coordinator, the president of the Safety Oasis Kragujevac, spoke about the advantages of the training within the “Education to Employment“ programme, what it meant for women who had been victims of domestic violence, and how they became ‘different women’ after they finished the training.


“A survey which we conducted in Kragujevac in 2014 showed that only 37 percent of women victims of violence are employed. When asked why they cannot leave behind the violence, they state the economic dependence on their partner as a third reason, immediately following the protection of family and children. That made it clear that it is important to overcome the unemployment problem of women victims of domestic violence,“ Mijailović said.

“Education to Employment“ programme offered concrete solutions to women from this vulnerable group and, through their vocational training, increased their chances of getting a job.



On-the-job training for a group of 10 women was designed with employers, for the profiles in high demand on the labour market. Five women attended on-the-job training for assistant baker in My Bakery, two women were trained to become make-up artists, two women to become hair stylists, and one women was trained for a higher level of fluency in the English language.


“Our trainees were of poor educational background, they had only primary school or not even a complete primary school.  One was a metal worker and one was nearing her university diploma in literature. Not a single one had work experience and all were jobless. After they left the Shelter, they faced the same problem – how to earn their living and become independent,“ people in the Safety Oasis said.

According to them, preparing women for their participation in the “Education to Employment“ training was a very sensitive and delicate endeavour  because violence leaves deep psychological footprints on the victim making them distrustful, withdrawn, afraid, non-communicative, socially excluded.


“It is especially hard to empower a woman who was a victim of violence, to encourage her to start living autonomously and become financially independent. Within the “Education to Employment“ project we have worked simultaneously on their psychological and economic empowerment. First we had motivation and assertiveness workshops and women learnt how to communicate with their co-workers and employers. When they started on-the-job training at the employers’ they had individual workshops with our psychologist. We kept track of their motivation which was quite fluctuating in the beginning, we checked whether they were regularly attending the training, we talked with them about their experience from the training and their progress. Besides the individual work, we organised, during the training, group meetings in which the experience was shared and they supported each other,“ the president of the Safety Oasis said.

The beginning of the training was very hard for all trainees. They lacked self-confidence. That is we worked to encourage them to at least decide to enrol into the training. Some ‘justified’ their negative decision saying that there is nobody  to take care of their children while they are on the training, that they will not manage well on the training, etc. However, after a bit of ‘convincing’, they started the on-the-job training.


“After two months of training at the employers’ they became different women, believe me. They were not the same women any longer. We in the Safety Oasis  were also surprised to see how much they changed. They became more communicative and were in much better mood. Suzana (27), whom, due to her lack of self-confidence, we almost did not manage to persuade to start the training, accepted the training in a bakery so well that she would sometimes stay at work for two shifts, for 16 hours even. After she completed the training, Suzana stayed on to work at My Bakery in which she underwent training for assistant baker“.

After the training all women were different. People in the Safety Oasis say that the women who were withdrawn, distrustful, unsure of themselves, afraid that they will not be able to do it at the beginning gained confidence with time and learnt how to communicate and do a lot of jobs in the bakery.


“They gained courage and became more confident at the training. For instance, Milena, who also got employment in My Bakery, ceased renting an apartment to live with her kids and took courage from the training to provide a roof over their heads by adapting the attic of her parents’ home.“

In Safety Oasis they particularly highlighted good impressions from partnership with the employers at whose premises the training of women trainees took place. My Bakery was really responsive to the trainees and, in agreement with them, it defined the time schedule of the training. After the training, this employer offered a job to five trainees and the offer was accepted by Milena, Danijela, and Suzana.


“In such environment, trainees were well supported so they looked forward to every new lesson within the training. Every week, the employer notified us about their progress and, after the training was successfully completed, they were awarded certificates.“

Could the “Education to Employment“ training be a model for future with regard to solving a problem with employment of the vulnerable group of women who left the violence with the decision to start a new life?


“Education to Employment is so far the only project to suit the needs of a vulnerable groups such as women who are victims of domestic violence. The advantage is that efforts were concurrently made to strengthen their motivation to attend training and, with the employers, to better understand the needs of women who came out of the violence.“

It is believed in the Safety Oasis that, in future, a more significant role in supporting victims of violence to get employment should be played by the National Employment Service which should keep better register of jobless victims of violence, be more involved in providing them with the information about vacancies, retraining possibilities, etc. The problem is that, so far, all attempts to provide employment for victims of violence have been reduced to individual contacts between social institutions and employers.

Further, it should be borne in mind that the self-employment programme with grants meant for starting own business is not a good option for women who are victims of violence. Namely, they went through a hardship and now, after everything, they are not ready to assume the responsibility and obligation to run their own business.


“Work with vulnerable populations is specific and requires continuous psychological support which should subsist in the course of future programmes for promotion of their employment. These persons have been let down in their lives, they are victims of violence – it is therefore important to be sensitised to work with them. Our suggestion is that,  in addition to the victims of violence, the work should in future focus on employers as well: they need to be informed about the social situation of the persons who experienced violence and disperse any stereotypes that exist about them“.

In the Safety Oasis they believe that the problem of employment of women victims of violence should be addressed in a systematic manner. A good example in Serbia is Vojvodina, It budgets the funds to encourage the employers to employ vulnerable populations.


Text and photo: Gordana Mirović / Editor: Sandra Vlatković




Novi Pazar: Edis Latović (17), a person with developmental disability, regularly attends the workshops within the “Education to Employment” project that are organised by the Novi Pazar Psychological Society with the aim to empower less employable persons.


In his statement for the E2E Edis said that the workshops helped him learn many things about which he formerly knew very little or nothing at all.


“This is the first time I learn about teamwork and how to complete a task working with others. I learn about different forms of communication, how to show my emotions, what is good etiquette, how to behave in different situations,” this young man said.



As he said, all of it would help him find a job more easily once he finishes school.


“My dream is to become an automotive electrician. For a couple of months I had practical training in a workshop, I helped the master electrician in some simpler tasks and I think I could be able to do that job”, Edis said.


According to the Psychological Society, these workshops are designed so as to enable persons with developmental disabilities to gain self-confidence or necessary skills and knowledge that could help them find a job more easily.


Working with them, however, mentors realised that some things are too complicated for them and that the focus should be on the fundamentals.


“That is why we designed specific thematic workshops with the presentations and tasks tailored to suit their capability. Each workshop has a specific topic. Namely, we taught them about good etiquette, healthy lifestyles, proper diet, but we also talked about friendship, frustrations, what makes them angry, how to behave in such situations, how to control anxiety and apprehensiveness”, Edina Mavrić Kovačević explained.



She added that, at workshops, they revised what was taught during the previous months within which some twenty or so people learned how to apply for a job vacancy, write a CV, and behave at a job interview.


Moreover, mentors also worked with them on psychological empowerment, self-knowledge, motivation, and self-confidence increase.


Within the  “Education to Employment” Programme, the Swiss Government earmarked 39 thousand francs to raise the employability level of 20 young Novi Pazar residents with developmental disabilities.


Text: Nikola Kočović     Editor: Sandra Vlatković

E2E story – Elderly helpers ready to help their fellow citizens

E2E story – Elderly helpers ready to help their fellow citizens

Pirot: Five young women who did not have any formal education at all or have finished primary school only are now trained for elderly helper and are ready to help their elderly fellow citizens. These five Roma women underwent the training within the “A Step to Employment” project aimed at increasing the employability of young people belonging to vulnerable population. Pirot Red Cross organisation joined the project this year.


Kristina Vasilov, an associate of Red Cross organisation in Pirot, explained that the training took place four months ago and that the duration of theoretical training was one month. For the other three months, the trainees learnt through on-the-job training.



“As for theoretical training, the trainees were really delighted with it. They found the things they learnt to be interesting and it will surely help them in their future work.  Curriculum included areas such as social welfare, primary care, recovery, first aid training. After they acquired those skills, they became self-confident”, Vasilov said.


They continued to learn through on-the-job training. Namely, each trainee accompanied a licensed elderly helper in the visits to the beneficiaries of the “Home Care Assistance”.


“They were there performing the tasks included in the job description of an elderly helper. I believe that the training was really beneficial for the trainees and that they have learnt a lot. They have completed the training successfully and they are ready to work“, Vasilov said.


Jasmina Demirović (37) was one of the trainees. She told us that her love for helping other people was what motivated her to apply to this training.



“The training meant a lot to me. At first I was a little bit afraid whether the beneficiaries will accept me or not. I am only too happy with how everything went and the thing that we were working with the beneficiaries. I hope that I will find a job. The cooperation with them was good. I helped them with their house chores”, Jasmina explained.

Licensed elderly helper Džani Zorćić (30) has been helping the elderly in this town through the Red Cross organisation since two years ago. Before he started, he had completed the same training that Jasmina underwent.


“We attended the training on helping those who need our help. Jasmina was learning really quickly. We had a coordinator from the Red Cross who helped us with the implementation of this project. We are helping the beneficiaries at their homes, particularly the elderly who live alone. We buy foodstuffs for them, get their medicines, and pay their bills. They particularly like the fact that we are spending time with them because they live alone”, Džani said.


Radmila Milenković (86) confirmed that she likes the most that they are spending time with her. She has been living on her own for nine years already and elderly helpers were assisting her all the time.


“They help me with everything. It means a world to me that they come three times a week and stay with me for two hours. Besides helping me, they talk with me and I am really happy when they come. I have been living alone for a long time. They maintain my household well”, Milenković said.


A very responsible job, the trainees are ready to work

Sanja Stanković, secretary of the Pirot Red Cross organisation said that the job of an elderly helper is a very serious job and requires continuous training.


“Each of our beneficiaries is specific. Elderly helpers need to be very responsible and serious when they do their job. These five girls proved to be really good during the training”, Sanja Stanković said.

“We also had different workshops on communication, primarily communication with the elderly, taking into account that this is a specific job. Considering that they have completed first aid training too, they know how to check vital signs of the beneficiaries of this service. They have fitted in really well”, Pirot Red Cross associate Kristina Vasilov said.


The beneficiaries of the “Home Care Assistance” service in Pirot are the elderly who are more than 65 old.


Text and photo: Zoran Panić Editor: Sandra Vlatković

E2E story – Advice worth its weight in gold

E2E story – Advice worth its weight in gold

Novi Pazar: Looking for a job, several dozen citizens of Novi Pazar turned to the Association of Psychologists to obtain advice and acquire knowledge and skills which will increase their chances to actually get a job. Newly-acquired knowledge may also make it easier for them to choose a career they want to pursue.


I.M.’s and A.M.’s stories are seemingly completely different, but two of them are connected by their desire to learn and work.


I.M. is a Roma man. He is a 34 years old single father who is not able to find a job. For several weeks already he has been visiting the Novi Pazar Association of Psychologists which, with the “Education to Employment – E2E” project, provides career counselling and guidance services to less employable groups.


“This means a lot to me. I have finished primary school only and that is why I did not have many opportunities to get a job. I worked for a while in “Gradska čistoća” and had a cleaner’s job in the Recreational Centre, but now I am jobless. I would be so happy if I manage to find a permanent job after this project is finished”, he said.


Besides Roma, the Association provides this service also to the members of marginalised groups, such as to young people with developmental disabilities, young people who are not in education, employment, or training, and young people without parental care who are leaving, or have recently left, their foster homes.


One of them is A.M. (23), a student of pedagogy who is, besides career counselling, also involved in psychological workshops.


She said for E2E that the workshops were very interesting and that she learnt many useful skills. She now knows how to write a CV, apply for a job, and how to be interviewed by the employer, but she has also learnt what is important in everyday life.


“I learnt to manage pressure and stress, how to deal with others, and how to communicate in an assertive manner. I believe that, through this programme, I managed to improve myself and I am sure that the knowledge I acquired will mean a lot to me in future, when I look for a job. I did not decide on my career yet, but I will certainly work with children, maybe as a nursery teacher”, this girl said.



“For young people to understand themselves and identify the opportunities they have”


Adnan Aljković from the Association of Psychologists underlines that the purpose of career counselling is to help young people reach a better understanding of their own needs and interests. Through the counselling they recognise their abilities and alleviate their career dilemmas developing awareness about new, different, prospects in their responding to career challenges.


“Counselling is organised in the form of individual sessions or group workshops in which we are talking with the trainees about their career goals and plans. Some of the topics we are addressing are: looking for a job, writing a CV, interviews, as well as challenges in studying and learning, motivational problems”, Aljković said.


He added that career counselling is intended for young people between 15 and 35 years old who belong to a less employable group exposed to the poverty risk.


The “Education to Employment – E2E” project includes the provision of career counselling services to 700 young people from Novi Pazar.


Journalist: Nikola Kočović / Edited by: Sandra Vlatković




Pirot: Marta Gagić (19) from Pirot got a job after she completed her training


Several Roma women from Pirot who attended training for gardeners, pastry chefs, elderly helpers, and beauticians within the ‘’Education to Employment’’ project, found a job after they successfully completed the training. They are happy the certificates they obtained in this way greased their wheels on their journey to reach the employer.

Nineteen years old Marta Gagić was one of the 23 trainees within this programme.  She had finished primary school only, but then she completed a bakery course in “Abakus’’ Bakery, and, within the ‘’Education to Employment’’ project, she successfully attended the training for pastry chefs in ‘’Rafaelo’’ Pastry Shop in Pirot.


A month ago, Marta started working in a Pirot private company which prepares ready meals.  There she practically applies her acquired knowledge.

“I am very happy with it”, Marta said, smiling while she was hastily preparing the fish for baking.



She said that her training for two vocational profiles was very interesting and that she learnt a lot.


“We made all different kinds of cakes within the training…  The duration of training in ‘Rafaelo’ Pastry Shop was six months but now I am able to do everything on my own. I have successfully completed the training and that knowledge is very useful for me in this job”, Marta said happily.

She added that her employment in this company in which she is preparing ready meals turned a completely new page in her life.


“I never thought I would get this job, but I am very happy I am able to work and that I have the opportunity to apply everything that I learnt”, Marta said.

She said that she knows very well that, were it not for the “Education to Employment” project, she would not even thought of attending any course, nor would she have been able to hope for any job whatsoever, considering that she did not have any skills.



The “Ternipe” Association, which was a partner in training the Roma women in Pirot, helped me enter this project. I am particularly thankful to Radmila Nešić, the President of this Association, who encouraged us and buoyed us up to start the training. Were it not for her, I would not be here today.


“Here we are preparing beans, casseroles, rolled cabbage, stuffed peppers; we bake trout and prepare many other dishes,” Marta said and added that her son is another reason she is happy about this job. She hopes that she will establish permanent employment soon.


Ankica Drinić from this Company is very satisfied with Marta Gagić’s performance.


“She is very responsible, hardworking, and industrious, and I am only too happy with her performance. She is brilliant and she fitted in nicely.  I don’t know how much these courses helped, but I can see that she is a fast learner and that she is diligent”, she said.


Text and photo:  Zoran Panić     Edited by: Sandra Vlatković



Pirot:  “Ternipe“ citizens’ association from Pirot is preparing itself very seriously for the continuation of “Employees Tailored to Suit Your Business“ project.


“Ternipe“ Citizens’ Association from Pirot, in partnership with “Osveženje“ Association and ZIP Youth Centre, took part in the “Education to Employment“ programme which is intended to increase the employability of young people who belong to vulnerable population groups, with a special focus on Roma population.


Within the “A Step to Employment” project, 23 Roma women from Pirot attended the training for the profiles of gardener, pastry chef, beautician, and elderly helper.


Radmila Nešić, President of “Ternipe“ association, underlined that it is very important that the effect of training is visible immediately after the project is completed; for this reason, the Association is very happy to be a part of this large project.


“Roma women who participated in the project are very satisfied; they underwent training for different jobs and obtained relevant certificates. One of the trainees got a job as a gardener in PUC “Komunalac”, Radmila Nešić underlined.



Another trainee, who completed the training for pastry chefs, got a job in a kitchen through the HELP project.


“Were she not in the training under the ‘Education to Employment’ programme, and did she not get a certificate, she surely would not have been able to get a job. She established employment for a time period of nine months and the knowledge she acquired means a lot to her”, the President of “Ternipe” Association said.


She added that, besides by these two trainees, the acquired knowledge is already applied by further two Roma women who underwent the training for pastry chefs.


“They too will, assisted by HELP, start their own business and practically apply the knowledge they acquired”,  Radmila Nešić said.


According to what she said, this Association is very seriously preparing for the continuation of the project.


“Every day we receive many queries from Roma men and women about the continuation of the project, the profiles for which training will be organised. The interest is huge. Of course, all those information with regard to the public call for employers they already have in the Job Info Centre. Employers apply and we are carefully overseeing everything”, Nešić said.


The Association is developing a database about young Roma in the town, to record and update the data about Roma men and women between 17 and 35 years old, their educational degree, qualification level, social status, competences, and interest for a job and further training. This database will be available to the Pirot Office of the National Employment Service, the Job Centre, the employers, and to all those who can provide for the employment of this population.


“Older people were coming to us since the very beginning of this project implementation. These records are very important for us considering that we would have the data about Roma population, their educational structure, job opportunities. We help young unemployed Roma to look for vacancies and write a CV”, Radmila Nešić said.


She also said that, immediately after the training within the “A Step to Employment” project was finished, they talked with the employers in public enterprises who need new staff.


“We are happy that some of Roma women managed to find a job. That is good for all the trainees, but also for the companies and institutions which need new workers”, President of “Ternipe” Association added.


“A Step to Employment“ project within the “Education to Employment“ programme was implemented by “Ternipe“ Citizens’ Association with “Osveženje“ Association and the Job info Centre, and with the support of Serbian Government. The programme resulted from the cooperation between Serbian and Swiss Governments.


Awaiting the results of the new call

“Now ongoing is the ‘Employees Tailored to Suit your Business’ public call for the continuation of the “Education to Employment” project. We expect that at least twenty members of Roma national minority will be involved and that employers will offer different vocational profiles. This is very important for acquiring skills and knowledge, considering that previous experiences shows that this is something that will mean a lot to Roma women most of whom have finished primary school only”,   Radmila Nešić said.


Text and photo:  Zoran Panić, Edited by:  Sandra Vlatković