BAIR – Bitola’s joint Action for the Inclusion of Roma

The BAIR project was born with the aim of promoting the socio-economic inclusion of the Roma communities living in Bitola, in North Macedonia. The project takes its name from the Bair neighborhood, where about 95% of Bitola’s Roma population is located, according to the study published in July 2019 by AECOM International Development Europe. The main needs of the Roma community are linked to the lack of adequate housing conditions, poor access to socio-educational and health services, a low employment rate, and a general condition of social exclusion.

The project was developed by COSV together with the partners PREDA Plus and the Municipality of Bitola, supported by the Public Authority for Urban Planning, Design, and Engineering, and will capitalize on the historical work carried out by COSV in the region with the Roma communities.

BAIR works on three different objectives:
– increase the capacities and opportunities for integration of the target Roma communities in the Bitola society
– improve the living conditions of the Roma community in the renovated settlements of Bitola
– promote access to the Roma community to health, socio-educational, and employment services for the target Roma community of Bitola

The project will see the creation of a BAIR Community HUB and a BAIR Supporting Team, which will work to be at the service of the Roma community and to facilitate their access to the social and political life of Bitola, through a set of sporting and cultural initiatives to promote Roma culture. Furthermore, the project will intervene through a series of urban and infrastructural interventions, combined with improvements in the housing conditions of the families involved, which will promote a process of urban regeneration of the entire neighborhood. Finally, through the establishment of one-stop shops for public services, the target communities have at their disposal channels and tools adapted to their needs to access the opportunities provided by local institutions.