28 May 2018

Our visit to Skopje was amazing! An intense experience full of contrast, colour and solidarity. In the morning session, we parked our bus next to the market at Shutka, the biggest Roma municipality in Europe. The market was very crowded, and it did not take long before our bus and campaign team were surrounded by people, asking us who we are, what we were doing there… Together with the colleagues of the Macedonian anti-poverty network, we listened to the impressive stories of the people living in this Municipality, and we shared our ideas on how decent MIS could make a difference, for their lives, and for our societies. Facebook

It was quite impressive how the people there -despite the very difficult living conditions- welcomed us with a smile, joy and happiness. Everyday, we learn so much on this trip!

In the afternoon, we had an event on the central square of Macedonia. The bus was parked in the shadow of an enormous statue of Alexander the Great. The Macedonian network expected some media attention, but the 5 (!) biggest tv channels and many other journalists present, exceeded our expectations.

We had an open discussion with activists associated with the EMIN campaign in Macedonia who were representatives of: Journalists for human rights organization, Humanost – an organisation providing care services for elderly people, Youth Educational Forum and MISLA – an organisation working on mental health, JUSTICIA – an organisation working on access to human rights and fighting corruption and last but not least AMBRELA – an organisation fighting for the inclusion and access to basic rights for the Roma Community in Macedonia.  We arrived at an exciting moment in Macedonia. The government has agreed to introduce minimum income as a part of new social protection legislation. The details of this have not yet been finalized but participants felt hopeful. We discussed the Macedonian participants’ aspirations in the context of experiences from other European countries. We were impressed by their experience, expertise and drive, meeting on a really sunny (30°!) Saturday afternoon, during a holiday weekend, to exchange with us and each other for hours.