Tens of Roma families are living in the object of the Old Slaughterhouse in the downhill of Isar in Shtip for already five years.
Located in the downhill of Isar, near the river Bregalnica, far from the eyesight and thoughts of citizens, the local and central government lies the object Old Slaughterhouse in Shtip. Object full of history. Full with not fully discovered archeological treasures, with the aura of a totally different time forgotten by the present. The Old Slaughterhouse has also been a home for around ten Roma families for more than five years.
While a few children are running and blithely playing, older members of the families are trying to fix the holes in the walls, doors and windows, because of which they cannot properly warm their homes. That is the image you will encounter at this time of the year if you happen to go near the Old Slaughterhouse. Together with the smell which devastatingly reminds of the not so far past of the object.
And it immediately becomes clear how difficult are the stories in this object full with paradoxes. Starting with the death of an almost two year old child, who tragically died in the river Bregalnica which passes right near the object Old Slaughterhouse, up to everyday life and stories of families who live isolated from the system for generations.
And the paradoxes following these families cannot stay unnoticed, they immured in the object of Old Slaughterhouse together with them.
One of them is the unwillingness by the authorities to help these families to integrate in the system, although they are the greatest part of the users of state benefits and by the some kind of a burden for the country.
Together with poverty another problem is discrimination
It is incomprehensible how the authorities didn’t manage to help to even one generation of these families to get proper education, to get employed, to provide better life for future generations. To stop the row and to change history for better at least for those few little children who are still playing blithely.
“I have five children. I cannot enroll them in school because we have no money for clothes, nor for books and notebooks, and nor for food. I’m 40 years old and I don’t have even a day of service. People at my age have 20 years of service behind them. I want to work. I am ready to work. I am physically healthy and ready for work. But I need help form the authorities to find work. Nobody is trying to help in employment. Discrimination still exists. Would several people who lived here have ended in prison for larceny if they had any other way to earn for living?! Would any of them have risked if they had any other choice?! They say pay the electricity and other bills regularly… and hardly any of them tries to understand in which position we are and in what kind of conditions we live’, asks Zija H., who lives with his family in the object Old Slaughterhouse for five years.
Satellite dishes on seeming homes
The story of Zija H. is similar with the destiny of the greater part of the Roma families that live in the object Old Slaughterhouse. Among them there are those who are “subject” of work for the social services for more than three generations, but there is still no solution for the desperate socio-economic condition in which they live.
“During the winter it is too cold to stay here, because there are no windows, so we move to another house in the center of the town so that we can get warm. We don’t even have water. There is electricity, but it is often disconnected. We constantly ask when we are going to be moved to a better location, because not only that there are no conditions here, but it is also very dangerous for the children because of the river. However we don’t get any answer”, says Malike A. rezident of the Old Slaughterhouse.
On the one hand having a lot of children as part of the tradition is a joy. On the other hand it is an additional problem for these citizens because of the need to provide basic means for food, hygiene, education… because of what a lot of the children end up in a poorhouse around the country, and rarely in prison.
Among the paradoxes which mark this old, spent object are of course several satellite dishes as the contrary of the extremely bad conditions in which these ten Roma families live!
Hope for a better life is not lacking in the Old Slaughterhouse for Zija, Malike and the others.
Together with around ten families from the Old Slaughterhouse there are around 80 families who live in so called state houses in which there are no conditions for life. The greatest part of them if not all are hopping that they could apply for a social apartment.
According to information from the Ministry of transport and relations in Shtip there are 91 social apartments built and soon an advert is expected.
(This story by the newspaper team of magazine EDNO was supported by motivator Demirsha Osmanov form Shtip)
There is an improvised settlement in Prilep named “Tri bagremi”. There Roma families live in very miserable conditions. We spoke to the Center for Social Affairs in Prilep to ask them what they are doing to help these people. But they replied in order for us to get an answer we would have to send a written quest.
Family Ibraimovikj counts six members (parents and four children). They all live in one room, in which they don’t even have the basic housing means. This family uses plastics and sometimes trees for fueling. In inconvenient weather conditions they complain on water leakage, so because of that they use different means to protect themselves – paper boards, pots etc. The children are at age one, three, seven and nine. The nine year old child was born with hearing disorder, entirely deaf and with undeveloped speaking. He is not going to school, escapes from home often and that’s why his mom sometimes locks him up. This child often wanders around the streets. I have found out from his mother that he went to the school for children with hearing and speaking disorder in Kisela Voda municipality, financed by SOS Children’s village, but now since the support is being cut off he is staying at home. Only the 7 year old child goes in first grade in Dane Krapcev School. He goes to school regularly. His parents don’t have Identification Cards. The place where the family lives is not legally built. There is no drainage, nor asphaltic road.
Family Sadikovikj stayed without a roof over their heads this winter. Najazi Sadikovikj and his wife live with their married son and a nephew given to them by the Ministry for Labor and Social Policy in Kumanovo ten years ago. Their house has very old construction so because of the melting of the snow the roof rebated and water entered their home. Bigger part of the roof was demolished. Najazi asked for help from the Directorate for Protection and saving where he was said that is not in their competence. He asked for help in the Ministry for Labor and Social Policy but he received a negative answer again.
(Information from the other cities were provided by motivators Sara Sejfula from Skopje, Marjan Asanovski from Kumanovo and Nurija Dervishovski from Prilep)