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Improving access for Roma communities to employment opportunities in the hospitality industry

Duration: 1 January 2023 – 31 August 2024 

Country:Hungary, Serbia 

What is this programme about?

This programme aims to increase opportunities and support for Roma community members seeking to find employment in the hospitality industry in Hungary and Serbia. To achieve this, we will raise awareness of hospitality careers; provide training and opportunities; and support participants into roles, internships or formal training schemes within the industry. 

Our activities will focus on improving the confidence of Roma applicants which may impact the job opportunities they choose to pursue and increasing awareness of careers in the hospitality industry among Roma community members. We will build skills and knowledge on self-confidence, interviews and roles in the hospitality industry. We will also create opportunities to continue involvement with hospitality businesses through internships and stipends. Long-term, these efforts will contribute to the creation of a better relationship between Roma communities and the hospitality industry, which, in turn, will ensure a more equal access to the job market for Roma. 

Why are we delivering this programme?

Both Hungary and Serbia have a significant Roma population. They generally face barriers in accessing employment opportunities, frequently in recruitment procedures. When it comes to the job market, applicants from Roma communities can suffer from low confidence and low self-esteem. This can impact the job opportunities they choose to pursue, even without considering the impact of discrimination in employment.  

What are we doing?

  • Organizing awareness meetings with local Roma communities to present the programme, make them aware of opportunities in the hospitality industry and encourage them to join the training sessions.
  • Identifying Roma community members specifically interested in improving their skills to enter the hospitality industry, as well as those generally interested in becoming more confident and knowledgeable about hiring processes.
  • Building relationships with businesses to secure training spaces, volunteers to host sessions and internships and other opportunities for participants further into the programme.
  • Developing and distributing training materials based on information gained from consultation with communities and businesses, including a training manual about the different opportunities available in the hospitality industry.
  • Organizing training groups for 90 participants to undertake a self-led study using the training materials that have been developed, participate in online sessions and receive face-to-face training opportunities. 
  • Holding webinars to ensure that any queries or thoughts from participants can be addressed verbally and interactively as well as in writing.
  • Organizing additional in-person training sessions at the community level in rural locations and venues connected to the hospitality industry.
  • Awarding 24 successful candidates an internship opportunity, with a scholarship to cover related costs. 
  • Awarding 18 stipends to support successful candidates to find employment in the hospitality industry. 

Who are our partners?

Phiren Amenca is a network of Roma and non-Roma volunteers and voluntary service organizations working to create opportunities for non-formal education, dialogue and engagement, in order to challenge stereotypes and racism. 

Praxis is a national non-governmental organisation established in 2004 in Belgrade to protect human rights by providing legal protection and advocating for the elimination of systemic obstacles to access to rights. 

Who is funding this programme?

The Hilton Global Foundation and the Conrad N. Hilton Foundation fund this programme.

Find out more

Similar programmes focusing on Roma are being implemented in Slovakia and Slovenia by MRGE and its local partners: Promoting Roma Equality in Slovenia and Slovakia (PRESS) alongside Poradna and EPEKA Association, and in Slovakia and Bulgaria with Countering Online Antigypsyism and Cyberhate (COACH) alongside Amalipe and the Human Rights Institute. We have also recently completed Roma Equality through Increased Legal Access (REILA) alongside Praxis and Idetartozunk Egyesület in Hungary and Serbia and Equality for Roma through Enhanced Legal Access (ERELA) alongside Amalipe and the Information Legal Center in Bulgaria and Croatia. 

MRG has carried out similar programmes which have focused on the human rights of Roma in North Macedonia, Central Europe, Ukraine and Türkiye.

A Roma pedagogical assistant and Praxis staff preparing a workshop on discrimination for students at a school in Kragujevac, Serbia. Courtesy of Andrea Spitalszky/MRG.