8.9 Enhancing social inclusion through culture
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Fostering equality is one of the main aims of National Strategy for Development of Culture 2018-2022- Национална стратегија за развој на културата во Република Македонија 2018-2022 . The Strategy underlines the guaranteed right to esthetic, artistic and cultural diversity that should be implemented with the inclusion of marginalized groups and people with special needs in order to avoid social discrimination in culture.
In order for this right to be realized, it’s important to develop technical and programming conditions for equal inclusion of all people in the cultural life. Public, national and specialized institutions are encouraged to employ people with special needs. The country will develop mechanisms for providing access to cultural content for all citizens, no matter their social status.
The National Union of the Blind of the Republic of North Macedonia (Национален сојуз на слепите на Република Северна Македонија) was founded in 1946 under the name of the Union of the Blind of the Republic of North Macedonia and, as of today, it acts as a national, non-governmental, non-partisan, non-profit and humanitarian organization of particular social significance in the country. On its website, the National Union of the Blind has published a number of audio books from Macedonian and foreign authors in order to bring literary work closer to the blind. The financing of the current activities and program tasks of the Union is carried out by the Ministry of Labor and Social Policy of the Republic of North Macedonia.
The International Drama Festival for persons with and without disabilities "Games without a mask" (Игри без маски)- a theater without discrimination has been organized in North Macedonia for the past 7 years. The festival is one of its kind in the Balkans and has the aim to offer people with special needs a way to express creatively. In 2019 the festival was opened by the president of North Macedonia H.E. Stevo Pendarovski. Due to the pandemic with coronavirus, the festival was not organized in 2020 and 2021.
Occasionally, other events are organized in order to promote the rights of (young) people with atypical development, to encourage them and to foster their creativity. In the past, there were also other projects financed by our governmental institutions, like the project “Inclusive and creative” which was implemented in 2015 with the aim to create better conditions for development of socially inclusive entrepreneurship and creativity through active participation of users of Centers for the physically and mentally disabled. The project was financed by the Ministry for Culture and Ministry of Labor and Social Policy.
The “multiculturalism, interculturalism and inclusiveness in the active participation of young people” is one of the fundamental principles of the Law on Youth Participation and Youth Policies (Закон за младинско учество и младински политики) adopted in January 2020.
In 2010 the country adopted The National Strategy for Elevation of Poverty and Social Exclusion in Republic of Macedonia 2010-2020. The Ministry of Labor and Social Policy is the institution in charge of its implementation. The Strategy foresees a creation of quality approach towards the possibilities provided by the institutions, including cultural opportunities.
North Macedonia is a multiethnic country and its Constitution guarantees the rights of all communities living in the country. In 2001 was concluded The Ohrid Framework Agreement which foresees complete respect of the principle of non-discrimination and equal treatment in front of the law of all people. In terms of culture, it suggests further development of media to increase programmes for ethnic minorities.
In 2014 was adopted the The Strategy for Roma people in Macedonia 2014-2020. It foresees actions for development and promotion of Roma culture, language and tradition. It suggests measures for preservation and development of Roma culture through cultural events and initiatives. A new Strategy will be adopted in 2022.
In December 2018, on the initiative of the students from the school SABA in Skopje, a daily center for education, entertainment and socialization for students with atypical development from the primary and secondary schools from Skopje was opened. The project won the UPSHIFT Social Entrepreneurship Call, organized by CEED Hub Skopje, supported by the Fund for Innovation and Technological Development and UNICEF. The Center leads the students from the school together with their mentor and special educator, and work 2 times a week in the afternoon and allow a large number of children with special needs to come and through various games and methods of informal education to get to know each other, to socialize and learn new things from everyday life.