A Little Cash Goes a Long Way for Macedonian Students

July 15, 2015


Read what a big difference a little bit of cash is making in the lives of some Macedonian high school students.

16-year-old Ilbija Sadiki is a third year student at a public vocational school in Skopje, the capital of the Former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia.

His family is low-income, so having a bit of extra cash to support him in his studies is a big help, he says.

“I spend the cash transfers on school items and school supplies. I also use it for school excursions,” says Sadiki.

The conditional cash transfers to Sadiki and other students like him are part of a wider social assistance program in FYR Macedonia, where public education is free, but the related costs - such as school supplies - mean that some teenagers end up not going. 

“Those on social assistance are unemployed people, and they do not have any resources, so this is an incentive for their children to go to school and further their education,” says Sonja Arsovska, a social worker in Skopje, who locates and registers eligible families for the Conditional Cash Transfer Project


" When I finish school, I would like to find a job in a factory where I can work with computerized numerical control machines. "

Ilbija Sadiki

high school student, Skopje

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Backed with the cash transfers, thousands of students from low-income families around the country are able to better learn now what they will need to find a good job later. Here, Ilbija Sadiki at a practice class in Skopje.

Photos: The World Bank/Anita Bozinovska

Under a safeguard component of the project, social assistance centers are directly linked with schools through a computerized data system, to ensure that the students who are receiving the aid are enrolled in schools, and attending class regularly. 

“As we are connected to all the high schools, we can follow how often the student is in school, and if we see there is a problem and a student is missing class, we call him and his parents, and see what the problem is,” Arsovska says.

Approximately 7,500 students aged 15 to19 – whose parents receive social assistance - now benefit from the cash transfer project, which is supported with funds from the World Bank.


" Those on social assistance are unemployed people, without any resources, so this is an incentive for their children to go to school and further their education. "

Sonja Arsovska

social worker, Skopje

Image

A little extra cash provides the students with what they need to further their education and to succeed - without further financially burdening their unemployed parents. On this photo, mother of young Bejnur at their family house.


Sadiki says that, backed with the cash transfers, he’s able to better learn now what he’ll need to find a good job later.

"When I finish school, I would like to find a job in a factory where I can work with computerized numerical control machines,” he says.

17-year-old high school student Bejnur Suma also receives cash through the project.  She says the extra cash is helping her realize her dream of becoming an economist one day.

“It is helpful for me and my family because the money I spend is for me; for school, or for books or for pencils or for clothes or for food, and it’s very helpful,” she says.

Bejnur adds that with the help of the cash transfers - and lots of studying - she has everything she needs to succeed - without further financially burdening her unemployed parents!



7,500
students from low-income families around the country aged 15 to19 benefit from the cash transfer project
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