On Tuesday, July 28, Phiren Amenca volunteers were invited to participate in “Dilemma Café”, an event for participants of the Prejudice Genocide and Remembrance Summer School organized by the Tom Lantos Institute . Participants in the summer school were civil servants, educators, activists, journalists, and members of religious groups from across Europe and the Americas, working in fields that face Human Rights issues. For this particular event, four Budapest-based organizations that focus on Anti-Gypsyism and Anti-Semitism were invited to introduce their work and present a dilemma that they face in carrying out that work. In groups, the participants then had a chance to discuss the dilemma and how to address it, drawing from their own experiences in the field and the theories and practices they had already learned about in the summer school.
The dilemma that Phiren Amenca raised was how to give young Roma with less opportunities (who do not have higher education, do not speak English, etc) equal access to volunteering opportunities. It was a very open and informal atmosphere, and the discussion flowed easily. The participants gave a lot of input and raised great questions, not only about the issue at hand, but also practical matters like how to establish a relationship with Phiren Amenca in their own countries and inquiries about the personal experiences of our volunteers. In general, suggestions were made to make lasting connections with individual communities through former volunteers. They could share their experiences to encourage others to participate and reassure the community of the benefits and safety of the program.
All in all, this was a great experience for our volunteers. It was not only an opportunity to exchange ideas and get new and different perspectives on issues we face, but also to raise the visibility of Phiren Amenca, develop new contacts, and learn about other work going on in the field of Human Rights.