On the occasion of International Roma Day, the ternYpe International Roma youth Network and the Phiren Amenca International Network would like to present the best five Roma Youth Projects 2020!
By the deadline in the end of January the international award committee of five received over 40 project descriptions from 19 countries by 33 NGOs and several informal groups from which they have selected the five which they considered the best at promoting Roma youth participation, self-organization and dialogue between Roma and non-Roma; creating space for Roma youth to become active citizens; or fostering their positive identity.
The winner of the Award will be kept a secret until the Ceremony can be held. Here you can read about the best five in alphabetical order:
Ani’s English Lessons
Ani Kovacheva is a 16-year old Bulgarian teenage girl from Roma origin. „I was raised being told that the volunteer work and helping are the most amazing things on Earth. That is why, growing up I realised that I should share my knowledge and experience with others.” Two years ago she started teaching English to children between the age of 7 and 13 once a week. When she started giving classes to eight children from the neighbourhood, it was only English, but later they included other activities, such as reading fairy tales, playing games, or singing songs. Students became more and more enthusiastic; they are always looking forward to the next lesson. Ani’s lessons reached 22 children in total, with currently 9 students who take part weekly. „Throughout my teaching, I encourage [the children] to think, to read more and learn about the world we build together, by our own actions, day after day.”
Here’s a short video she made: https://www.facebook.com/ani.kovacheva.16/posts/2611508995745729
Dikhen Amen! See Us!
“Dikhen amen! See us!!” was running between April 2015 and December 2019 by Amaro Drom with the main goal to train young German Sinti*zze and Rom*nja as workshop teamers and role-models for other young people. As part of their training, the young people learned methods for empowering young Rom*nja and Sinti*zze and raising awareness about racism. At the end of the training, the young women were able to hold workshops themselves for young people in youth clubs, youth self-organizations and associations and educational institutions. Their project also supported the strengthening of the self-confidence, self-organization and social participation of the young people to make their different realities visible. The project also entailed regular, nationwide youth meetings and nationwide Federal Youth Conferences in various federal states where participants discussed their goals and visions for a society based on solidarity, and networked in order to come closer to this vision together.
Opre Roma! Listen to Be Heard!
The project’s idea came from the realization that the knowledge of Roma youngsters of their heritage and culture is often incomplete, but also because some Roma youth activists feel thet certain aspects of Romani traditions run contrary to the respect of human rights, young Roma are no longer sure of their own identity. At the same time young people don’t have the ability to raise their voice and speak up about their interests neither in the macro-society, nor in their local communities. “OpreRoma! Listen to be heard ” started in 2019 and wants to support young Roma in their activism and the protection of their rights in Ukraine. Within the project, the young Roma leaders of the Youth Agency for the Advocacy of Roma Culture (ARCA) have worked with young people in three-day training workshops in three cities (Kremenchug, Kherson, Kiev), and they plan on going in other regions in 2020. These thematic workshops revealed the background and essence of discrimination both externally and within the community; addressed issues of identity; genocide and historical memory; gender equality; transformation of traditions in the modern world; challenges and opportunities for Roma youth etc. As a result participants took the firsts steps towards the creation of a National Roma Youth Council.
Get a short insight into ARCA’s work here: https://www.facebook.com/565774157105648/videos/991326334587282
Roma LGBTQI+ Forum
The stigmatization of young women, people with disabilities and Roma people who belong to the LGBTQI+ community is becoming stronger, making it harder for them to exist as minorities within one or more minority groups.The Diverse Youth Network organized a first of its kind Roma LGBTQI+ Forum between May 31 and June 2, 2019 in Pécs, Hungary, with the participation of 21 young Roma and non-Roma activists. The aim of the forum was to share updates on the workflow of the Roma LGBTQI+ movement; map the experiences of the participants, individual and organizational initiatives, good practices in the areas of human rights education and advocacy; and to create a common mission and vision. The main outcome of the meeting was a strategy that outlines the working flow of the group and its potentials in the international arena. The planned activities include the Pécs Pride 2020 event, which is foreseen in this May, integrated into a flagship Festival (Freedom of My Identity). The forum was the first opportunity for many for freely living their true identities among a circle of peers that identify with the same issues. Since the event the organization has continued its work establishing the LGBTQI+ working group of the Diverse Youth Network consisting of 13 Roma young people both from the non- and LGBTQI+ communities.
Youth for Youth
The Youth for Youth project was implemented between August, 2018 and October, 2019 in six municipalities by the Montenegrin Roma youth organization Walk with us – Phiren Amenca. The project benefited young people from Roma communities through the development of their skills necessary for their participation in social and economic aspects of society: public debates, and discussions with authorities in order to actively contribute to the development of Roma communities and Montenegro as a whole. Key contributions of the projects include 20 new young Roma and non-Roma leaders trained for public advocacy with skills to act on burning community problems, and design advocacy plans for influencing decision-makers on local and national level. Other crucial contributions include a research about the state-of-the-art of Roma communities economically, socially and politically. During the advocacy training and workshops 20 prevalent issues were identified, and action-plans were created and implemented for 6 of them, such as the asphalting the main road in Sokolana, the Roma settlement in Bar or a training against bullying in Herceg Novi. The project reached 20 young people directly and more than 1000 were informed about it, while 20 organizations and institutions were involved. Six events and conferences were organized, and two Advocacy documents were drafted. One new mechanism for the involvement of youth was established, as well as a partnership with other NGOs in the region.
They made a short video about the project: