Phiren Amenca

Call for Applications: John Stringham Prize 2014

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Application Deadline Sunday, March 2, 2014 [hr]

The John Stringham Prize gives recognition to initiatives of current and former volunteers that aim to develop active dialogue and engagement in society to strengthen trust, mutual understanding and respect between Roma and non-Roma. The prize aims to promote the best self-organized youth initiatives, and their results as positive models.

The John Stringham Prize of Phiren Amenca will award an initiative of former and/or current volunteers that challenges stereotypes, antigypsyism and racism. The Prize, which is named after the founder of the Phiren Amenca / RGDTS (Roma-Gadje Dialogue Through Service) Initiative John Stringham (1946-2011), is dedicated to encourage the self-organized initiatives of Roma and non-Roma volunteers and young people. Following the mission of the Phiren Amenca network, the prize gives recognition to initiatives that aim to develop active dialogue and engagement in society to strengthen trust, mutual understanding and respect between Roma and non-Roma. We believe that volunteering is a powerful tool for social change, as volunteers dedicate their time and energy to contribute to society.

The Prize

The Prize will include a financial reward (first prize: 200 EUR, second prize: 100 EUR) which shall help the realization of the initiative. The award shall give visibility to the engagement and the initiatives of volunteers to work for social change.

The John Stringham Prize is going to be awarded in Budapest, 7 pm, on March 21st 2014 (Friday) as a closing event of the Phiren Amenca international seminar, and connected to the “Platform of former volunteers”, and the Phiren Amenca Networking Meeting.

Who can apply?

  • Former volunteers, current volunteers
  • Participants of the Phiren Amenca seminars

How to apply?

If your project was developed during your voluntary project and you think it still can be relevant for the others or if you just started to develop your idea that can inspire others, send us a short description and/or report about it (not longer than 1 page, Word or PDF format, attach pictures) to the Phiren Amenca Coordination Team at [email protected]

Application deadline:

Sunday, March 2, 2014

About John Stringham

John David Stringham (1946-2011) was the key leading person who had the vision and dedicated over 10 years of his life to establish the RGDTS Initiative. John Stringham has been a volunteer himself for two years in India and he could always contribute with this personal experience to the development of the initiative, which has become the Phiren Amenca International Network.

About the development of the Phiren Amenca – RGDTS Initiative

Phiren Amenca started as the RGDTS (Roma-Gadje Dialouge through Service) Initiative which was established in September 2000, when five organizations involved in the Ecumenical Diaconal Year Network (EDYN) began placing young adult volunteers in projects with Roma minorities in the Transcarpathian region of Ukraine. Over the next 3 years, Roma and non-Roma volunteers from Central & Eastern Europe, Western Europe, and North America served in projects including kindergartens and preschools. They were funded by church-related donor organizations and by the volunteers themselves.

In 2003, the first European Voluntary Service (EVS) approved project of RGDTS was established in Hungary. In that year the first bi-annual seminar supporting RGDTS volunteers was held. The initiative expanded to include volunteers from Romania hosted in a placement in Italy.

In 2004, new partner organizations from Germany joined the initiative, and placement sites were expanded to include the Czech Republic, Romania, Slovakia, Russia, and the Netherlands.

In 2005, volunteers served in a variety of placements in Czech Republic, Germany, Hungary, Romania, Russia, Ukraine, and USA. Partner organizations worked intensively during the year to prepare two central applications to the European Commission; Youth in Action programme to expand the initiative both in numbers of volunteers and range of activities. This was approved in July 2006.

From 2007 to 2009, another EVS central grant funded further placements. 18 organisations in 11 countries were involved. During this period short-term volunteering placements were included, especially in Italy, France and Wales.

In May 2009, RGDTS was recognized as one of seven Ambassadors for Democracy and Tolerance by the Alliance for Democracy and Tolerance, a campaign sponsored by the German federal government. In March 2010 RGDTS was one of 21 EU-funded projects selected to be displayed at the conference: “European Union Projects in favour of the Roma Community” held in Brussels.

From 2000 to 2010, RGDTS existed as a network without a legal form of its own. In the fall of 2010 RGDTS was legally organized in Hungary as “RGDTS Non-profit Kft. for Public Benefit” with the coordination office located in Budapest.

In 2011 the RGDTS Initiative changed the name to Phiren Amenca, and was registered in 2012 as an international association based in Hungary. The membership includes various former RGDTS member organizations, as well as new Roma and non-Roma voluntary service organizations.

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

The 10+ year history of the Phiren Amenca – RGDTS initiative featured support, energy and dedication from a wide variety of organizations from across the world, reflecting a common motivation to support social change through voluntary service.