Roma Spirit 2015
The Big Day is already behind us. In the past few weeks we worked very intensively on final preparations for the Roma Spirit Award Ceremony and European Roma Spirit Award Forum. The Roma Spirit Award project was implemented by the Association for Culture, Education and Communication (ACEC) for the first time in 2009, to recognize efforts of persons and organizations in strengthening social inclusion and integration of the Roma community.
The award giving ceremony was truly breathtaking – full of wonderful music and dancing. It was really rewarding to see how our hard work turned into this fantastic event. I was touched by the great work and incredible dedication of the nominees in all six categories. All of them deserved recognition, and it is extremely important that Roma Spirit creates the opportunity to raise these positive examples into the public awareness.
I am pleased to introduce you our six rewarded nominees!
Category Media: Roma Internet Television – “Gipsy Television”
“Gypsy Television” was nominated for the Roma Spirit Award and recognized by the jury for reporting activities that spread a positive message about the Roma community. The mission of “Gypsy Television” is to show Roma from a different perspective and share the positive examples which are not visible in the mainstream media.
“Gipsy Television” filmed for CNN a part of reportage about Roma communities in Slovakia. Gipsy Television’s news and programs are also often broadcasted by Slovak regional media.
Category NGO: Equity
Equity was rewarded for the implementation of the summer adventure camp for Roma and non-Roma children. Equity brings to the camp children who grow up in completely different conditions, to create opportunity for their direct contact. Equity’s mission is based on the assumption that many problems in society are due to misunderstanding and fear of the unknown. Through the summer camps, Equity bridges inhabitants of Roma settlements with representatives of the mainstream society, building mutual respect and friendship and eliminating prejudice among children and parents on both sides.
Category Municipality/Town: Vtackovce Municipality
Vtáčkovce Municipality was recognized for improving the quality of life of the local Roma community by construction of a public water supply system, roads, reconstruction of public lighting, help with legalizing houses and direct support through the work of social workers and health mediators.
Category Company/Business/Employer: Elementary School Muranska Dlha Luka
Elementary School Muranska Dlha Luka was nominated for a Roma Spirit Award for building an open school environment for children from both the majority population and the local Roma settlement. The atmosphere in the school enables every child to acquire adequate education and experience success regardless of where and how they start.
Category Personality: Marie Olahova
Marie received the prize for long-term work with the Roma children and women. Marie began to work with Roma youth over 26 years ago, when she first organized a Roma traditional music and dance group. After some time, Marie established an informal kindergarten which prepared children to enter the formal pre-school education. In 2006, Marie started establishing the motherhood centers to boost the confidence of Roma mothers, to break their stereotypes and inspire them for further education. Thanks to Marie’s help, four women have graduated from the University so far and even more have completed their high school education.
The special prize for Act of the year went to two young men who saved the lives of two people by pulling them out of their sinking car and providing first aid.
I would like to express my deepest and most sincere congratulations to all the nominees and the entire ACEC team for driving the Roma Spirit project for the past seven years. Being a part of it was an unforgettable experience!
Due to its outstanding results and positive national and international perception, ACEC is aiming to implement Roma Spirit Project at a European level. During the European Roma Spirit Award (ERSA) Forum, following Roma Spirit Gala Evening, representatives of the government and NGOs from multiple European countries were introduced to this concept. It is a great start and I keep my fingers crossed for the successful implementation of Roma Spirit initiative on the European level!
Representatives of NGOs and government from Bulgaria, Romania, Czech Republic, Macedonia, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Hungary and Slovakia joined us for the European Roma Spirit Award Forum, to discuss implementation of Roma Spirit project on the European level.
Please note, that opinions and observations presented in this post are my personal reflections.