Democracy and participation, Social inclusion

Bridges instead of Walls

Improving Civic Citizenship in Segregated Roma Colonies

Creators

Who is behind this?

Anikó Kiss

SZOCSOMA Alapítvány

https://www.facebook.com/SZOCSOMA/

Hungary

Who is joining forces?

Roma Parlament Hungary

https://www.facebook.com/pg/Magyarországi-Roma-Parlament-Hungarian-Roma-Parliament-266139386887620/posts/?ref=page_internal

Hungary


Local Minority Government -Sajólád

Hungary


Local Minority Government -Emőd

Hungary


Local Minority Government -Diósviszló Local Minority Government -Hejőpapi Local Minority Government -Kisgyőr

Idea

Idea pitch

In Hungary, Roma, the most discriminated minority group has long been experiencing social exclusion. The SZOCSOMA movement meets a two-folded challenge. First, we want to change the perception of the Hungarian majority about Roma. Second, our goal is to intervene in unjust local processes and facilitate the civic involvement of Roma, by empowering them with skills and knowledge to fight for their justice, and create a local community of people who can practise their social rights.

Where will your project idea take place?

North-eastern Hungary, five small rural settlements where Roma colonies are concentrated

What is the local challenge?

The target region is where chronic poverty prevails among the Roma, living at poor education level, and facing starvation, poor energy supply, uneasy access to water supply, lack of drainage, difficult mobility, poor housing, public work instead of normal jobs, bad health conditions, difficult access to medical care, low social cohesion, ruined family and friendship relations, and lack of nurturing or empowering cultural and social public activity. The solution we can offer is: supporting education and trainings. We are mapping employment possibilities other than public work, adding know-how and means to achieve existential success. We should approach the authorities to improve their functioning. We are engaged to push the authorities to facilitate water supply where it is lacking.

How does your idea strengthen democracy and active citizenship at a local and community level?

The poor and low-educated Roma are unaware of their opportunities and rights that come with their Hungarian citizenship. This is what the SZOCSOMA team could change. We should also encourage the Roma to stand up for their rights by: empowering them with the knowledge to understand their situation as part of a complex social problem, improving their problem-solving skills (i.e., situation exercises), and developing their communication and conflict-management skills. We can organise meetings where best practices are shared. We can connect groups struggling with similar challenges and deprivation to empower each other. We need to have legal support built into our project, to ensure the assertion of Roma civil rights along the way.

Who are you doing it for?

In Hungary, there are 1600 segregated communities . Others can be found in the wider population, residing in cities and villages as a minority. They also experience unequal treatment, discrimination and exclusion as Roma in their everyday lives. Hungarian society criminalises not only the Roma but communities in deep poverty, too. They all are targets of our project. We try to approach groups of Roma people with whom we can initiate dialogue and who can be mobilised to form the very first seeds of civil life. Our efforts are frequently impeded by the lack of solidarity among the members of the target group due to strong dissension and conflicts between former friends and even family members. The reason for this can be neediness, hardships, and congestion in their homes.

How do you plan to get there?

We are going to organise trainings both locally and in Budapest. Senior members of SZOCSOMA together with local parties could bring the project to success, thanks to the financial assistance to be obtained by this grant. We try to identify local organisations that follow good practices. Mayors offices should also be attended where ever possible. Unfortunately, we have to meet chaotic or deficient functioning in many places while consulting the representatives of local governments. Topics of such meetings can be: finding jobs, ideas for creating jobs, creation of a connection network in order to enhance progress.

What are the expected results?

We define as success all instances of assertion of Roma rights. Contacting with segregated Roma communities could give them a chance to get out of their distressed situation. Awareness of civil rights, ability to assess a situation, and strengthened skills to process the necessary information may entail Roma involvement even in local political elections. Then, more responsible leaders could hold functions. This would also improve the quality of the operation of local governments that can initiate local laws that address Roma. SZOCSOMA will alert the majority society to encounter prejudices, their own practice of racial socialisation and institutionalised racism.

How does your initiative contribute to strengthening democracy in Europe?

European-wide civic awareness is being enriched ceaselessly. It is a pity that, in Hungary, democracy is currently is serious crisis in all areas life, and the Roma suffer from disadvantage and exclusion accordingly. The SZOCSOMA team is committed to promote equal rights, individual freedom, and human dignity for all. Clashes and gaps in the social body have been obvious in our charity trips that shock those who only meet trans-generational chronic poverty for the first time. Being born into generationally inherited deep poverty should yet not result in lack of respect for our fellow-creatures. Victim blaming needs to stopped once and for all. It should be replaced by physical and mental healing and by improving the living conditions respectively.

What is your story?

People who are not regularly present in the problem-area do not attach enough importance to local issues. They are tempted to start problem-solving on a higher level instead. Whatever injustice or mistreatment happens in the practice of local governments, there is no voice raised on behalf of the poor. Our civil group intends to play the role of advocacy. It is not our intention to take over action from the poor and needy unless it is necessary and possible. Local Roma communities do not yet have enough means and tools in the enforcement of their rights, e.g., in submitting applications for social grants. SZOCSOMA could help them with this and act for the benefit of the whole community. We are convinced that this is the way of building a smarter and more inclusive society.

€ 50000,-

Funding requested from Civic Europe

€ 50000,-

Total budget

Major expenses

- Office costs 2,000.-
- travel expenses 3,000.-
- care when traveling 3,000.-
- accommodation costs 3,000.-
- training course costs 3,000.-
- IT, material costs 3,000.-
- maintaining a base point for one year 6,000.-
- professional assistance: legal fees 11,000.-
- personnel expenses 15,000.-
- expenditure on joint work (media) 3.000.-
- documentation, modeling ” 2,000.-

Total: EUR 53,000

Team

szocsoma

Idea created on May 27, 2020
Last edit on May 27, 2020

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