Gypsy streets are physically separated from the town by only a few hundred meters, but in reality this distance is almost insurmountable. We attempt to involve the isolated communities in the bloodstream of the town. Try to achieve a positive change in the local anti-Gypsy public discourse, which now again heated due to the lawsuit in nearby Gyöngyöspata, by develop field volunteer work, organize skills development sessions, implement community actions and conduct a communication campaign.
Gyöngyös, northwest Hungary
The population of Gyöngyös is 30,000. There are two Roma ghettos in the town, with a population of about 1,000 with their own system of customs and language. Houses and infrastructure are in poor condition. Roma have never been an integral part of the local community, and families still live separately from the majority society, both physically and symbolically. Very few children reach the secondary school level and do not acquire a profession. Drug use appears early in the lives of young people, and the proportion of offenders is high among adults. Poverty and hopelessness are constantly reproducing, breaking out of ghetto is almost impossible. The challenge is twofold, because results can only be achieved together with settlement families and those belonging to the majority.
The main objective is to involve Roma in the town's life, and the families living here to become more active citizens. This integration process is two-way: while strengthening the capacity of the majority society, we need to enable people living in settlements to shape their own destiny. Each of our planned activities keep this duality in mind. We involve local and local volunteers in community work, activating and bringing together different social groups. Gypsy children in the ghetto create joint works of art with non-Gypsy children, Gypsy women appear at city events, and easy-to-understand, positive ghetto life stories are introduced to the local public. Roma and non-Roma are involved in joint actions, positive stories replace bad ones.
Direct target groups: 20 young youth living in ghettos and 10 from town will, who be involved in art workshops (like this example: https://bit.ly/3d5M41X ‘How do you see your life and future in town?’), plus at least 10 Roma adults living in settlements in regular group sessions and community actions like waffle making at festivities. The town's decision-makers (mayor, deputies) and the heads of municipal institutions will be involved. As a result of the joint work planned with them, we expect that the issue of Roma integration will be given an important place in local decision-making. The indirect target group of the project is the entire population of the city and its surroundings, who will be reached through the planned communication campaign and awareness-raising campaigns.
Activities are based on an ongoing a drug prevention and the youth development program. Specialists will be involved who already know the settlement and the direct target group through these programs. Specific activities:
-volunteer programme in the community work
-arts and sports-based development for youth; mainly with the participation of kids from the ghetto, but mixed with kids of other social status. The activities of the groups come together at several points, the participants cooperate and create a joint production.
-organization of mothers of the involved kids, organizing regular group meetings (the lure: a mutual saving bank), organizing symbolic actions towards the people of the town
-conveying positive integration stories to municipal decision-makers and the local public
One year is a very short period in relation to the complexity of the problem, but at the same time a part of the local Roma community can be activated during this time, mainly because it is not necessary to start from scratch in this environment. The project will be successful:
- if, after one year, the number of volunteers who regularly carry out community work on the sites stabilizes between 5 and 10,
- if the number of regular participants in art development sessions for children is fixed between 15 and 20,
- if a cohesive group of women of 5 to 10 people is formed who have already taken part in at least two city events with an activity,
- if a local partnership is formed with the participation of the municipality, which prepares at least one new Roma integration project plan
The main motives of Orban’s politics: anti-democratic, denying values and institutions of EU and, most importantly in this project, for gaining support base (votes) a rhetoric that makes gypsies a scapegoat. This is not only poisonous but makes it impossible to understand the causes of the social problems of ethicized deep poverty. Thus support base of integration is further melting. The planned project is based on dialogue and communication, which characterizes European thinking. That is, it is not the exclusionary ideology of politicians that determines public thinking about the Roma, but society should reflect in a meaningful way on the situation. Instead of exclusionary statements, members of the Roma community and the majority society should ask questions and seek answers together.
Since the establishment Autonomia (1990) has been working for the integration of the Roma. Our methods are constantly changing, but they are always based on dialogue, collaboration and the use of local resources. The work started with the youth of Gyöngyös constantly raises new and new aspects and tasks, and we try to respond to these with our own means. For all fieldwork, the key issue is the duration and the sustainability of the results. This proposal provides an opportunity to expand local capacities (volunteers) and to establish partnerships (local government) that will allow us to continue the activities and to communicate the importance of volunteering and the active support of individuals at the national level through local experience.
Funding requested from Civic Europe
Personnel costs - 23.000 EUR
Travel and accomodation costs - 2.500 EUR
Communication campaign costs - 3.000 EUR
Community actions costs (asset and material costs) - 6.000 EUR
Freetime activities costs (target group) - 6.900 EUR
Skills development sessions costs - 8.600 EUR