8th of april 2016 – International Roma Day18.04.2016
AMURT Romania together with partners AMURTEL Romania and The Pro European Network from Bulgaria implemented the project “You too Participate” during a two year period, from October 2014- April 2016 “Participa si tu!”, in 4 comunities in a rural area on the outskirts of Bucharest: Domnesti, Cornetu, Clinceni, Ciorogarla. The project was financed by a SEE 2009-2014 grant, within the NGO Fund in Romania, Component 2, Social Justice, Subcomponent 2.1 Rural interethnic community development, with a sum of 64,607.10 euro.
The goal of the project was to combat poverty amongst 300 people belonging predominantly to the Roma ethnic minority but also to other ethnic minorities as well, by facilitating them to exercise democratic citizenship, multicultural dialogue, and increasing their employment opportunities by creating an inclusive local job market.
On April 8, 2016, which is the International Roma Day, the project team decided to create a special celebration with a series of events at the AMURT Center in Domnesti. The day began with a short film about a Roma child telling a friend the history of his people through a beautiful claymation. The film was made by the Care Consortium in Bulgaria and AMURTEL obtained permission to subtitle it in Romanian.
In addition, in order to stimulate pride in their Roma heritage, an Italian volunteer and professional artist, Verena Dallaserra, painted a beautiful, 3 meter long artistic rendering of the history of the Roma. One of the rooms in the center also became a portrait gallery of posters with the pictures of important historical figures and role models in the Roma movement in Romania, as well as non-Roma such as Mihail Kogalniceanu who were important allies in abolishing slavery of the Roma in Romania and those that protected Roma citiens from the deportations to Transnistria during the Holocaust. Some current activists were also included in the gallery.
The event was a success, with more than 100 participants at the AMURT Center in Domnesti.
At the end of the event, in spite of rain, many of the participants joined a peaceful “Diversity March” through the community to the river, singing traditional Roma songs and in a festive mood. When they arrived at the river, the children threw flowers into the flowing water to commemorate the Roma victims of the Holocaust and those that died in Transnistria. Most of the participants had very little information about their heritage, nor did they have a sense of pride about it. As they walked through the community, and curious onlookers asked what they were doing, they explained with pride that it was the International Roma day and the neighbors congratulated them. They declared that it was the first time they had ever celebrated the International Roma Day but they look forward to making the event an annual traditional in their community.
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