International Roma Day 2013

On April 8th, the world commemorates the International Roma Day. During this week, on April 10th, the Slovak film Gypsy (Cigan) will be screened at the European Parliament in Brussels and the EC Commissioner Laszlo Andor will debate with Martin Sulik, the film director, about Roma inclusion.

In Spain, Roma (Gypsies) will throw flower petals to the rivers to float on water to symbolize the freedom the Roma people want to live in.

In Slovakia, in ETP’s community centres we will celebrate the Roma Day in many different ways: some will play music, others will sing and dance, play drama, recite poems or listen to the stories about how the Roma people lived before.

We will also honor those who in spite of living in extreme poverty of Roma ghettos have not lost hope even when fire destroyed their homes, who then rolled up their sleeves, borrowed small but significant amount of money to build a home for their children.

We will applaud those who in spite of being unjustly placed to classes for children with special needs have been practising hundreds of hours in the ETP community centre in Moldava nad Bodvou to perfect a play of Slumdog Theatre portraying the life in a Roma ghetto and presented it to European Commission officials, governmental ministers, academia or the general public.

We will support those who in spite of having been labelled „unable to learn“ by, sadly, their own teachers and educators, have signed up back  to school and studied diligently in order to graduate from high school and university.

We will compliment and congratulate those who have been spending their time mentoring and tutoring children and young people from Roma settlements and managed to launch some of them to international fame.

We thank all who guide, mentor, uphold and reinforce Roma of all ages in ETP Slovakia’s network of community centres.

Although European politicians may have had the good will to search for innovative approaches and solutions, for more than twenty years they’ve mainly been debating, writing policy papers, developing strategies—for the implementation of which they’ve allocated zero or only limited funds.

At ETP Slovakia we agree that the situation of the ethnic Roma living in socially disadvantaged ghettos is Europe’s most pressing social problem.

Therefore, we will continue to implement novel alternate methods we have developed to tackle the worst social problem in Europe. We will continue to convince public and private funders to support innovative solutions which change the status quo in the Roma ghettos and which have proved to be more effective and less expensive than the existing programs.

Happy International Roma Day!