Heroic and Empowering

Heroic and Empowering

In 2020, between the International Roma Day on 8 April and the Romani Resistance Day on 16 May, ERGO Network ran the social media campaign “Heroic and Empowering”, showcasing everyday Roma heroes who worked on the forefront of combatting the Covid-19 pandemic. Some heroes work in the health sector, others supported Roma communities on the ground – all being role models for Roma and non-Roma alike.

Sumnal Association, North Macedonia

The Sumnal Association for development of the Roma community in Macedonia provides psychological support and counseling, organizes a social club and public relations of 100 Roma victims of the Holocaust.
During the Covid19 pandemic, they visited the beneficiaries of the project. The elderly people were very happy to be able to exchange with the team of Sumnal, and to receive packages with products and medicine.

Samuel, Romania

Romania is under a total lockdown, citizens are not allowed to go outside. How can you stay at home when you don’t have food, no electricity and no running water and no income!?
Samuel Tanasie from Sadova noticed this problem and wanted to help. He did not let his lack of resources stop him and contacted some friends, the local doctor Dumitra Gindrovel and the mayor of Sadova. Together they were able to provide food for 6 families so that they could celebrate Easter.

Dr Meri Berat, North Macedonia

Today we present you the Roma hero Dr Meri Berat, a third year specialist in Radiotherapy and oncology and mother of 2 children from Macedonia. She works in a hospital where Covid19 positive cases from all over the country receive their treatments, including chemo dialysis conducted by Dr Berat.

Mobile Aid team Suto Orizari, North Macedonia

The Municipal mobile team for aid and support of elderly persons and persons living with disabilities from Shuto Orizari in North Macedonia are regularly on the ground, helping as much as possible in these worrying times. Fatima Osmanovska, chair of the local council of the municipality of Shuto Orizari and team member, is regularly helping her colleagues. Fatima says: “The only way not to lose any hope in these worrying times is by providing hope to those that need it!”.

Integro Association, Bulgaria

Thanks to the children and grandchildren of Grandpa Chokoy and the family of Aise Guner Integro Association was able to distribute food and disinfectant materials to 28 families in need. Kadrin Hasanov, Api Hasanova and Remzie Hasanova helped with voluntary labour.
They say: “It is difficult in these Covid19 times, but the solidarity gives us hope that together we can handle it! The help is not much but it is from the heart. Be healthy…”

Aleksandra, Serbia

“Hi everyone! My name is Aleksandra Aleksandrović and I live in Novi Sad.
Right now, during the Covid19 pandemic, I sew masks and give them to the people who need them. Mostly they are Roma people who cannot afford masks as well as health institutions. I sew 2 models of masks: One model is for hard of hearing people and for those who read from the lips, and the other model is similar to the one we buy from the Pharmacy”.

Olivia, United Kingdom

Today’s hero is the 12 year old Traveller Olivia Herring from the UK, who has already raised over £30k for key workers in the health sector – what an incredible achievement!!
“I have came up with the idea of getting my Mam and Dad to do a cake face challenge for NHS where they play Rock Paper Scissors and the loser gets caked in the face. I would like to help the guys & girls on the frontline in the NHS risking there lives everyday up and down the country.”

Mikuláš, Slovakia

Today our everyday Roma hero comes from Slovakia! He is called Mikuláš Lakatoš and he is a student nurse, preparing for his final exams during this crisis. At the same time Mikuláš is also a project coordinator of nonformal education activities at EduRoma and coordinates youth activities for the Plenipotentiary Office of Roma communities in the Slovak Republic. He combines his knowledge of the health sector and of Roma communities and is thinking about how to develop positive measures in Romani communities to protect them against COVID-19.

Romane Paramisa

Our heroes for today are from the initiative Romane Paramisa for recording fairy tales in Romanes! Romane Paramisa is a three-member team composed of Klaudia Oláhová, Lukáš Oláh and Michal Sivák, initiated by the association Romamedia Romed.
The group records fairy tales in Romanes for all Roma children who cannot attend school during this crisis. They create educational materials through which children can learn and improve their reading skills.

FAGIC, Spain

FAGiC has signed an agreement with the food bank of Mercabarna, the biggest wholesale market in the province of Barcelona, and is distributing around 3000 kg of fruit and vegetables every week!
The FAGiC team distributes food to local Roma organisations in the ten most affected districts of Barcelona. The local associations then distribute the fruit and vegetables to the most affected families.
The agreement will last until the immediate crisis is over, but probably we will extend it for few months more until the families are fully back to work.

Vzájemné soužití, Czech Republic

The organization already sewed and disseminated 3000 cloth face masks for free! They also explain why it is important to wear them and how to take care of them. Through games on the street, they also discuss the importance of washing hands and keeping distances with the children.

Rodica, Romania

Rodica from Romania is one of our unknown heroes. She spends her days helping the people from the community and her nights making face masks for those who live on the streets.
She learned how to sew in one night and she already made 30 masks for the ones in need! Thanks for everything you do, Rodica!