(Post-)Pandemic Life Together

(Post-)Pandemic Life Together

This spring arrived accompanied by many challenges for our work. Instead of shrinking back, we battened down the hatches and continued supporting people with fewer opportunities.

During March, one of our localities became an epicentre of a special mutation of the corona virus. Many families, Roma and non-Roma, found themselves in the middle of danger of contagion. Together with other local NGOs and volunteers we distributed FFP2 respirators and masks and discussed the situation with adults and children.

Keeping the seriousness of the pandemic situation in mind, we tried hard to preserve the quality and quantity of our services and activities that we offer to local people in need. Instead of cancelling our events and appointments, we equipped our teams with protective aid or searched for alternative ways of helping the community. The arrival of spring allowed us to hold workshops outdoors, other activities took place one-to-one.

Every ten years, a Census is carried out in the Czech Republic to obtain information about the population that is not easily accessible. This May, another nation-wide census took place. As the attendance is obligatory under penalty of a fine, our street workers helped 131 households to fulfill this legal duty.

While maintaining the quality of our street work, counselling and other social services, we are also mindful of human rights aspect of our work. This spring became a milestone for women who suffered – and still suffer – from forced sterilisation. At the beginning of May, after many years of struggle, the Chamber of Deputies passed a bill on compensation for the female victims.

Since Czech schools implemented distance learning, children needed extra support to cope with online lessons. We restored our „outdoor school“ and offered assistance with homework or learning on-spot. For families that were not endowed with digital devices, we arranged computers and laptops as a gift in cooperation with the Česko.digital initiative.

To celebrate the International children’s day, all teams prepared special activities for the children and young people they work with. Almost hundred children from Liscina, a neighbourhood once flooded, gathered for fun outdoor activities and received sweet rewards. Other events related to the International children’s day and the end of the school year will take place all over the localities we work in. Preparations for our traditional summer camp are already under way as well.

News from Pavee Point, Ireland

News from Pavee Point, Ireland

Pavee Point Traveller & Roma Centre focused our work in recent months on helping to ensure Traveller & Roma uptake of the COVID19 vaccines. We lobbied and advocated for vaccine priority for Travellers and Roma and published a briefing paper, Approach and Recommendations for COVID-19: Vaccination Prioritisation & Roll Out for Travellers and Roma.  Subsequently the Health Department recommended vaccine prioritisation for Travellers & Roma aged 18+ for the COVID-19 vaccination. To coincide with the vaccine roll-out Pavee Point released a series of videos to combat vaccine hesitancy – Travellers Take the Vaccine Campaign.  All videos can be found here.

 

In April we celebrated 50 Years of Activism (1971 – 2021) on International Roma Day .We hosted a webinar to commemorate 50 years of activism since the first World Romani Congress on the 8th of April in London in 1971. To mark the milestone, Pavee Point’s Co Director Martin Collins talked to Roma MEP, Romeo Franz and to Irish Traveller Senator Eileen Flynn about who and what inspired their activism. The video also includes a photographic look back over 50 years, Traveller and Roma music, and we heard from young Roma and Travellers on their hopes for the future. You can watch it here. 

In May 2021, Pavee Point was thrilled to be awarded funding by Rethink Ireland Equality Fund to support work in promoting Traveller education. These funds will enable us to raise issues of education discrimination – made worse by COVID-19 – and the need for a National Traveller Education Strategy. You can see a short video on our planned education programme here.

ERGO report: Impact of Covid-19

The impact of Covid-19 on Roma communities in the European Union and the Western Balkans

Together with partners from seven EU Member States, five Western Balkan countries and Turkey, ERGO Network has prepared an in-depth study about the devastating impact that the Covid-19 pandemic had and continue to has on Roma and Travellers across Europe.

Access the study here. 

The data collected in this survey confirms that marginalized Roma and Travellers are amongst the most affected and impacted by Covid-19, mainly due to their devastating living conditions and exclusion, triggered by widespread antigypsyism. As this study suggests, during the pandemic many Roma and Travellers living in poverty found it very hard to protect themselves from getting the virus because of lack of access to water and sanitation. This was even harder for those living in segregated and informal settlements and/or improvised shelters.

Despite some positive responses regarding immediate measures taken by some governments and local authorities to assist vulnerable groups, including Roma and Travellers, increasing concerns from our members called for more consolidated data in order to better understand the situation of Roma and Travellers in the EU and Western Balkans and Turkey. The data is necessary to advocate for  better institutional and political coordination and a focus on minimising the impact of the pandemic in its second and/ or third wave on vulnerable communities including Roma and Travellers.

As a result, ERGO Network together with its members and partner organisations prepared national surveys in seven EU countries and six Western Balkan countries and Turkey. The results of this survey constitute the basis of this report. Besides data on key areas of access to education, employment, basic needs, health and housing, migration, discrimination and gender aspects, it also includes recommendations from the respondents themselves as well as from ERGO Network.

This survey was possible thanks the valuable contributions from ERGO members and partners. We would like to thank in particular Roma Active Albania in Albania, Otaharin in Bosnia and Herzegovina, expert Orhan Tahir in Belgium, Integro in Bulgaria, Slovo 21 and Life Together in Czechia, Amrita OBK association in Hungary, Pavee Point in Ireland, Voice of Roma Ashkali and Egyptians in Kosovo, RROMA in North Macedonia, Nevo Parudimos in Romania, Roma Forum in Serbia, Roma Advocacy and Research Centre in Slovakia and Zero Discrimination association in Turkey as well as Roma and Traveller communities in all the respective countries.

We especially thank the Fundación Secretariado Gitano (FSG) whose survey on the Covid impact (1) on Roma in Spain was used as inspiration for our ERGO survey.

For more information about ERGO Network’s work on anti racism contact Isabela Mihalache , Senior Policy Adviser in the ERGO Network Brussels team.

 

ERGO Network carried out this work in the framework of the project “Roma Included in Social Europe”, funded by the EaSI Programme (all parts concerning EU Member States) and in the framework of the project “Romani Women Power of Change “ (all parts concerning Western Balkans and Turkey) carried out as a partner of Roma Active Albania and funded by the European Union.

This publication has received funding from the European Union. The information contained in this publication reflects only the authors’ view, and its contents not necessarily reflect the views of the European Union. The European Union is not responsible for any use that may be made of the information it contains.

This publication has received financial
support from the Foreign Office of the
Federal Republic of Germany.

 

(1) https://www.gitanos.org/actualidad/archivo/131067.html.en

Social Economy and Roma Inclusion in times of Covid-19

Social Economy and Roma Inclusion in times of Covid-19

ERGO Network Annual Public Conference with Social Economy Europe and the European Parliament Intergroup on Social Economy

This past 17 November, ERGO Network organised its annual public event, together with Social Economy Europe and the European Parliament Intergroup on Social Economy. This year’s conference, which took place online, was dedicated to exploring the key potential of the social and solidarity economy to positively contribute to Roma equality, inclusion and participation, particularly in a pandemic and post-pandemic context. 

Europe is facing an unprecedented social and economic crisis, brought about by the devastating effects of the coronavirus pandemic. Many Europeans have lost their incomes, their homes, their security, and even their loved ones, but Roma communities throughout the continent have been particularly hard hit. Because of its explicit objective to contribute to better social and economic inclusion and improved societal outcomes, particularly for vulnerable groups, social economy can play a key role in ensuring equal eights and wellbeing for Roma communities in the recovery process in different countries.

The online conference served as the formal launch of ERGO Network’s position paper “The role of Social Economy in supporting Roma social and economic inclusion in the Covid-19 pandemic and recovery”, rooted in an extensive data collection exercise across ERGO Network’s national membership. The Key Messages of the paper, presented at the conference, are:

  1. Legislative framework prioritising social goals over financial gain and promoting sustainability
  2. Meaningful partnerships supporting Roma participation and ownership
  3. The Roma named explicitly as target group for social economy interventions
  4. Fostering Roma social entrepreneurship through awareness and training
  5. Access to stable, dedicated, transparent funding
  6. An economy based on solidarity that works for all, including for Roma

The event equally aimed to showcase concrete good practices of Roma- and Traveller-led social enterprises on the ground, as well as to put forward positive ways to ensure that the potential of social economy to support Roma inclusion is placed at the heart of recovery packages and the upcoming Action Plan on Social Economy and Social Innovation, in full alignment with the recently released EU Roma Strategic Framework.

The event was very well attended with almost 100 participants, and it brought together ERGO Network and Social Economy Europe national members from the grassroots level in many European countries, as well as other national practitioners, European civil society organisations, EU policy-makers from the European Parliament and the European Commission, and other stakeholders.

If you attended this event, or watched the recording, don’t forget to let us know what you thought about it by filling in this Evaluation Form. Thank you!

See more:
Agenda of the event

Full recording of the Facebook livestream

ERGO Network position paper

Conference Report

Photo album

 

For more information about this event, or about ERGO Network’s work on social economy, please don’t hesitate to contact us: a.ferro@ergonetwork.org

Social economy and Roma inclusion in times of Covid-19

Social economy and Roma inclusion in times of Covid-19

A contribution to Europe’s Action Plan on Social Economy

ERGO Network and Social Economy Europe are delighted to invite you to attend their joint online conference entitled “Social economy and Roma inclusion in times of Covid-19: A contribution to Europe’s Action Plan on Social Economy”, to take place on 17 November 2020. The event is kindly hosted by the European Parliament Intergroup on Social Economy (click here to see agenda).

Europe is facing an unprecedented social and economic shock, brought about by the devastating effects of the coronavirus. Many Europeans have lost their incomes, their homes, their security, and even their loved ones, but Roma communities throughout the continent have been particularly hard hit. Because of its explicit objective to contribute to better social and economic inclusion and improved societal outcomes, particularly for vulnerable groups, social economy can play a key role in ensure equal rights and wellbeing for Roma communities in the recovery process in different countries.

This online conference will bring together national practitioners, civil society organisations and other stakeholders, as well as EU policy makers, to discuss how to achieve real policy change for Europe’s Roma in a social economy setting. The objectives are to showcase concrete good practices of Roma- and Traveller-led social enterprises on the ground, and to put forward positive ways to ensure that the potential of social economy to support Roma inclusion is placed at the heart of recovery packages and the upcoming Action Plan on Social Economy and Social Innovation, in full alignment with the recently released EU Roma Strategic Framework.

REGISTER HERE by 15 November

AGENDA

We are looking forward to debating with you – join the conversation! #RomaSocialEconomy

For questions, don’t hesitate to get in touch: info@ergonetwork.org.

 

This conference is kindly supported by the European Union Programme for Employment and Social Innovation EaSI (2014-2020).

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