Call for Participants: ERGO Summer Academy

Call for Participants: ERGO Summer Academy:


24 – 28 August 2022, Bratislava

Project background:

The project “Roma youth kicking off the decade to counter antigypsyism” will empower young Roma from 8 Central and South-Eastern European countries to campaign against antigypsyism – the racism directed against people perceived as “Gypsies” – through their involvement in a new large-scale campaign “Decade to counter antigypsyism”, coordinated by ERGO Network from the EU to the local level. The project will include a “Summer Academy” for young Roma as well as the kick-off of the campaign through a participatory planning process, a high-level event in Brussels and online campaign activities.

The European Roma Grassroots Organisations Network with its member organisations in Central Europe and the Western Balkans want to address this situation by developing a large-scale campaign called “Decade to counter antigypsyism” targeting the general public, which will raise awareness of antigypsyism and contribute to changing attitudes towards Roma in the majority society.

The campaign will provide relevant, truthful and awareness-raising information about Roma through a variety of means, ranging from social media to in-person campaign events, educational activities and working with traditional media. The campaign will have the same time frame as the new EU Roma Strategic Framework for Equality, Inclusion and Participation up to 2030. Young Roma play a crucial role in combatting antigypsyism – they constitute the biggest age group among Roma, are the most creative, educated and with the widest outreach through the use of social media.

Many young Roma are already active in grassroots civil society organisations to support their communities. They will therefore play a crucial role in the decade to counter antigypsyism by shaping the campaign and reaching out to their non-Roma peers.

To support them in doing so, the project partners will empower young Roma as change-makers through capacity-building activities, starting with a first Summer Academy on combating antigypsyism in 2022. During the academy, the young people will learn about the concept of antigypsyism, share experiences and develop ideas for local activities within the framework of the campaign.

Summer Academy:

The Summer Academy will bring together 20 young participants and 5 trainers from all partner organizations for four days in Slovakia.

During the Academy, the participants will learn more and share experiences about the concept and different manifestations of antigypsyism and discuss ways of combatting this specific form of racism. This will include sessions on counter-speech, advocacy and campaigning as practical tools.

They will also develop ideas for local campaigns that will raise awareness of antigypsyism among their non-Roma peers.

Organizer: ERGO Network in partnership with ERGO members, and Romedia Foundation

Profile of participants:

We aim to invite a diverse group of Roma and non-Roma participants from a variety of organizations that are active in their respective (youth) organizations with experience and commitment to combat antigypsyism. We aim to have a wide international outreach and diversity, as well as multiple experiences of activists (grassroots, European, non-formal education, youth participation, advocacy, from general anti-racist and minority organizations). We aim to have a gender-balanced group.

Participants must:

  • be able and committed to acting as multipliers in youth work and activism on the theme of combating antigypsyism and other forms of racism.
  • Have some experience in nonformal education and knowledge of antigypsyism or other forms of racism.
  • be motivated to develop their competencies in human rights education and to share their experiences with other participants.
  • be motivated to contribute to developing their local campaign during the event.
  • Come with an open-minded and sensitive attitude towards discussing antigypsyism and share related experiences.
  • be aged 18 – 30.
  • be committed to attending for the full duration of the event.
  • be able to work in English.
  • be resident in a member state of the European Union.

We welcome applications from all candidates who fulfil the specific profile of activities, irrespective of gender, disability, marital or parental status, racial-ethnic or social origin, religious belief or sexual orientation.


The following costs will be reimbursed:

  • Travel from and to your place of residence
  • Accommodation and meals

If you are interested to participate, please apply by filling out the application form ( until the 15th of July, 23:59 h!

Questions? Contact Mustafa Jakupov at ERGO Network: 

This project is kindly supported by the International Visegrad Fund and European Union.

New Board of ERGO Network

We are thrilled to introduce you to the new Board of ERGO Network!

ERGO Network is currently in a big transformative process: We have established a new legal entity, the ERGO Network AISBL, finally moving our legal seat from the Netherlands to Belgium and becoming more democratic. While the “old” ERGO Network will continue to exist until all contracts are moved, the “new” ERGO is already up and running and has just elected a new Board!

The Board consists of six members. Our membership has shown them their trust and support, and all of us – including the ERGO Secretariat – are looking forward to working together – making our Network stronger, wider and more powerful to achieve our common goals.

Our new Board members are:

Soraya Post, Sweden (Chair)

Soraya Post is one of ERGO Network’s founding members. For the past four years, she has been sharing the lead in the “old” ERGO Board, serving as inspiration and motivation for young Roma activists to take a stand for the Roma cause. Soraya has dedicated her entire professional career as a Romani activist as well as a member of the European Parliament to the Roma. Soraya would like to give her support and commitment to the causes that ERGO Network represents. She is particularly keen to take the fight against antigypsyism further based on her knowledge of the European institutions and the European Parliament in particular.

Zuzana Havírová from the Roma Advocacy and Research Centre (RARC), Slovakia (Vice-Chair)

Zuzana Havirová is the chair of the Roma Advocacy and Research Centre (RARC) in Slovakia. She is also vice-chair of the Committee for the Prevention of Racism, Anti-Semitism, Xenophobia and Other Forms of Intolerance, which belongs to the Ministry of the Interior of the Slovak Republic and a member of the Slovak Government Council for Human Rights. Last year Zuzana was also elected by several Roma NGOs to serve as a member of the Slovak Government Council for National Minorities.

Zuzana believes that ERGO Network will play an important role in working with governments and international institutions to ensure Roma are part of the change. She is convinced that it is necessary to strengthen the fight for the rights and participation of the Roma at the international level as well.

Annabel Carballo Mesa from Federación de Asociaciones Gitanas de Cataluña (FAGiC), Spain

Annabel Carballo Mesa is the Director of the European and International Area in the Federació Assoc Gitanes Fagic in Spain. Her main goals for the ERGO Network Board are to bring a new and fresh perspective to continue the great work done previously, and to make sure that strategic plans and annual operation plans are developed and implemented according to ERGO Network’s mission and vision.

Annabel’s main motivation is to widen the geographic scope of the Board including the perspective from the Iberian Peninsula (Spain and Portugal). She is sure that this will bring more diversity to the work of ERGO Network and make different voices be heard.

Martin Mata, Czech Republic (Treasurer)

Martin is one of the founding members of ERGO Network and has been serving on the ERGO Network Board for the last four years as treasurer. Away from ERGO Network he is a businessperson, a local politician and leader of important regional institutions. As a part of the Board he will continue to share his knowledge on programmes and spending. He is particularly interested in identifying correlations between organizational development and trends in the society, which is even more relevant in times of crisis.

Mustafa Jakupov from Регионална Ромска Образовна Младинска Асоцијација – RROMA, North Macedonia

Mustafa has 15 years of experience – most of which he was working with ERGO Network and its members on various projects and working groups. For the last several years and until August 2022, Mustafa had an even closer connection to ERGO working as Policy and Project Coordinator in charge of the areas of antigypsyism, non-formal education, Roma youth empowerment, participation, mobility and volunteering.

He has information and knowledge on the variety of the membership, as well as broader policy trends and occurrences related to Roma issues across Europe.

Daniel Grebeldinger from Nevo Parudimos, Romania

Daniel has more than 10 years of experience as Board member of different EU networks, as well as 18 years of running, setting up and developing Roma and non-Roma NGOs.

His vision for ERGO Network in 5 years is being the strongest Roma network in Europe, contributing directly to the development of its members, bringing the grassroots voice of the Roma from all around Europe to the decision makers at EU level. He sees ERGO Network as being one of the main actors in training and capacitating Roma professionals, young people and adults who will be the future Roma civil society in Europe.

Daniel believes that if until now the Board was more a decision-making structure, the future Board of ERGO Network will be a more active body, more dynamic and more involved in the evolution and future development of the Network. He sees himself as an active part of the fundraising team of ERGO Network, a promoter of the network and a recruiter of new members.

Once again, congratulations to all newly elected Board members and we are looking forward to working together!


Exchange visit to Pavee Point, Ireland

Exchange visit to Pavee Point, Ireland

From 24  to 27 May 2022 ERGO Network and its members visited Pavee Point Traveller & Roma Centre in Dublin, Ireland, to learn about the situation of Irish Travellers and Roma communities in Ireland and the invaluable work of Pavee Point for these communities. Among the fellow member organizations who attended were staff from Integro in Bulgaria and RomanoNet from the Czech Republic.

On the first day, our group visited the social enterprise called Shuttle Knit in Wicklow (around a 1-hour drive from Dublin).  Shuttle Knit started over 20 years ago as a partnership between the Traveller and settled communities, with the mission to improve the quality of life for Traveller Women and their families through social enterprise. Traditionally, Traveller women worked by selling door-to-door, at markets and fairs. However, recent Irish legislation has created barriers that prevent Traveller women from selling in the ways in which they did in the past, and so they needed to adapt and change.

One of Shuttle Knit’s goals is to bring inclusion into the labour market through social enterprise. The enterprise provides jobs and training to 11 women who are part of the local Travelling Community in Wicklow. The impact is that their staff have a secure income, and a sense of purpose and they learn a skill. They are empowered and become role models in their own community and contribute to the local economy.

Shuttle Knit is located in the CEART building in Wicklow, which is owned by Wicklow Travellers Group. The location is very much part of the community and thus feels like a “safe space” for Travellers, where everyone is welcome.

After this visit, the participants had an opportunity to take a walk in the picturesque valley of Glendalough, to visit the lake – all while discussing what the other ERGO members could learn from Pavee Point and the social enterprise projects, how they deal with similar challenges and how they could get replicate this model of work in their countries.

The next day the group visited several halting sites and residence points of Travellers in Dublin: Avila Park Finglas, Cara Park Coolock and St Joesph’s Halting Site Dunsink. Although some sites offer decent residential conditions, even they lack facilities for children to play, community work and further development for the young families.

However, the group also had a chance to see the sites with extremely bad living conditions, where according to the residents the Council is deliberately slow in taking any actions to improve these conditions.

In the afternoon the participants met in the office of Pavee Point Traveller & Roma Centre to learn more about the programmes and activities they run. Over the past thirty years, Pavee Point has an established track record in innovative and ground-breaking work using a collective community development approach to addressing Traveller & Roma issues and promoting Traveller & Roma rights.

Their programmes include Roma Civil Monitor, Education, Accommodation programme, Drug and Alcohol Programme, Ethnic Data Collection, Roma Project, Violence Against Women and finally Health project, including a special programme on Traveller Men – something which is an acute problem in many countries, but at the same time rarely included as a priority.

Our participants from the Czech Republic and Bulgaria and ERGO Secretariat members from Romania and Lithuania shared insights about the similarities in the situation in their countries regarding the health, evictions, general poverty and other pressing issues.

On the 27th everyone left for their respective countries, excited, and inspired. The exchange visit proved to be a success with our member organizations – some of them described it as one of the best they ever had! And the credit for this goes to Pavee Point for being amazing hosts and inspiration in their work for all of us.

ERGO plans to organize similar visits to other members in the next years. This type of event is very important for our work to learn about the problems faced by Roma in different countries and to learn how local organizations are trying to find solutions to these problems.

The Czech government is compensating victims of forced sterilization

The Czech government is compensating victims of forced sterilization

Romani women who have been fighting for almost two decades for apology and compensation have expressed their satisfaction. “Money cannot compensate for the loss of our ability to have children, the violation of our bodies, personal and family life”, says Elena Gorolová, a victim herself.  “We were not respected neither as women nor mothers. We were used against our will by the state that pursued its own plans. Yet, we welcome this symbolic gesture”.

Victims can obtain compensation of 300 000 CZK. Romani women were the primary target of a eugenic practice that was documented from 1966 and widespread especially in the 1980s.

The issue was first brought to light by the Charter 77 human rights movement in 1978, and later by field studies conducted by Paul Öfner, Ruben Pellar, and Zbyněk Andrš in 1988. The ERRC and several Czech and Slovak NGOs took up the issue in 2003. In the same year, a self-support group of women was formed in the Czech city of Ostrava.

In 2005, the Czech Ombudsman Otakar Motejl made the first significant official report which states:

The Ombudsman is convinced that in the Czech Republic the problem of sexual sterilization carried out either with unacceptable motivation or illegally exists and that Czech society faces the task of coping with this fact…….it is clear that the debate on the causes, course and consequences of sexual sterilization carried out as a state-supported social measure or as an intervention that took place in circumstances unable to meet strict informed consent criteria should it should primarily have a place on parliamentary soil.

In 2005 Helena Ferenčíková sued an Ostrava hospital for involuntary sterilization. The district court ordered the hospital to apologize. However, no compensation was paid because of the statute of limitations. The case was finally resolved at the European Court of Human Rights in 2011 with a friendly settlement between Mrs Ferenčíková and The Czech Republic that involved financial compensation.

In 2009, the Czech government apologised to the women for the practice of forced sterilization.

In 2019, nine MPS across the political spectrum- from ruling parties and the opposition- submitted a draft law “on the provision of a lump sum to persons sterilized in violation of the law”

On 4 June 2021, the Czech parliament passed the law with 120 MPs voting for and 1 vote against. The law on compensating victims of illegal sterilization was passed by both houses of the Czech Parliament and signed by the President in 2021

We think that this is a historical act showing the maturity of the Czech nation, a desire to come to terms with the past, and even graciously apologizing to a very vulnerable group of women victims which is definitely a sign of great strength.

However, passing the law is only the first step. In order for it to become a true recognition of the wrongdoing a proper implementation is needed.

This statemement is prepared jointly by Vzájemné soužití o.p.s. – Living Together organisation in Czechia and ERGO Network.

Joint recommendations for the European Care Strategy

Joint recommendations for the European Care Strategy regarding migrant care providers and service users

Together with other human rights organisations, ERGO endorsed Joint recommendations for the European Care Strategy regarding migrant care providers and service users.

This document sets out some joint recommendations for the inclusion of migrants in the forthcoming European Care Strategy and accompanying Council recommendations, both as workers and providers of care as well as care service users.

With a view to supporting the full inclusion of people who are non-nationals in every part of the strategy, the document is organised around key aspects that the strategy is expected to address, namely: access to care, affordability, sustainability, quality of care, workforce, and gender aspects of care.

 Contributors and endorsement

  • Caritas Europa
  • EAPN – European Anti-Poverty Network
  • EFFE – European Federation for Family, Employment & Home Care
  • EFFAT – European Federation of Food Agriculture and Tourism Trade Unions
  • EFSI – European Federation for Services to Individuals
  • Eurocarers
  • ERGO – European Roma Grassroots Organisations Network
  • Don Bosco International
  • FairWork (the Netherlands)
  • FEANTSA – European Federation of National Organisations Working with the Homeless
  • La Strada International
  • Make Mothers Matter
  • PICUM – Platform for International Cooperation on Undocumented Migrants
  • UNI Europa – UNICARE
  • SIMI (Czech Republic)
  • Social Platform and Red Acoge (Spain)

General principles and key messages

  • People who have non-EU nationality living in the EU must be fully considered and included in every part of the EU’s care strategy.
  • The availability, accessibility, affordability and quality of health, social and long-term care, as well as early childhood education and care, are essential for all, and especially those who, as non-nationals with various statuses living in the EU, may face particular barriers in accessing care, intersectional discrimination, marginalisation and in-work poverty.
  • The COVID-19 pandemic both reinforced the essential role of the care sector and exacerbated the precarity of migrant carers. Appropriate and effective measures are urgently needed.
  • The forthcoming European Care Strategy should:
    • Recognise the essential role and contributions of both intra-EU mobile workers and non-EU migrant workers, including undocumented workers, in providing care in the European Union.
    • Recognise that in many cases this care is being provided undeclared or under-declared, in exploitative conditions, impacting on the rights and well-being of workers and their families. This also impacts on care service users, and contributes to unfair and unsustainable social protection systems. Decent work should be integral to definitions and priorities around sustainable and quality care systems.
    • Commit and set concrete actions to promote decent work for all care workers, regardless of their migration or residence status, including through targeted measures.
    • Commit and set concrete actions to ensure that all people living in the EU have access to quality services on the basis of need, regardless of their migration or residence status.
    • Recognise and support informal carers, including young carers, regardless of their migration or residence status.
    • Meaningfully involve representatives of care workers, including migrant carers- as well as those in need of care – in the development, monitoring and evaluation of care policy-making and reform, and encourage member states to do likewise.
    • Encourage member states to evaluate the impacts of policies – in particular in the areas of employment, education, health and migration – on people in need of care, families, care workers and informal and formal care service provision, including through gender impact assessments.
    • Encourage the use of both EU and national funds, in particular ESF+ and the Child Guarantee national action plans, to improve access, affordability and quality of care services for marginalised and disadvantaged people and families, including mobile EU and non-EU migrants.
  • It is important for the European Care Strategy to address both the differences and overlap between care and non-care services needed by, and provided to, people with care needs in their homes. The strategy needs to recognise the different professional and skills profiles of care workers. This should reflect the types of care that require professional qualifications, as well as the reality that in many home care arrangements, people are providing a combination of care and housework-related personal household services.

Download the joint recommendations

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