The attitude towards Turkish Roma during the Pandemic

The attitude towards Turkish Roma during the Pandemic

News from ERGO member Zero Discrimination

Attitudes towards Roma during the Covid Pandemic in Turkey were heterogenous. While inclusiveness was much improved, especially on the part of the interventions of the local authorities, discriminatory discourses were also witnessed.

To count a few positive interventions: in İstanbul, the Metropolitan Municipality prioritized Roma neighbourhoods in food aid; in Ankara, the Metropolitan Municipality employed paper and scrap collectors; in İzmir, Municipalities in cooperation with local authorities, Red Crescent and a Roma NGO provided food parcels and hygiene kits as well as cash assistance; in Edirne, Municipality embraced “crisis municipalism approach” and provided regular food parcels to Roma neighbourhoods and regularly disinfected the streets; in Manisa, the Municipality provided food assistance to quarantined Roma neighbourhood; in Tekirdağ, the Municipality employed Roma musicians and in Canik/Samsun food parcels were also distributed in Roma neighbourhoods.

Moreover, Zero Discrimination Association in cooperation with local authorities and municipalities, through the Roma Solidarity Network provided food, hygiene kits and clothing to scores of Roma families in different parts of Turkey, including Balıkesir, Şanlıurfa and Gaziantep.

Apart from these positive examples, some municipalities do not take measures specially designed for the Roma. While many provide social aid to disadvantaged groups, as many Roma are illiterate and many lack access to internet, they cannot even apply for this assistance. While Zero Discrimination Association tries to facilitate their access, there is a need for sustainable and permanent mechanisms. On the other hand of the spectrum, unfortunately, some municipalities employed discriminatory practices. One of the municipalities refrained from disinfecting a Roma neighbourhood, on their ill-founded assumption that “Roma are already infected and that there is no need to disinfect”. In another district, the needs of the Roma were disregarded on the misfortunate belief that “Roma are already used to hunger and thirst”. In some cities, Roma’s need for social assistance were stigmatized on the again unfounded prejudice of Roma’s laziness and lack of will for hard work.

Image: “Mücadele olmadan yaşam olmaz” means “There is no life without struggle”. Written on the wall of a Roma Neighbourhood.

Social Media Accounts – Roma Solidarity Network
Facebook: @romandayanisma
Instagram: @romandayanisma
Twitter: @romandayanisma
Social Media Accounts – Zero Discrimination Association
Facebook: @SifirAyrimcilikDernegi
Instagram: @sifirayder
Twitter: @sifirayder

News from Slovo 21

Recent activities of ERGO member Slovo 21

Slovo 21 has been very active in the last weeks, focusing their efforts on their contributions to ERGO Network’s Annual Work Programme Roma Included in Social Europe (RIISE).

National Roma Integration Strategy:

Since May 2020 NGO Slovo 21 has been organizing meetings with the network of Roma NGOs in the Czech Republic  to discuss the Strategy of Roma Integration 2021 – 2030. Roma representatives met with the coordinators of the Strategy (SRI) at the Office of the Government to express disagreement with the SRI prepared by the government. On June 19th, Roma representatives together with the relevant government resorts met with EU Commission desk officers to discuss the SRI. So far, Roma NGOs cooperate closely and prepare suggestions for new goals of the SRI in order to reach the best results and to include Roma indicators in new SRI.

Community-Led Local Development

On May 21st Slovo 21 met with the representatives from the newly built Roma Centre in Náchod to discuss further cooperation between local authorities, Local Action Group (LAG) and the Roma community in Náchod city. We were informed about the achievements and planned activities. After the meeting with the Roma representatives, we met with the representatives of LAG Stolové Hory to discuss future cooperation with the Roma community from Náchod city, the membership of NGO Slovo 21 in LAG Stolové Hory and our contribution to CLLD.

On 29 June, we met with Roma activists to prepare our next steps. We targeted issues and discussed about a survey to find out the needs of the Roma community in Náchod city. We then met with the mayor of Náchod to discuss our cooperation and offer our activities to the city, including the organization of a festival of Roma culture in Náchod. The meeting was successful: The mayor is positive about the planned activities and is supporting the festival.

On 15 June, we also met with representatives of the LAG Opavsko to learn about opportunities, discuss issues of the Roma community and plan a meeting with the mayor of the city – Budišov and Budišovkou.

CLLD Capacity-Building

On 29/30 May, Seven Roma women – the local coordinators from five different Czech localities – participated in a two-day capacity building meeting in Prague. During the meeting participants received information about the CLLD process, small grants and future activities. An important part of the capacity building meeting was to share  experiences, challenges and successes with the cooperation with local authorities and plan the next steps of their work.

From 26-28 June, more than 15 Roma women participated in the next capacity building meeting together with their local coordinators. During the meeting, the Roma women from 5 localities improved their competences to work in the CLLD process. Our goal was to inform them about the CLLD process and the activities they could organize in their localities. The meeting was organized together with the coordinator of Roma women group Manushe.

Amaro Drom: Jekhipe – Together

Jekhipe – Together

German ERGO Network member Amaro Drom produced two interesting online lectures by Prof. Dr. Hristo Kyuchukov that are dedicated to 8th April, the International Romani Day and 16th May, the Romani Resistance Day. These lectures were recorded within the framework of the project „Jekhipe – Together” in video format due to restrictions caused by COVID-19 epidemics. Both lectures are recorded in Romani language and subtitles in English and German are also provided in order to cover a wide audience.

Activities of Slovo 21

Meeting with representatives from NGO Centrum Inkluze within the CLLD

On 6 March Slovo 21 organized a meeting with 3 representatives from the NGO Centrum Inkluze in Suchdol nad Odrou with the aim to share information within the Local Action Group Opavsko. The NGO Centrum Inkluze is based in Budišov nad Budišovkou, where a high number of Roma live. Slovo 21 shared information on grant opportunities such as “Small Leader” within the LAG Opavsko and on other grants focused on education, culture and environment. During the meeting we agreed on future steps to build a Community Centre in Budišov nad Budišovkou, which would be used for educational and cultural programmes not only for Roma but also for the majority. Our next steps include cooperation with Roma women from this locality led by one of the representative.

Cooperation in Náchod

Slovo 21 works closely with NGO Roma Community Centre Náchod. For many years our Roma women’s group Manushe together with representatives from the NGO Roma Community Centre implement activities within the project “Jileha”. Now we are focusing on  empowering Roma girls with the aim to reduce early pregnancy and, as a consequence of this, early school dropout. We now made contact with the Local Action Group Stolové Hory, of which Nachod is a part. Through this contact we will cooperate with the Roma Community Centre in the field of education.

 On 3 March we met with the Member of Parliament and mayor of Náchod city. We agreed on long term cooperation and solved issues concerning Roma pupils in elementary schools. Náchod city will also support cultural and sport activities organized by local Roma. All mentioned activities will be financed from the budget of Náchod city and from the projects of Slovo 21.

For 18 years already Slovo 21 supports activities of the local Roma Women’s group Manushe, which has a great impact on activating the local community. One of the result is the visit of Roma Community Centre by Minister of Labour and Social Affairs, Jana Maláčová.

Activities of FAGIC

National Training – Roma Youth Voice

FAGIC has been chosen to implement on national level in Spain the activities of the European project “Roma Youth Voices” led by Phiren Amenca and TernYpe. In the framework of the project we organized a National Training course about social and political participation for Roma youngsters from all Spain in February 2020. The aim of the project is to empower young people to ensure a more effective participation of young Roma in the political life. Roma youth is the future and they need to be aware of it!

You can follow the development of the project here:


R-HOME: Focus groups

FAGIC is currently developing a project about housing called R-HOME (Roma, Housing, Opportunities, Mobility and Empowerment). The project aims to analyze the situation of housing for Roma people in 5 different countries (Italy, France, Spain, Romania and Hungary). To do so we are taking part in a transnational investigation on housing .You can find more information on the project here:

In the framework of the research activities we have led two focus groups with experts, representatives of the local Roma community and other organizations working on housing for people in marginal situations.