2014 Phiren Amenca Annual Report

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Phiren Amenca


annual report 2014



Phiren Amenca


annual report 2014

ErzsĂŠbet krt. 17. V./19. 1073 Budapest, Hungary Email: info@phirenamenca.eu



1. network developments 2014 was a successful year in which many young Roma and non-Roma participated in our programs. We continued the elaboration of our long-term strategy and took our structural development to a new level. The year started well, with the first Phiren Amenca volunteer seminar on gender and intersectionality and a Networking Meeting in the same week, which gave the opportunity to the participants of both meetings to meet and to interact with each other. These spring events marked the starting point for our network to develop an intersectional concept enabling us to become aware of multiple-discrimination and thereby become more inclusive. The Networking Meeting opened the doors to successful new partnerships, as we welcomed seven new member organizations – a sign that our work is attracting attention and interest. Almost all of them are already hosting volunteers. Phiren Amenca has organized and participated in a growing number of international activities, including the European Youth Event of the European Parliament and the Roma Genocide Remembrance Initiative. A main focus in the last year was to strengthen our work on human rights education, especially related to the Roma Genocide and we will continue to elaborate a substantial concept connecting human rights education, remembrance and voluntary service. Further, since March 2014 we have a new board consisting of five people. In 2014 we also completed the legal formalization in Brussels successfully, which opens up new possibilities for the future. Our programs are expanding and developing more focus at the same time, so we are proud of our achievements in this year and positive for future possibilities and partnerships. March 2015, The Phiren Amenca Board of Directors


2. voluntary service the volunteer program We believe that volunteering is a powerful tool for social change, as volunteers dedicate their time and energy to contribute to society. Based on national and international voluntary service programs, the Phiren Amenca network creates opportunities for young Roma and non-Roma to live and engage in local communities and projects for up to one year contributing to the daily work of organizations in any social field. Placement themes may include youth and sport activities, social inclusion, arts and culture, environment and human rights. In exchange for their engagement, the volunteers benefit from an unforgettable life experience, intercultural learning, non-formal education, and new language skills.

voluntary service with Phiren Amenca Phiren Amenca voluntary service placements offer various learning and service opPhiren Amenca Networking Meeting 2014 portunities with the aim to challenge stereotypes and racism as the root causes of social exclusion and marginalization of Roma. As Roma and nonRoma, we want to create a mutual dialogue and equal opportunities for all young people in our societies, especially through giving equal access to voluntary service.


Phiren Amenca network supports and encourages volunteers in this learning experience through seminars on intercultural learning, Roma history and cultures, civil rights activism and empowerment, as well as discrimination, mechanisms of exclusion, antigypsyism and racism today. Voluntary service organizations in the Phiren Amenca network are European and North American non-profit bodies sending and/or hosting these young adults, and providing support such as mentoring, on-arrival, mid-term and pre-departure seminars, pocket money, room, board, language support and insurance.

the program in 2014 In 2014 over 40 volunteers, both Roma and non-Roma from 12 countries, participated in the Phiren Amenca program in placements in 10 countries. While the program is based on a stable number of hosting placements of our member organizations, each year a few specific projects allow young people to realize their services with new partners, e.g. in the United States. The projects are mainly financed by the European Voluntary Service of the European Commission, by the French “service civique”, by the German voluntary service program, or by self-financed programs.

PA voluntary service guide As a result of the “capacity-building program for Roma organizations in voluntary service”, in December 2013 Phiren Amenca published a new information guide for partner organizations of voluntary service programs in the Phiren Amenca network. This guide shall serve especially new organizations to get an overview of the program, and the roles and responsibilities of the partner organizations. It also represents a first step towards establishing quality guidelines for voluntary service. The guide includes the following chapters: • • •


Why voluntary service? Various funding programs for voluntary service The partners and their roles

• • • • •

Hosting volunteers and quality guidelines Sending volunteers, selection and preparation The finances and management What does Phiren Amenca offer? How to start a voluntary service program

guidelines and educational methods on intersectionality In the Phiren Amenca spring seminar 2014 “Beyond Roma and Diversity” participants worked on the topics of intersectionality and multiple-discrimination. It became clear that the position and opportunities of every person in society are not defined by merely one characteristic, but by the interdependencies of many different factors such as race, gender, class, age, ability, education, religion or sexuality. Due to the work of Phiren Amenca it is important that volunteers reflect on their positions. Further the placements and voluntary service organizations have to develop competencies and awareness on the topic. As a final result of the seminar gender-guidelines where developed. The guidelines are now reworked and included into the 2nd edition of the “Boogie Man Complex” handbook. This enables easy access to the topic and includes them into the daily work of the network. The new chapter on intersectionality is structured into two parts. The first part includes the “intersectionality guidelines” with the following topics: awareness raising, language, communication/ public relations and reflections on voluntary service and seminars. The different topics are explained by a short introduction, followed by some practical check-lists for daily use and further reading suggestions. The second part compiles a collection of methods on intersectionality, reflecting power structures and positionality. The chapter is enclosed by a list of resources and partner-organizations as well as a glossary explaining the most important words on the topic.


Platform of former volunteers “Have you had a voluntary service filled with experiences? Are you looking for a space to keep your impressions alive? Do you want to stay active after your voluntary service?� Questions such as these came up during the evaluation of a Phiren Amenca seminar in Florence in 2013, and we discovered that many of us were confronted with the same matters. During this fruitful discussion we felt that the first step in the direction of a solution seemed to be exchange and talking to each other. This inspired us to start a platform of former and current Phiren Amenca volunteers and we defined the following aims as fundamental objectives: 1) Room for exchange (What is going on in different cities? Implement one action in different places and share ideas, information, flyers and posters.) 2) Support each other when we face problems (during our voluntary service or after) 3) Create a group of facilitators for training courses (e.g. stereotypes, discrimination, methods, theater). In March 2014, a group of devoted and motivated volunteers met in Budapest in order to create the new Volunteer Platform. During discussions and brainstorming the idea of the platform took shape: Not only the structure of voluntary services is in our interest, but also the exchange of experience and information. We want to strengthen the voice of volunteers in the organization of volunteering and achieve an active engagement in the mission of Phiren Amenca. Over the next year we had several informal meetings to continue


the process of establishing a group of current and former volunteers. In fall 2014 we came up with the idea to bring the platform into existence through an event organized by the platform itself. And the framework for this event was just staring us in the face: The European Youth Capital 2015 in Cluj, Romania. Phiren Amenca started the fundraising and then handed over the responsibility to the Platform of Volunteers. The first preparatory meetings took place in Cluj, and over 25 creative activists came for two days to Budapest in order to put down roots for our summer festival ‘So keres, Europa?! Changemakers Movement’ which will take place in Cluj in July 2015. This event will allow the Volunteer Platform to demonstrate the strength of the voice of young Roma and Non-Roma through activism. contact us!


So Keres, Europa?!

Changemakers Movement in Cluj in July 2015 Cluj-Napoca was selected to hold the title of the European Youth Capital 2015 – A considerable occasion to raise the voice of Roma youth on a European level! From July 12 to 19, 2015 Phiren Amenca and its partners will organize the “International Forum of the Roma Youth Movement” in ClujNapoca to create debate, reflection, and common engagement of Roma and non-Roma youth activists. We want to strengthen the international structure of volunteers, to raise the visibility of Roma youth self-organization among youth organizations, to “Share Romano Suno” –the dream of young Roma” within the European Youth Capital event and beyond. Over 250-300 young Roma and non-Roma youth activists and youth leaders from 15 European countries will be brought together for a multifaceted program, including seminars, interactions with the local communities, local 48 hour actions and a public event. This occasion constitutes a great opportunity and chance to get involved with the Phiren Amenca volunteer platform, to explore opportunities and methods of engagement and create a team for the preparation of the International Roma Youth Forum in Cluj-Napoca. 9

igbal volunteer


y name is Igbal. I come from Macedonia. For almost ten years I have been engaged in the NGO sector and I visited a lot of non-formal trainings and have completed a degree in pedagogy. In 2013 I did my voluntary service in Amaro Drom/ Foro e.V in Berlin. Currently I am working as a social consultant in Romani language and prepare my Master’s studies. I did my voluntary service in Berlin, in an organization that works with Roma and non-Roma people. My job as a volunteer was to work with preschool children. I finished pedagogical university majoring in preschool education, so for me it was like preparing for my profession as a preschool educator. I learned many new methods of working with children and I will use them in the future. I also worked with young people in different activities, and it was a pleasure to work and spend time with them. In fall I got involved in writing a new project for the organization, as well as assisting in the realization of projects and completing administrative work in


the organization. The EVS was also important to me because I have gained some knowledge that might be helpful to me in future employment; such as experience working with children as mentioned before, to speak the German language, and gaining new experiences with organizing different types of events like conferences, workshops etc. So, for young people who want to engage for something useful and get international experiences, I recommend applying for an EVS project in the area in which they wish to gain experience.


My favorite experience was the Phiren Amenca seminar in Italy. We made a flashmob against school segregation and we were able to reach a big public in the center of Florence. This was the biggest flashmob I took part in.

It is important to challenge the stereotypes connected to Roma. As Roma I want to create equal opportunities for all people in our societies

The mission of Phiren Amenca is one of the most important aims that an international network dealing with youngsters regarding the voluntary services can have. It is important to challenge the stereotypes connected to Roma. As Roma I want to create equal opportunities for all people in our societies because at my work I see lot of discrimination against Roma and the people tell me about their experiences.

I want to start my Master’s studies and I am already engaged in challenging antigypsyism with my work in the social contact point of Amaro Foro e.V.. Antigypsyism comes from majority society, therefore to challenge it successfully, there should be a dialogue established between Roma and non-Roma. I continue to work voluntarily in the area of the women’s programs and youth program in the organization Amaro Foro e.V..


3. education & training volunteer seminar concept

Each spring and fall, in cooperation with member organizations, Phiren Amenca hosts a one week seminar for current volunteers, volunteer candidates and former volunteers from around Europe. The seminars focus on the exchange of experience and on Roma history, antigypsyism, discrimination, stigmatization, xenophobia, identity and culture, globalization and migration, as well as youth engagement, empowerment, and Roma initiatives in Europe. Additionally, Phiren Amenca organizes preparatory seminars and small-scale weekend seminars for volunteers and young people.

“The European Boogie Man Complex� Educational toolkit on challenging antigypsyism Phiren Amenca published, together with the Youth Department of the Council of Europe, an educational toolkit on challenging antigypsyism through non-formal education in the context of the Roma Youth Action Plan. The toolkit raises key issues such as the concept of antigypsyism, history and narratives about Roma, migration issues, and the challenge of comic books for Roma people. Moreover, it provides several educational activities to challenge antigypsyism, for instance a resourcebased workshop on Roma history narratives, a role-play of a stakeholders’ conference on the migration issue, and a discussion on minority strategies based on the X-Men comics/movie drawing parallels to Martin Luther King Jr. and Malcolm X in the U.S. civil rights movement. Based on the seminars of 2014, the publication

free download 12

printed copies available from Phiren Amenca

is currently extended to include chapters on intersectionality, gender, migration, remembrance and human rights. (Phiren Amenca, 120 pages, online: http://phirenamenca.eu/theeuropean-boogie-man-complex-educational-toolkit/)

spring seminar: “Beyond Roma and Diversity” “Beyond Roma and Diversity! Phiren Amenca Study Session on Gender, Multiple Discrimination and Intersectionality” ran from March 16 – 22, 2014 in the European Youth Centre Budapest, Hungary, and was organized in cooperation with the Council of Europe. 40 Roma and non-Roma volunteers, volunteer candidates, and youth leaders came together from 15 countries across Europe and North America. The study session strengthened the capacity of the participants to challenge stereotypes, antigypsyism, and gender based discrimination in the context of their work as young Roma and non-Roma multipliers and activists to fight discrimination and promote inclusion. The participants developed guidelines on gender and intersectionality for Phiren Amenca and its member organizations, and educational tools are being further developed for the educational work of the network. video at



fall seminar: “Roma, migration and human rights” The seminar “Roma, migration and human rights – Seminar on Human Rights Education for Youth Leaders” organized by Phiren Amenca and VISA L’Année Diaconale brought together 40 Roma and non-Roma youth leaders and youth activists from around Europe for six days in Buhl/Strasbourg in France. The seminar enabled multipliers and youth activists to create a platform of exchange of experiences, practices, and methods for young people and youth organizations on how to address migration, antigypsyism and human rights issues in grassroots, national and international youth actions, and how to strengthen the awareness and mobilization of young people for these issues. The seminar was designed to share experiences between the participating organizations, to increase the knowledge and awareness of participants on the migration issue, and to reflect about the effects of migration on the human rights of young Roma.

video at



Roma Youth Action Plan Roma Youth Action Plan was born in 2011 as a response of the Council of Europe to two types of challenges: the ones faced by Roma young people in European society, and to the absence of Roma youth issues and concerns in the policies and programs of European institutions. The plan aims to increase the capacity of Roma youth organizations, to strengthen the identity of young Roma, to strengthen human rights and human rights education, and to combat discrimination and antigypsyism. Between 2012 and 2014, Phiren Amenca organized various study sessions in cooperation with the Council of Europe in the framework of the Roma Youth Action Plan, including a study session on antigypsyism, and on intersectionality and gender, as well as a National Human Rights TrainingCourse on Human Rights Education for Roma youth leaders in Hungary.


denisa volunteer


am a Slovak Romani and I come from Eastern Slovakia. I am 24 years old and currently I am studying law at Comenius University in Bratislava, Slovakia. Since 2010 I have been involved in youth activism and minority issues, especially the Roma minority. I started with an internship at the Milan Ĺ imeÄ?ka Foundation in Bratislava, which is a human rights oriented NGO, where I got more familiar with the topic of human rights, minority issues, and governmental politics taken towards the Roma community and I got experience in communication with the national institutions and governmental bodies in Slovakia. After that I was involved in activities of other national NGOs where I developed my skills and this is how I got to know Phiren Amenca. I have



participated in their activities, which led to my engagement in voluntary service in France last year. Le Rimlishof is a placement which offers very diverse activities. It is a center for conferences, meetings, and workshops and the staff has a special sensitivity about the diversity of people. Thus, one of their missions is to organize events for different target groups: for children, handicapped people, My experience in this as well as various cultural events. project is unforgettable.

I have learned so much Their mission is also to provide support to families demanding asylum in as a person and also France by accommodating them professionally. and accompanying them in their process of application and helping them to integrate. As a volunteer, I worked closely with these families and this was my project mission. I proposed activities for them and accompanied them in their daily routines and provided administrative support in the asylum process. My experience in this project is unforgettable. I have learned so much as a person and also professionally. I would say one of the most important experiences in this voluntary project was the knowledge I got about the whole process of demanding asylum in France, how it functions, the French legal system related to asylum, and the obstacles these people face while demanding asylum. I had a chance, with my colleague, to get familiar with all the steps these families go through, from the very first moment they enter France and make a demand. We visited other accommodation places. This was crucial for us to better understand from where these families come to Rimlishof and where they go after it, because they do not stay in one placement, but the governmental institution moves them according to the process of demand. Phiren Amenca gives support to young people in many ways, one of them is participating in voluntary work and projects. This possibility is a chance for young people to discover their potential, to develop personally and professionally and to see the world in different colors.



Phiren Amenca creates an energetic environment by connecting Roma and non-Roma which is necessary in order to stand up against racism and antigypsyism.

It gives us the chance to challenge other people’s stereotypes and plus, our own stereotypes are also challenged. In my case, the asylum seekers challenged my stereotypes about different religions (I am Christian) by discussing with them or mostly just by living by their side.

Racism is not a new phenomenon, it has deep roots in the history and it is essential to mobilize young people who are passionately asking for an open society, respectful society, a society without racism. Phiren Amenca creates an energetic environment by connecting Roma and non-Roma which is necessary in order to stand up against racism and antigypsyism. After graduating with a bachelor degree from law, I would like to continue my studies at Central European University in Budapest, in human rights law. As a human rights lawyer I want to specialize in asylum law and protection of minorities’ rights. My dream job would be working as a lawyer at the European Court of Human Rights in Strasbourg, France or at the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees in Geneve, Switzerland. I want to continue to gain more experience and knowledge about challenging antigypsyism in order to properly react and to find ways to challenge it. I think antigypsyism is something still developing and shaping and is a dangerous threat and that is why we cannot be using still the same methods, but trying to find ways how to effectively respond to it.


4. Remembrance Education on the Roma Genocide “If the world does not change now, if the world does not open its doors and windows, if it does not build peace -- true peace -so that my great-grandchildren have a chance to live in this world, then I cannot explain why I survived Auschwitz, Bergen-Belsen, and Ravensbrück.” Ceija Stojka (1933 - 2013)

Survivor of the Holocaust Romani writer, painter and musician

Photo by Ludowig Versace


20Photo by Marton Nemenyi

the Roma genocide The Roma were among the primary victims of the Holocaust based on the Nazi ideology of “racial purity”, leading to severe discrimination, persecution and genocide in concentration camps, mass shootings, and other forms. An estimated 500.000 Roma were killed during the Roma Genocide of World War II. As on August 2, 1944 the Nazis killed the remaining 2897 Roma women, men and children in the “Gypsy Family Camp” in Auschwitz, we remember this day as the Remembrance Day of the Roma Genocide. Previously, on 16 May 1944 the Roma successfully resisted the murderous actions of the Nazis, which many Romani organizations recently started to remember as the “Romani Resistance Day”. Due to the lack of recognition of the fate of the Roma under the Nazi Regime, the Roma Genocide was often referred to as the “forgotten Holocaust” which seems still valid today. It was not until 1982 that the government of West Germany officially recognized the Roma Genocide. In 2011 the Polish Parliament passed a resolution for the official recognition of August 2 as a remembrance day, which was followed in 2014 by Croatia.

www.2august.eu 21

Roma Genocide Remembrance Initiative International Youth Event in Krakow Phiren Amenca was actively involved in the Roma Genocide Remembrance Initiative 2014 organized by ternYpe – International Roma Youth Network. ternYpe and its partners, including Phiren Amenca have held Europe’s biggest series of events marking the 70th anniversary of the Roma Holocaust in Krakow and AuschwitzBirkenau, Poland. 1.000 young Roma and non-Roma from 25 European countries, representing about 60 Roma and non-Roma organizations, participated in the five-day series of events. On the 2nd of August the 1.000 young people commemorated the victims of the Roma Genocide and had a wreath-laying ceremony at the memorial site of the former Auschwitz-Birkenau Nazi death-camp. During the Roma Genocide Remembrance Initiative project, over 70 workshops took place from July 31 until August 4. In these workshops youth could learn about the Roma Genocide, meet with survivors, and discuss human rights, antigypsyism, and empowerment strategies. Volunteers and staff members from Phiren Amenca lead drama workshops, shared creative non-formal methods, and organized a living library. They also organized a Phiren Amenca Café during the entire event to promote voluntary service and motivate youth activists and youth organizations to get interested in international voluntary services. In the Phiren Amenca Living Library participants could engage in a conversation with a person they might not meet in daily life and challenge their own stereotypes by listening to this person’s life story. From Hungary, organized by Phiren Amenca, 120 school students and youth activists, as well as a Roma Genocide survivor participated in the events. The “Romano Glaso” band from Hungary joined and had concerts and a performance in the Galicia Jewish Museum, where they performed their Holocaust


Ballad “The girl who was danced to death.” ternYpe, Phiren Amenca, and other partners issued a joint statement stating: “We are the last generation that still has genuine links with survivors of the Holocaust, and it is our duty to preserve and pass on the memory of the horror to posterity.” With this statement we would like to share our mission to work further on the Roma Genocide remembrance and to motivate our youth and volunteers to join us during this work. The Roma Genocide Remembrance Initiative took place under the auspices of the Secretary General of the Council of Europe, Mr Thorbjørn Jagland and the Honorary Patronage of the President of the European Parliament, Mr. Martin Schulz. The project was supported by the International Holocaust Remembrance Alliance, the Council of Europe, and the Europe for Citizens Programme of the European Commission. The Phiren Amenca group was supported by Renovabis, local and national partner organizations, and private donations. Photo by Marton Nemenyi


Council of Europe handbook:

“Right to Remember - A handbook for education with young people on the Roma Genocide” This handbook is intended for youth workers in non-formal educational settings working both with Roma or non-Roma young people in order to raise awareness of young people the Roma genocide, and to stimulate a critical reflection and debate about the causes and mechanisms of persecution, about the moral and human rights dimension of the genocide, and the relevancy of Remembrance and Holocaust Education nowadays for young people. Written by Ellie Keen, Edited by Rui Gomes, published by the Youth Department of the Council of Europe.

downlaod at


“Manushengi Krisi” – Training Course on Human Rights in Hungary “Manushengi Krisi” – National Human Rights Training Course was organized by Phiren Amenca to develop the competences of young Roma and non-Roma trainers and multipliers in non-formal education, and to build a network of Roma and non-Roma trainers and youth organizations on the local level. 30 Roma and non Roma participants came together from all around Hungary with different backgrounds for five days of training. The course was a contribution of non-formal education about the implementation of the Council of Europe Charter on Education for Democratic Citizenship and Human Rights Education. The training program was based on the approaches and methodologies of Compass, the manual for human rights education with young people, and


took place in the European Youth Centre Budapest, Hungary during 6 – 12 July 2014. The course was supported by the Council of Europe Youth Department as an integral part of its Human Rights Education Youth Programme and the Roma Youth Action Plan. video at


International Youth Conference on Antigypsyism in Vienna Phiren Amenca attended the first International Roma Youth Conference on Antigypsyism which was held in Vienna between November 10 and 16, 2014. The conference was organized by Phiren Amenca’s member organization, Romano Centro, and its partner organizations. 70 young Roma and non-Roma activists came together from 12 countries to exchange their experiences about antigypsyism and discuss their ideas, initiatives, activities and open questions concerning this topic. During the conference, participants had the opportunity to learn from each other and from experts, about how racism can be met in various fields. Participants organized a press conference, a public flashmob, media action, and a theatre performance in a public event. As part of the youth conference on November 15, the participants organised a commemoration ceremony in Lackenbach. In November of 1940 the “Gypsy Camp” in Lackenbach was set up and where, between 1940-1945, hundreds of Roma died.


International March of the Living In April 2014, after a huge march in Budapest, six hundred participants boarded a train from the Keleti railway station to Auschwitz to be part of the International March of the Living. 30 Roma and non-Roma youngsters from the Phiren Amenca International Network joined the delegation in rememberance of the victims of the Holocaust. The more than 15 thousand participants were wearing blue jackets and started their walk in Auschwitz, from the former death camp’s notorius gate (with the sign „Arbeit macht frei”) to Camp II. After the hour and a half long march, the participants arrived at Birkenau, to honor the millions killed in the Holocaust. This year the Hungarian delegation led the march. Jewish and Romani youth were carrying together the 20 meter long and 5 meter wide national symbol of Hungary. Behind the national Hungarian flag the youngsters from Phiren Amenca were also carrying one of the Romani symbols, the Roma flag. It was the first time that many participants from Phiren Amenca had been to Auschwitz-Birkenau.


Romani Resistance Day on May 16 On this day which we celebrate as Romani Resistance Day, the Roma inmates of the so-called “Gypsy camp” of AuschwitzBirkenau showed unimaginable courage when they stood up and resisted the SS 70 years ago, on 16 May 1944. The Tom Lantos Institute and Phiren Amenca organised a roundtable and a training session on “The Roma Genocide: Recognition, Remembrance, Education” on Friday 16 and Saturday 17 May. The round table brought local and international experts together, and stressed the necessity to bring back this dark and largely unknown and untaught period of history into the Hungarian and European collective memory. One day after this event, the Tom Lantos Institute and Phiren Amenca gathered a group of youngsters in the premises of the March of the Living Hungary for a training session on the teaching about the Roma genocide. The group had the opportunity to discover and discuss various methodological tools and approaches used in Holocaust education and potentially useful to address the issue of the Roma genocide with young people, in particular the IWitness Platform of USC Shoah Foundation.

March of Peace to commemorate the Srebrenica Genocide Phiren Amenca was partner in an international youth event around the commemoration days in July 2014 in Srebrenica organized in the framework of the Roma Genocide Remembrance Initiative by


Roma Onlus, Romska Suza, and ternYpe International Roma Youth Network. The massacre of Srebrenica (a town in eastern Bosnia and Herzegovina) was the worst episode of mass murder within Europe since WorldWar II. In the context of the Bosnian war, it refers to the slaying of more than 8,000 Bosnian Muslims, including Roma, boys and men, perpetrated by Bosnian Serb forces in Srebrenica, in July 1995. In addition to the killings, more than 20,000 civilians were expelled from the area—a process known as ethnic cleansing. The International Criminal Tribunal for the Former Yugoslavia— established before the massacre—concluded that the killings at Srebrenica, compounded by the mass expulsion of Bosnian civilians, amounted to genocide. Each year the March of Peace, with thousands of participants from around the world, takes place from Tuzla to Srebrenica, where the victims of the genocide are commemorated on July 11, the remembrance day.


youth activism and education for remembrance in Hungary The Hungarian participants of the Roma Genocide Remembrance event in Krakow met in a follow-up seminar on November 22-23, 2014. The educational program aimed to engage Roma and nonRoma young people and youth organizations from Hungary in education and remembrance of the Roma Genocide. The seminar aimed to create space for them to share their experiences, as well as to empower and support them to organize educational and awareness-raising activities in their local communities. The activities included a meeting with an African-American human rights activist, a film screening and discussion with the film director of “Judgement in Hungary� about the marathon trail of the unprecedented serial killing against Roma in Hungary, an exhibition and concerts. The meeting allowed the youth activists to plan and prepare further local actions related to Roma Genocide remembrance and present-day discrimination. Phiren Amenca is committed to continue this process and to involve the participants in a longterm vision to develop educational strategies about the Roma Genocide in Hungary.


seo volunteer


y name is Seo Cizmic, I am Roma and born in Italy. I am the son of immigrants from ex-Yugoslavia who came to Italy in the seventies. I have an education as a swimming teacher, an intercultural mediator, and studied art at college in Genova. This allowed me to develop my work as a swimming teacher, mediator in schools as well as artistic theater projects on local and national level.



FAGIC is a network of Roma organizations and I did my voluntary service in one of them. Nakeramos is one of the most active organizations on local, national and international levels. Therefore, I could transmit my volunteering experience to many young Roma. I could also get The voluntary service to know the different organizations in which Nakeramos allows you to demystify the participates.

stereotypes associated with yourself as well as with other people with who you interact during your service.

Barcelona offers many tools for dialogue with the administration in which Roma get a voice by taking part as organizations or individuals. Nakeramos has projects to support children between six and fourteen at school, to support courses of literacy and obtaining a driving license for adults, as well as flamenco music projects. The most important field of activity on the grassroots level is the youth work, which creates spaces for, and a network of, young Roma and non-Roma from all over Spain. The voluntary service experience gave me the opportunity to explore other realities and the diversity of Roma. I got to know the


work other Roma organizations develop on the grassroots level within communities, as well as the bodies that have developed to directly communicate with government administrations. This experience allows me to apply new tools in my home town, which help me to improve the social and cultural cohesion of our Roma community. Phiren Amenca works at the European level, which gives youth the possibility to get to know different realities and cultures of our ethnicity. The voluntary service allows you to demystify the stereotypes associated with yourself as well as with other people with who you interact with during your service. The voluntary service experience allowed me to get to know different platforms of activists and to continue my participation in them. Currently, I am engaged in initiatives at the local, national, and European levels on the creation of artistic tools which contribute to spread the knowledge of the Roma genocide, a sad and unknown chapter of our history.


5. projects Capacity-building of Roma organizations Phiren Amenca offers a platform of learning and quality development through various means, including the annual network meeting, the volunteer seminars, and the coordination office based in Budapest. This includes capacity-building resourcing, and advice to partner organizations, to set-up voluntary service programs, to access the EU Erasmus+ program, to get EVS accreditation and manage the administrative requirements of the EU program, to develop a quality support plan for volunteers, and a long-term voluntary service strategy for the organization. The PA coordination office undertakes regular site visits with its member and partner organizations in order to strengthen cooperation within the network, giving support and services to both organizations and volunteers directly. In 2013 Phiren Amenca implemented the yearlong project, “Capacity-building of Roma organizations in Voluntary Service” with the support of Open Society Foundations. In 2014 Phiren Amenca focused on Slovakia and Romania, in 2015 on Bulgaria and Macedonia.

“Express Yourself” – International Youth Exchange “Express Yourself” Multi-art form exchange for young Roma and non Roma – Phiren Amenca youth exchange ran from August 16-25, 2014 in Normafa, Budapest. 30 Roma and non-Roma young people came together from Germany, Slovakia, Romania and Hungary to develop their creativity, imagination, and self-reflection; to


participate in multi-art-form workshops; and to create a final performance that could be presented in big squares in Budapest. The project aims were to use art as a tool to develop the dialogue between Roma and non-Roma, and to fight stereotypes and racism considering also the role as promoters and motivators that the participants could play. As a result of our youth exchange, we had flashmobs and short street performances to raise awareness about the racism against Roma in Europe, especially in Hungary. video at

youtube.com/watch?v=4z1Lftk_ SJE

New Wave in Roma Public Life

youth mobilization and participation in Hungary “New Wave in Roma Public Life” was a 20-month long youth democracy project supported by the Youth in Action Program, coordinated by Diagonál Hungary and Phiren Amenca. The group of youth activists wanted to be an important factor in the eyes of policy-makers and join to the decision-making processes. Also, the project aimed to multiply results in various regions, and establish Roma youth round tables, in order to express the opinions and results that come from the grassroots level of communities. The project consisted of trainings and seminars, the realization of small-scale local projects with mentor support, online activities, a study tour, and a closing conference. video at


European Youth Event in European Parliament Phiren Amenca participated in the European Youth Event 2014 which took place in May in Strasbourg. 30 young Roma and non-


Roma, most of them current or former volunteers, engaged to show that we are part of Europe and that we need to raise our voice for Roma. The team had an info stand in “YO village” in front of European Parliament, which was a unique occasion to meet with people from all over Europe, to share ideas and learn from each other through their experiences. Our group also took the opportunity to spread Phiren Amenca values and to attract the interest of more people to Roma issues, for example we held a workshop in the European Parliament in which we raised awareness on Roma youth unemployment. Another popular action next to our stand was part of ERGO’s WALL FREE EUROPE campaign. We invited the visitors to take part in our photo action and to stand together for Roma dignity. On the second day we organized a WALL FREE EUROPE flashmob with the aim to highlight the rise of far-right parties prior to the EU Elections and to raise-awareness on the new walls that have been built in Europe to segregate Roma citizens from their non-Roma neighbors. Phiren Amenca’s participation in European Youth Event 2014 showed that young Roma are visible in Europe and that they can be positive models. Photo by Nikolai Atefie

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norina volunteer


always find it a challenge when people ask me to say a few words about myself. Perhaps due to my job as teacher I find it easier to talk about other people, my students and the subject that I teach, than my own person. Nevertheless, I will do my best. And since I mentioned my job, I will begin by telling you I am an English teacher living and working in Cluj-Napoca, Romania, with a background in foreign languages and literature. I studied English and French Literature, then chose Irish Studies for my Master’s Degree due to my interest in post-colonialist theory and literature. I like to read, watch films, take long walks on the promenade, in the park, in the city centre with its historical


buildings, a city which, by the way, has been chosen as the European Youth Capital in 2015. Speaking of youth, I like working with young people, especially children, in multicultural contexts, diverse from an ethnic and linguistic point of view and I enjoy travelling, discovering and visiting cities, countries which offer this perspective.

“Open for Dialogue ” is the motto of the centre and the expression which best defines my voluntary service in Haus am Maiberg; working in a multicultural and multilingual environment, travelling a great deal, interacting with diverse people, getting closer, interacting and getting to know “otherness” and implicitly oneself.

How would you describe your voluntary service placement?

After having worked as a teacher for a short period while at the same time studying for my MA, in 2013 I decided to try something new, and the opportunity of doing a voluntary service abroad presented itself. Due to my previous work experience as a teacher in the public education system, I chose a voluntary service placement in the field of non-formal education. I did my voluntary service in a small town, in the West of Germany, at Haus am Maiberg Centre for Social and Civic Education where I worked within the International Youth Work Department, participating in organizing youth exchanges and expert exchanges on social, political and civic issues. “Offen fur Dialog” in translation “Open for Dialogue” is the motto of the centre and the expression which best defines my voluntary service in Haus am Maiberg; working in a multicultural and multilingual environment, travelling a great deal, interacting with diverse people, getting closer, interacting and getting to know “otherness” and, implicitly, oneself. Beyond facilitating exchanges, ellaborating materials for seminars, and doing research, outside the seminar room, the voluntary service was also an opportunity to learn a bit of German, get to know different people, and make some new friends. But also it was a period in which I was homesick and keenly felt the absence of family and friends. The voluntary service, the time spent away from home, has poignantly confirmed the closeness of family ties. Share one important personal experience of your voluntary


service with us. My voluntary service in general was a personal experience. Firstly, because it meant working with young people, teenagers, and working with people is always personal. Secondly, and perhaps most meaningful, organizing and facilitating exchanges, seminars which addressed topics such as democracy, participation, the European Union, gender, stereotypes, discrimination, racism, history, identity, in which debating, discussing and exchanging opinions with the “other,� forming and changing your opinions, making hypotheses and scenarios, were moments of challenge, of pure reflection, real moments of personal development... maybe not in the moment but later on- when after deep analysis and reflection true learning occurs. I find this intensely personal, since our way of thinking, our ideas, our opinions and our principles reflect our person, who we are.


Why is the Phiren Amenca mission to challenge stereotypes and racism important for you?

The past two decades have been fraught with social, economic, and historical changes, especially in Eastern Europe. The context has been of such nature that some things have been feigned, concealed, hushed, or silenced, and some needs of societychiefly the freedom of expressionwas, and is, keenly felt, and an ideal to be achieved. Although Europe Although Europe is well is well known and remarkable for known and remarkable for the ethnical and cultural diversity the ethnical and cultural of its population, the management of this diversity is a challenge- as diversity of its population, shown by growing intolerance, the management of this rising xenophobia, discrimination diversity is a challenge and hostility based on ethnicity, religious beliefs, gender, disability, as shown by growing and sexual orientation- which are intolerance, rising enhanced tenfold by the increased xenophobia, discrimination use of Internet and social networks, especially among young people and hostility...


who are exposed to dangerous hate speech, with Roma suffering the highest levels of abuse. In schools, the curriculum addresses the subject of multiculturalism superficially, leading to inadequate knowledge, inappropriate behaviour, and fear in daily life towards vulnerable categories. Living in a country which houses 19 national minorities, living in a region famous for its ethnic and cultural diversity, coming from a multicultural family with Roma origins, studying and teaching in a multicultural and multilingual environment, have given me an openness and appreciation for the richness --the value-- of diversity which, unfortunately, is very little harnessed and superficially promoted in the public discourse. Consequently, the mission of Phiren Amenca addresses and responds to the needs of society and to my needs of personal and professional development. What do you plan for your future and how will you engage in challenging Antigypsyism? I confess to having a reluctance in using the word Antigypsyism, due to linguistic and historical reasons, and because I find it limiting. My plans are not restricted to challenging Antigypsyism. I would like to cultivate knowledge and respect for “otherness,” irrespective of the differences. I consider teachers to have an important role in the education of the young generations, in the sense of knowledge, tolerance, and acceptance of “otherness,” by representing an authority and role model and I strive to support my students to live in a society with an open attitude towards diversity. I enjoy working with youth using the knowledge, competences and skills acquired in non-formal education during my voluntary service to address these issues.


6. advocacy & partnerships partnerships & cooperation Phiren Amenca maintains strong partnerships with the EDYN (Ecumenical Diaconal Year Network), ternYpe- International Roma Youth Network, ERGO Network (European Roma Grassroots Organizations Network), Youth of European Nationalities, European Union of Jewish Students, AGBU (Armenian General Benevolent Union), AFS / EFIL (American Field Service / European Federation for Intercultural Learning), Youth Peace Ambassadors, and Tom Lantos Institute.

hearing in the Employment Committee of the European Parliament Following Phiren Amenca’s participation in May 2014 with 30 Roma and non-Roma youth activists in the first European Youth Event in the European Parliament in Strasbourg, now in December 2014 Phiren Amenca coordinator Jonathan Mack was invited to bring some messages of the European Youth Event to the Employment Committee of the European Parliament. In a key statement Jonathan highlighted: “Many participants of the European Youth Event strongly addressed their concern about growing right-wing extremism, about hate speech, xenophobia and racism in Europe. In light of the European Parliament elections, many of us raised our voices that there is no space for right-wing extremist parties and racist ideologies in the European Parliament.”


Further, he addressed the lack of equal opportunities for young people from disadvantaged background, and he proposed to set up mechanisms and programs to ensure equal opportunities and inclusion in mobility programs for young people. International mobility programs, such as the European Voluntary Service, constitute great learning opportunities for young people to develop their intercultural competences, their language skills, and their capacity to succeed as autonomous young adults in the labor market. However, we perceive, but also various studies proove that these mobility programs remain a privilege of white middle class society, in particular young people with a higher education. The accessibility of the programs is quite limited for young people from disadvantaged backgrounds, for young Roma, and for young people with migrant backgrounds. Ensuring equal opportunities in mobility programs requires a clear monitoring and evaluation mechanisms which should be based on the participation of Roma, migrant, and minority youth organizations. Last but not least, he recommended to the European Parliament that the inclusion of Roma and minorities introduced again as priority and criterion in the Erasmus+ program, as previously initiated in the Youth in Action program.

Phiren Amenca contributes to European education policy on European Education, Training and Youth Forum 2014 Phiren Amenca International Network was invited by the European Commission to contribute and participate in the European Education, Training and Youth Forum on the topic “Future priorities of the ET 2020 Strategic Framework for European cooperation in education and


training�, which was organized by the European Commission on October 9-10, 2014 in Brussels. The Forum was a unique event bringing together policy makers, young people, civil society organizations, and experts from the education and training sector with the aim of stocktaking and developing priorities for the EU education and training strategy (ET 2020 Strategic Framework for European Cooperation in Education in Training).

ecumenical voluntary service organizations of EDYN meet in Bratislava EDYN (Ecumenical Diaconal Year Network) held its annual meeting in the beginning of November 2014 in Bratislava, which brought together diaconal voluntary service organizations from Europe and North America. Phiren Amenca had the opportunity to share the development of the network, and its experiences in voluntary services with Roma and non-Roma youth, as well as its educational programs to challenge stereotypes and racism. The annual meeting allowed networking among the EDYN member organizations, as well as intensive discussions about quality standards and measures for voluntary service programs. A local visit to various placements of international volunteers in Bratislava allowed participants to get familiar with the local realities, and to see some volunteers in their daily environment. Phiren Amenca and EDYN are not just connected by the common mission for quality long-term voluntary services, but they share a long history together. Around 2000 several EDYN member organizations founded the RGDTS Roma-Gadje Dialogue through Service Initiative which has developed after 15 years into the independent Phiren Amenca network, which brings Roma and non-Roma voluntary service organizations together.


ERGO Annual Members Platform brings Roma grassroots realities to European level Phiren Amenca participated as a guest in the Annual Members Europea n Platform of the ERGO network Roma (the European Roma Grassroots Grassro Organizations Network) which ots O r ganisatio took place in the beginning of n Network s December 2014 in Brussels. The meeting brought together over 25 Roma organizations from all over Europe to share experiences, practices, and to bring local realities to policy makers on a European level. The MEP Soraya Post (FI/S&D) hosted a hearing in the European Parliament on “Cohesion for All?” which was organized by ERGO Network and the Decade of Roma Inclusion Secretariat Foundation with a focus on structured funds for Roma inclusion, monitoring of Roma inclusion in Europe, and about integrated programming for Roma. The hearing featured many critical voices, questions and examples from grassroots level with the question, “Why exclusion remains high, and real change on the ground rare?” Moreover, the ERGO Platform presented results of the Wall Free Europe campaign and the Young Roma Advocates Program, and allowed the participating organizations the space to share experiences and discuss future priorities and collaborations.


7. structures members Amaro Drom, Germany CSD Diaconia Valdese, Italy Evangelische Freiwilligendienste (Protestant Voluntary Service), Germany FAGIC – Federación de Asociaciones Gitanas de Cataluña (Federation of Roma Assocations in Catalonia), Spain Nevo Parudimos, Romania Roma Active Albania, Albania Roma Education Centre (Osvetové centrum Rómov), Slovakia Roma-Gadje Dialogue Through Service , Hungary Romano Centro, Austria TOUCH Project Charitable Foundation, Ukraine VISA (L’Année diaconale), France Združenie Mladých Rómov (Association of young Roma), Slovakia Romà Onlus, Italy Romanitin, Romania Terno Drom, Germany Togetthere, Netherlands

board members

Astrid Oelpenich, Juraj Vozár, Daniel Grebeldinger, Judit Ignácz, Adriatik Hasantari

coordination office

Jonathan Mack (managing director), Marietta Herfort (program manager), Quintin Bart (communication), Sára Szilagyi (Roma Genocide Remembrance Initiative), Richard Otterness


Alexandra Bahor, Clémence Neyrat, Melinda Szabó, Vicente Rodriguez Fernandez, Kristell Caballero-Saucedo


general assembly Statutory meeting for member organizations, that follows the statutory responsibilities, election of the board, financial report, approval of budget, membership questions, and strategic decisions.

networking meeting Each spring Phiren Amenca hosts a 3-4 day “Phiren Amenca Annual Platform Meeting� bringing together member organizations, former volunteers and partner organizations in order to share experiences and practices, and to address annual thematic priorities and quality questions of our work.

board The board has five members representing the equal partnership


between Roma and non-Roma and striving for gender balance and participation of former volunteers. The Board is entitled to set up a coordination office in order to carry out the ongoing business of the association. The Board is responsible for all matters of the association not specifically assigned by law or the statutes of the association to the General Assembly.

coordination office Phiren Amenca maintains a coordination office and resource centre for the volunteers and member organizations in Budapest (which is currently the home of RGDTS non-profit kft.).

platform of former volunteers The volunteers are encouraged to continue their engagement even after the service in the platform of volunteers. The selforganized platform of volunteers and former volunteers creates further opportunities for non-formal education, dialogue, and engagement, and strengthens the role of the volunteers as multipliers and promoters of voluntary service. Phiren Amenca builds the capacity of young Roma and non-Roma former volunteers to become trainers of human rights education in its structures. Phiren Amenca gives a high priority to youth participation and the rights of volunteers within its own structures and work. The platform will meet in the framework of the annual meeting, including the General Assembly.


8. financial report summary In 2014, income increased one third from the previous year, staff costs remained approximately the same, and program and service output increased 60 %. Phiren Amenca concluded the year with a positive balance.







HUF 24.526.876

€ 85.053,49

HUF 33.770.000

€ 114.475,00

Activities and Services

HUF 13.894.275

€ 48.182,11

HUF 22.820.000

€ 77.356,00


HUF 9.762.329

€ 33.853,48

HUF 10.486.000

€ 35.544,40

€ 2.877,73

HUF 444.000


€ 140,16

HUF 20.000

€ 67,79

Income Expenses

HUF 829.854 Misc. Fees & Operating Costs

Year End Result

HUF 40.418

Note: Phiren Amenca contracts with a professional accountant with official books and financial records submitted to authorities in Hungarian forints (HUF). 2013: € 1 = HUF 288,37; 2014: € 1 = HUF 295.


donors and supporters

Erasmus+ Program, European Commission Europe for Citizens Program, European Commission European Youth Foundation, Council of Europe ICCO-Kerk in Actie Lifelong Learning Programme, European Commission Myers Foundation Open Society Foundations, Roma Initiatives Office Otto per Mille, Tavola Valdese Presbyterian Church (USA) Tempus Közalapítvány Renovabis and private donors

audit Phiren Amenca uses the services of a registered accounting service, Flexcont BT, Budapest. Kovács Mária, Budapest, conducts a professional audit. The auditor’s report is submitted in May of each year.


a network of Roma and non-Roma volunteers and voluntary service organizations creating opportunities for







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