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Volunteering for the empowerment of Roma youth


In many countries in Europe, Roma youth still face strong discrimination. Their exclusion from sporting competitions, school events, vocational training and community life often has a negative impact on their self-esteem.

The most common causes of exclusion are:

  • linguistic and cultural ”otherness”,
  • lower level of education,
  • poor functional literacy,
  • economic, social and political marginalisation,
  • lack of opportunities,
  • prejudice and lack of empathy on the part of the local population,
  • racism in schools, universities, on the street,
  • poverty,
  • lack of accessibility,
  • discriminatory words, gestures, hate speech.

For almost thirty years, the Association for the Development of Voluntary Work Novo mesto has been developing its social inclusion and integration programmes.

Currently, all of our programmes aim to establish daily, quality contact between the beneficiaries and the providers of the programme in order to implement activities that enable children to acquire new knowledge and skills, have positive experiences, maintain and expand their social network and spend quality leisure time. To provide and to meet the needs of our beneficiaries as well as Roma youth, daily, we prepare different activities, such as: group (social and creative workshops, workshops to develop social capital, active citizenship and intercultural dialogue, relaxation workshops, dance workshops, sports and board games, etc.) and individual (learning and homework help, language learning, counselling, information, advocacy).

What is it that the Roma community needs, as well as what NGOs can do about it:

  • improving the social inclusion of members of the Roma community in social processes in the wider social environment
  • promoting specific, active cultural participation and social inclusion of members of the Roma community, in accordance with their expressed cultural needs
  • promoting and strengthening the participation of members of the Roma community through empowerment, cooperation and trust
  • raising awareness among institutions and the public of the presence and negative effects of antigypsyism and discrimination and their elimination

How do volunteers help empower Roma youth?

  • help with learning tasks, workshops and leisure activities
  • get to know the young people, listen to their needs, see their way of life
  • it is rare that volunteers have a bad experience
  • because of the positive experiences they have working with Roma youth, they always come back, want to help, participate and pass on their motivation to Roma youth

Their presence and activities help to:

  • fighting stereotypes, racism and discrimination, hate speech, stigma, bullying motivation for better learning success
  • participation in cultural and sporting activities, round tables, Living Libraries
  • maintain positive media presence with the exclusion of hate speech and discrimination
  • promoting positive actions and role models
  • promoting cultural and linguistic richness

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