Roma integration moves forward

Campaigns designed to improve education and self-employment prospects for the Roma community and eliminate discrimination are the central focus of this project.

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From intercultural dialogue to football matches, events organised by the SPOLU Foundation are bringing down barriers to inequality and contributing to the integration of this marginalised community.

Eyes fixed on goals

The EU pilot project ‘Pan-European Coordination of Roma Integration Methods - Roma Inclusion’ set very clear aims from its initial launch, namely to improve the access of Roma children to quality early childhood education and care, to help with self-employment by providing greater access to finance for marginalised communities, to combat discrimination against Roma people through awareness-raising campaigns, and to improve evaluation methods of Roma integration projects and programmes.

Change and equality

The SPOLU campaign ‘Come with us and be the change’, and the REACT campaign ‘Make Europe an equal place for Roma’ are prime examples of efforts designed to achieve these aims. The campaigns convey vital messages and involve a series of activities focusing on different levels of change in attitude and behaviour. They serve to improve the image of Roma across Europe and to advocate for their inclusion into mainstream society across the board, in different countries and using different methods. Ultimately, genuine change in behaviour is the key, and this applies among both Roma and non-Roma citizens.

Grassroots efforts solving problems

For the purpose of this project, the campaigns initially focused on attracting attention and raising awareness through national anti-racism campaigns in Italy and Romania, using mass media products in sports and cinemas and by involving celebrities (Roma and non-Roma), the principle being to have a significant impact across Europe. One event that grabbed much public attention was a friendly football between Italy and Romania in 2010. The audience reached locally and abroad was large given the popularity of this game. The subsequent focus of the project is more on creating understanding and changing attitudes, achieved by running local and regional campaigns with the active involvement of grassroots Roma groups. One of the key components here is intercultural dialogue in countries like Romania, Italy, Bulgaria and Albania. By opening up discussions and providing opportunities for sharing views, aspirations and challenges, the project and its campaigns are helping remove the marginalisation that has been the cause of problems for many years.

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