The participation of girls, young women and Roma women in educational, social and cultural areas guide all our activities at both a local and international level.
European Roma women who had never travelled before, participating in Barcelona debating and deciding about the education of their daughters and granddaughters; Roma girls and young girls from Catalan schools and institutes united in their dream of successfully completing their studies; Mothers, aunts and grandmothers refer to educational centres as children and youth leisure monitors; Neighbours of the neighbourhood who are speakers during days dedicated to the education and Roma People in National and European projects.
These are some of the examples that move us to continue carrying out all our activities and projects.
We have done 17 editions thus far of this Encounters, participating in the latest editions more 300 women. This is a space for annual or biannual dialogue and reflection in which Roma students and women from their environment meet to discuss and reflect on their education as a way of overcoming the inequalities suffered by Roma women.
“Hello, my name is Sulamita, I’m 14 years old, the youngest in the house. I’m studying the second year of secondary school… In the San Cosme neighbourhood. I would like to study in 4th of ESO, but I think my level of ESO is not enough.
I don’t know why there are so many Roma children with low academic standards. Are we dim? I think we all have the same rights; we can’t be discriminated because we belong to a different culture.
My dream is to go to university and have the best possible education. I think this is very important to be able to access the labour market and feel complete as a woman. Being a Roma, I think that the opportunities for me are not the same as for a young girl who is non-Roma…
Today, to have seen women of different ages here is an example to follow, so that we, the younger ones, can move forward.” (Participant of Trobada)
Official course with accreditation of the General Directorate of Youth of the Generalitat of Catalonia carried out for Roma women. It is free and encourages the labour inclusion of Roma women without academic qualification. In addition, it allows Roma students to have them as referrals within their own schools.
In its first edition, Roma women from more than 15 countries debated about overcoming the triple exclusion they suffer and laid the groundwork for international actions and projects to overcome these obstacles. To this end, we are working with a network of European entities.
During March 23rd and 24th, 2018 we hosted the II International Roma Women Congress. In which grassroots Roma women returned to Barcelona to debate and decide on the issues that are of most concern to them but not simply discuss, but rather find solutions that work and that are evidenced base. A sharing of best practices underpinned the work of the II International Congress.
On November 30, 2001, we organized the workshop “Roma Women of Barcelona of the XXI century” in which the more than 70 people who participated were guided by a common interest: to work so that the voices of Roma women were heard and taken into account in the different spaces such as education, labor market, health and social participation.
This was the precedent and the most similar event to what would later be the “Encounters of Roma Students of Catalonia”.
The first meeting of Catalan Roma Students was held in L’Hospitalet in 2000 with only two participants, a Roma girl and her mother. It was in the following year, when during the celebration of the meeting in Badalona the girls and Roma women asked our entity to support an encounter in their neighbourhood, as they felt isolated and alone in their neighbourhood.
Thus, since 2001, 17 Catalan Roma Student Meetings have been held: L’Hospitalet (Barcelona, 2000); the neighborhood Besós (Barcelona, March 2003), Terrassa (November, 2004), Viladecans (November, 2005), Montcada (2005); the neighborhood of Gràcia (Barcelona, May 2006); La Mina (Barcelona, November 2006), Lleida (January, 2007); Sant Roc (Barcelona, 2007); Sant Cosme, the Prat de Llobregat (January 2009); Reus (June 2009); Badia del Vallés (October 2011); the Bon Pastor neighborhood (Barcelona, October 2012); Campclar (Tarragona, June 2013); Figueres (Girona, October 2014); Terrasa (November 2015).
Source: Sánchez, M., Clavería, E., & Fernández, M. (2003). Associació Gitana de Dones Drom Kotar Mestipen. Educació Social, 24 . 105–116
Girls and women of different ages meet with the purpose of discussing the topics previously proposed with the ultimate goal of finding solutions on topics such as school dropout and absenteeism of young Roma girls.
The meetings are held once or twice a year on a Saturday afternoon, with the aim of ensuring that the girls can attend the meeting and do not neglect their school hours. Meetings of Roma Students are not held at the association’s headquarters, they are held in a neighbourhood centre where there is a large Roma community and a group of Roma women who wish to organize the meeting in their territory.
The function of our association in these Meetings is to offer support in technical and logistical aspects to an “organizing committee” formed by Roma women from the neighbourhoods that organize and promote it in their neighbourhoods. This organizing group decides a theme according to their needs; propose to the panel a number of experienced Roma referents from their immediate environment to share their experience of success in education; and it is they, along with the other women attendees who participate and discuss different issues in working groups, that contribute to the conclusions to continue working on overcoming the exclusions suffered by Roma women.
From 2001 to 2015, seventeen editions of the Catalan Roma Student Meetings have been held at L’Hospitalet (Barcelona, 2000); the neighborhood Besós (Barcelona, March 2003), Terrassa (November, 2004), Viladecans (November, 2005), Montcada (2005); the neighborhood of Gràcia (Barcelona, May 2006); La Mina (Barcelona, November 2006), Lleida (January, 2007); Sant Roc (Barcelona, 2007); Sant Cosme, the Prat de Llobregat (January 2009); Reus (June 2009); Badia del Vallés (October 2011); the Bon Pastor neighborhood (Barcelona, October 2012); Campclar (Tarragona, June 2013); Figueres (Girona, October 2014); Terrasa (November 2015).
Course recognized by the Generalitat of Catalonia, free and with a total duration of 308 hours (158 hours theoretical and 150 practical hours).
To date we have organized 8 editions of this course that have supported more than 73 Roma women to have obtained the official certification that allows them to work as monitors in school canteens.
The idea of organizing these formations arose from the need for many Roma women to be able to take official courses that would facilitate their entry into the labour market, especially those with more difficulties in not having academic qualifications.
The educational profile of participating Roma women has never been an obstacle for them to complete and obtain official accreditation. Our association offers the necessary resources and accompany the women so that they can successfully face official evaluations, even though most have never written anything similar to an academic work or piece of writing. In this process it is key the individualized monitoring that we carry out and the accompaniment by volunteers and volunteers of our association that help them to address their concerns, solve any matters arising, as well address any technical doubts during the writing of the final report.
As part of the official curriculum, sessions are held throughout the sessions on Roma history and culture, as well as other issues related to the prevention of violence in educational settings.
In 2010 we organized the 1st International Congress of Roma Women: “The Other Women”
We are currently preparing the II International Congress of Roma Women to be held on March 23 and 24, 2018 in Barcelona, Spain.
For more information, visit the International Congresses page. International Congresses