An annual conference of scholars and graduates of the program "Jurisprudence and Humanities" of the Roma Educational Fund took place in Kyiv on July 10 and 11. This year it gathered more than 50 scholars from Ukraine, Moldova and Russia.
Participants of the conference "Education and public activism: on the way to a professional career" are young Roma who receive or have already received education with the support of the Roma Education Fund (REF), representatives of the REF, International Renaissance Foundation, EVZ. All of them constantly support scholarship students in vocational guidance, development, in particular responsible leadership, additional learning in foreign languages, and support for community initiatives in communities.
One of the events of the first day was a discussion, during which young people sought answers to the following questions: Can one be "graduated" as a social activist? Is it necessary to be educated to work in the community? Can only lawyers be human rights activists?
Olga Zhmurko, Director of Roma Program Initiative of the International Renaissance Foundation, told about the results of the debate at Facebook. (In the center):
"Hot debate arose around these issues. Despite different views on the "portrait" of an ideal public figure, the participants came together in one: high-quality education will help be a public activist on a qualitatively new level. The illiterate people can actually protect the rights to protect, but education and desire to help make the person more effective in this area. It can become a profession, a hobby or a way of life. It’s up to the person".
Photo courtesy of International Renaissance Foundation.
Participants talked about the problems they are facing today. For example, it is employment and the relevant skills: to write a CV, present oneself to an employer, go through an interview, learn to work in a team, etc.
The human rights activist from Uzhgorod, the head of the Romani NGO "Romani Cherhen" Myroslav Horvat (pictured), who on the first day addressed the participants of the conference and provided young people with practical advice that would be useful in their future work, noted a positive trend: among young Roma, students the level of social activity is increasing, the new generation wants to implement modern ideas and is ready to implement them.
Viktor Chovka, a young Roma activist from Transcarpathia, the leader of the NGO "Pativ", shared his impressions of the participation in the conference: "Every year we see that Roma youth are becoming more active, aspire and receive higher professional education, develop their leadership qualities, become a positive example and gives motivation for other young people to get education, for which we want to thank REF and the International Renaissance Foundation”.
Romani activists (from left to right) Victor Chovka, Serhii Chychak, Myroslav Horvat, Ivan Korzhov.
Speaking about the role of the Roma Educational Foundation, Olga Zhmurko noted that REF is doing a unique thing: it unites and develops human potential, in particular, the Roma national minority. The results of its work in the region is 460 graduates who have received a profession and have become successful, involved in social and political events in their countries.
Speaking on the second day of the conference on the achievements and prospects of higher education for the Roma, the director of the International Renaissance Foundation Yevhen Bystrytsky emphasized the need to preserve the Roma culture and traditions. However, he noted that expansion of the environment of a new, educated Roma youth, who is able to defend his civil rights and promote the harmonization of Ukrainian society, is extremely important.
More photos in the photo gallery to the article.
Authors of the photos: Olga Zhmurko, Serhii Ponomarev, Serhii Chychak, Myroslav Horvat, Victor Chovka.
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