Jakha, Ukraine's first information platform for Roma youth was launched recently in the World Wide Web. Legal Space talked to the founder of the web portal, its editor and the author of "from idea to realization" Viola Popenko.
The Romani word "jakha" means "eye". In the case of the title of the website it means the opinion: on news, opportunities, problems and prospects.
For young Roma of Ukraine it is very often extremely difficult to obtain useful information. Learning opportunities, exchange programs, internships and youth initiatives are concentrated in the private groups, access to which is limited. Also, young Roma do not know about the sources of information that may be useful. All this really slows down the integration of the Roma minority as a whole. Publicity of information for young people is now an extremely powerful driving force. That is why Jakha information web portal will act as a guide to illustrate the life of the Roma youth.
The web portal is available in two languages: Ukrainian and English. This is not only a source of information, but also a tool to create a positive image of the Roma, as specific sections are devoted to the achievements of young Roma.
That is how the concept of the project is explained on the website. Its author Viola Popenko lives in Chernigov. Three months ago she graduated from the National University of Food Technologies. Viola is a social activist, a few years working with non-governmental organizations, taking an active part in the life of the Roma, a teacher of Sources of Tolerance international summer camp, with future plans to work with the Roma community.
- What is the structure of the web portal?
- I created sections of the website according to my own vision. The main objective was to structure the information and make the use of the web portal as simple as possible. I consider the Calendar to be its main section. It was born from my personal habits to record events by date and time. The section is designed in the form of a table, dates are placed in chronological order – actually, it gives a general idea of the activities for young people. A significant section is “Persons” where personal stories of the Roma youth activists will be published. I think that this should motivate young people who only stand in the way of indifference to the fate of their ethnic group. Of course, the news is also popular.
- How did the idea to create such a resource occur to your head?
- The idea occurred long time ago. Very often I was surprised and sometimes even disappointed when I missed certain opportunities. I understood that it was due to the fact that useful information is not accessible to me. For more than two years of civil activity I "acquired" useful contacts, learned a lot of important things. So I set a goal - to create a web resource for the Roma youth, which would contain structured information and actual stories of people who inspire with their achievements.
We heard the surprising answer to the question about the team project: it is just Viola who writes project proposals, is responsible for design or content of the website.
-But to implement this idea in life almost on your own is probably hard...
- I managed to realize al this with the support of Roma Program Initiative of International Renaissance Foundation, as I was one of the winners of the contest "Support for social initiatives and human rights of Roma youth activists". Believe that in the future this project will engage a professional team, local centers of the web portal will be created.
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