06 Get to Know Your Language and Culture

Implemented by Earth Forever in collaboration with Democratic Union Roma thanks to the financial support of Open Society Foundation, Budapest.

The project provided unique experience for young people of Roma descent from allover Bulgaria to get education and become familiar with the language and culture of their heritage and thus enhance their knowledge of and pride in their culture.

The activities accomplished during the project duration enhanced the self-esteem within the Roma community by heightening the ethnic self-awareness of Roma youth through dialogues facilitated by professional and academic members of the Roma community.

The project through the efforts of organizers and participants helped to combat the general sense of apathy and despondency in the target group by encouraging the participants to disseminate the knowledge gained through the implementation of the project.

The 32 young participants in the ten-day camp learnt about the history of the Roma people through presentations made by scholars focusing on the mode of life, cultural development and historical events pertinent to the Roma society. Participants, with the support of their families, collected and presented legends, myths, songs and other documents characteristic of Roma traditions and life style. The camp provided a forum for all participants to discuss their perspectives on Roma culture and their views of modern Roma life; as well as the challenge of preserving Roma identity, and at the same time, successful integration of Roma people into Bulgarian and European society.

Most of the documents collected and compiled by young participants have been published in a booklet (32 pages, circulation 300) that is being disseminated throughout the Roma community with the support of the media and Roma partner organizations in Bulgaria. Bulgarians, especially politicians and journalists, showed significant interest in this publication. Copies have been disseminated to other Roma NGOs in Montana, Veliko Tarnovo, Sliven, Varna, Sofia, Pleven.

A 50-minute video has been produced and performed several times for the participants, participant relations, municipal councilors, leaders of Roma community, teachers and students journalists.

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