25.01.2009Women brainstormed ideas for advocacy campaigns for improving the health status of Romani women in their communities


For a second time the ex-BBC journalist Fiona Lloyd met several Roma women from Bulgaria to discuss together how the local Roma organizations could contribute to solving Romani women health problems. The meeting of the journalist with Stefka and Maria from Center Amalipe (Veliko Turnovo), with Marijka, Fidanka and Milena from “World without Borders” (Stara Zagora), with Galina and Nedka from LARGO Association (Kyustendil), with Julieta from Ternipe Roma Youth Organization (Simitli) and with Dimitrinka from the Association of the Roma health mediators in Bulgaria took place on January 20 – 21. It was organized by Center Amalipe within the initiative of the Public Health Program of OSI – Budapest and OSI – New York. It is the second stage of the two trainings “Communicating through Media” which took place in July 2008 where the girls participating have learned how to build media behaviour, how to reach media and use them as the positive messengers of their “golden messages”. 


The aim of the meeting was to discuss how the skills acquired during the summer trainings could be applied into practice into organizing advocacy campaigns for improving Romani women and girls health status. During the two days the ladies brainstormed different ideas for possible campaigns they could realized in their communities in order to address the most acute health issues. “Of course, in each community the problems are different; they have their specifics which needs different approaches. At the same time however, the organizers of the campaigns should be very aware and very careful not to reinforce the stereotypes already implied by others.” – the trainer shared. “The aim of the meeting was also to help the ladies better shape her ideas, define their strengths and weaknesses, identify possible partners and opponents of their campaigns, to assess their resources. I am very much impressed by the creativity and the non-traditional way the girls have decided to attack the problems in the community.” Teodora Krumova from Center Amalipe shared.


The campaigns themselves target different and specific problems. For example, one of the ideas is directed towards girls in orphanages where the author of the idea lives herself. She has shared that for girls in the orphanages sexual abuse is often an every-day reality where they are the main accused. Her ambition is to change this, to explain the girls what their rights are and how they should react in case of violence. She however wants to do this not through lectures and discussions but through the means of visual arts and interactive techniques. I want to make it interesting as drama in which we ourselves have written the script; finally this is our play. I want to provoke the girls to speak out, to write their stories – anonymously – but to tell them. As a result the pain would stop to be only theirs and it would help other girls too.” the author of the idea (who is only 19 years old shares). Another of the campaigns will use the character of  a positive role model, nicknamed the "Super Daddy”. Its goal is to reach those men (sometimes women as well) in the Roma community who are still conservative regarding the education and health of their children.


During the meeting the participants have been seduced by the challenges of modern technologies. Therefore they said they hope that the next time they want to learn how to use modern technologies and internet to transmit their messages and reach more people.


And here is what Fiona and Teodora have made during the meeting ... you can see. Enjoy it!

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