The Summer Workshop Camp

Twenty girls and boys from Roma communities in Poland, Czechia and Slovakia took part in a summer camp in Oświęcim (Auschwitz) actively participating in a total of eight wonderful workshops on education, social skills, painting, and music.

Visiting the Auschwitz-Birkenau concentration camp and participating in the events commmorating the 79th anniversary of the extermination of Roma and Sinti, were integral components of the summer school, providing the participants with the opportunity to understand, learn, and reflect on the tragic history of their ancestors, while simultaneously discovering and strengthening their Roma identity.

The Roma community’s low education and high unemployment levels is at the core of their perpetual stigmatisation and social exclusion. Considering these deficits, this project took a unique approach to use culture as a tool for social inclusion by building upon the Roma’s cultural heritage. The aim of this project was to advance the integration of the Roma community in the V4 countries, with the goal of empowering and preparing them for the role of self-advocates, strengthening their capacities, self-confidence, and social skills, with the ultimate goal of preparing them for a future role as Roma activists and political and social representatives of this minority group in Europe.

Agnieszka Caban (Fundacija Dom Kultury), trainer and educator at the Summer Workshop Camp emphasized that „mutural integration“ was a key component of this project, in which the participants took advantage of the precious „opportunity to meet and get to know their peers from different countries“ – resulting in the creation of bonds and friendships that now transcend borders. The success of this initiative has been outstanding to the extent that it „will also be at the heart of next year’s Summer Workshop Camp“.

The Summer Workshop Camp – capacity-building programme for Roma Youth and NGO networking was organized by the Dom Kultury (House of Culture) Foundation in Poland, in partnership with: ETP Slovakia – Center of sustainable development, and Vzájemné soužití o.p.s. from Czechia; and in cooperation with the Cultural and Educational Association „Ros Harangos“ from Krakow, Poland.

Both, participants and project organizers were delighted with the project outcomes, in which a big step has been taken towards equipping Roma people with key social skills and tools to build open societies based on equality, democracy and justice, tools that will ultimately help them to influence the socio-cultural inclusion and integration of the Roma minority in at least three of the V4 countries.