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Europe: A Homeland for the Roma

Europe: A Homeland for the Roma is a project aimed at increasing the visibility of the Roma’s quest for equality and acceptance and increasing the employability of a group of Roma and non-Roma journalists from Bulgaria, the Czech Republic, Hungary, Romania and Slovakia by providing them with advanced multimedia storytelling skills and publication opportunities.

Conceived by Transitions, a Prague-headquartered media development organization and Internet publisher, the project is being implemented between November 2012 and October 2014 in close cooperation with six partners in Europe and the United States, the Center for Independent Journalism (CIJ) in Budapest, the Center for Independent Journalism (CJI) in Bucharest, Romea in Prague, the Media Development Center (MDC) in Sofia, MEMO 98 in Bratislava and the School of Communication at the University of Miami, whose Professor Rich Beckman served as chief trainer and executive producer for the project.

Building on the success of the Colorful but Colorblind project—which in 2010 and 2011 gathered 50 Roma and majority-community journalists from the five countries in Central and Eastern Europe—Europe: A Homeland for the Roma is a collaborative effort to counterbalance the stereotyping and scapegoating of Roma, which has been exacerbated in recent years. The project does so primarily by creating and widely disseminating a large volume of multimedia content on issues facing the Roma of Central and Eastern Europe.

Project activities:

·     In May 2013, the project’s core group of 20 journalists from Hungary, Romania, Slovakia, Bulgaria and the Czech Republic—half of them Roma, half from other communities—attended five-day training events in advanced multimedia skills. The training featured four simultaneous in-county workshops, with all participants then gathering in Prague for five additional days of training and story development.

·     A 10-day content gathering activity was conducted in early June 2013, with five country teams composed of the four journalists, an intern and a coach. The teams covered stories reflecting contemporary Roma life in their own countries.

·     The teams came back to Prague in mid-June 2013 for two weeks of editing to produce the documentary presented on this website.

·     Dissemination and public events. The produced content will be republished widely in traditional and online media outlets and featured at documentary film festivals. Public screenings of project content followed by panel debates on Roma issues will be organised in Sofia, Bucharest, Budapest, Bratislava, Prague, Brussels, Paris, Milan and London and in secondary schools and universities throughout the region.

Participants will continue to create additional content and the site will be updated regularly. This content will also be published widely throughout the region.

The project is co-funded by the European Union’s Fundamental Rights and Citizenship Programme, with further support from ERSTE Foundation and the Open Society Program on Independent Journalism.