The Dženo Association, where I am a fellow, is an organization whose central focus is the emancipation of the Roma in Central and Eastern Europe. The Prague-based association’s main goal is to disseminate information on an international scale in order “to promote Roma human rights and an end to discrimination and racism.” Dženo, as per its website, has a sixteen-year history of “influencing international actions concerning (the) Roma and increasing global awareness of Romany issues.”
Projects the Dženo Association has spearheaded, under the leadership of its founder and chairman Ivan Veselý, include a monthly Romany socio-cultural magazine Amaro Gendalos and the first Roma internet radio station in the world, Radio Rota, with the goal of challenging discrimination and “advocating and promoting the Roma ethnic culture.”
Dženo has also, among its many projects, provided legal advice and assistance to Roma people in various arenas, and especially to those who’ve experienced racially motivated violence. Additionally, Dženo has authored reports for organizations such as UNESCO and the Czech government on topics ranging from housing discrimination to discriminatory lending practices–or usury–affecting the Roma. The association has run programs which provide support and education to Romany youth and train Romany journalists.
Dženo’s current projects are Project Second Chance, which provides workplace training for unemployed Roma, and Project Roma Assistance, a project that provides technical assistance and consultation, preparing Roma NGOs to seek funding for and implement programs financed by European Union structural funds.
In the works is the transition and expansion of Dženo’s multilingual internet radio broadcasting service, currently on hiatus, to digital satellite capacity. This would greatly enlarge the broadcast’s audience, much of whom at this time lacks access to the internet.
Part of my job this summer will be helping to secure funds to help make possible the vision of Dženo operating an international satellite broadcast station. This station is seen as “a tool for fighting against racism, promoting diversity and information in order to upgrade the social situation of Roma.” It also has the capability of connecting “Roma individuals and organizations throughout Europe, a process which will open new possibilities and ways of cooperation between Roma in Europe.”
Posted By Tereza Bottman
Posted Jun 23rd, 2010