Counseling for Roma advisors


By Daniela Lazarova The main idea behind the government's plan in aid of the Romany minority is to help establish a strong network of Romany advisors who would assist the process of achieving equal opportunities for Romanies in various fields of business and education. The non-profit agency AGNES has now organized a series of educational seminars for Romany advisers across the country. The project is funded by the EU's PHARE fund and Mrs. Irena Zemankova is one of its chief organizers:

"The name of our educational programme for Roma organizations is "Education for Roma Advisors".

So what do these advisors do -what is it that you teach them?

"We would like to give them some information about how to run projects, PR , how to apply for funds and when they get grants how to use them. Basic information really ...about how to communicate with the local authorities, how to communicate among themselves - what we call team work - all things which will give them equal opportunities in competition with other organizations."

Well what has the interest been like on the part of Romanies themselves? Are they interested?

"Yes, we contacted Romany advisors in some 70 regions and nearly all of them wrote back to say they were interested in taking part in the project."

When do you expect to see results?

"The first seminar opens in March and we expect that a good Roma organization will be able to put together a sound project and cooperate well with the local authorities sometime at the beginning of 2003."