Organisation for Roma women got the Anna Lindh memorial fund price

SoME Gavobevis 2023

19 June 2012

This year marks the tenth anniversary of the murder of then Swedish foreign minister Anna Lindh, who was stabbed to death in central Stockholm in 2002. To conserve the memory of her personality, driving force and vision, the Anna Lindh memorial fund was created. Every year, the fund awards organisations and operations that support the opportunity of women and girls to change unjust societal structures.This year, the award went to the Centre for Roma Initiatives in Montenegro.

Discrimination across Europe

In many parts of Europe, the Roma population are often victims of discrimination, ostracism as well as mental and physical violence. In many instances, Roma families are in deep poverty, and the children are many times forced to leave school due to the persecution they have to live with. Thomas Hammarberg, a former ambassador for Sweden in the UN, was therefore happy to announce that the recipient of this years price is the Montenegrin organisation Centre for Roma Initiatives, which works with raising the power and acceptance of Roma women, and with battling the “scandalous way” that Roma women face.

Challenging structures in society

Centre for Roma Initiatives is run by Roma women, for Roma women, to combat the discrimination and racism that both Roma people and women are faced with. In Montenegro, both of these groups often fall victim to discriminatory treatment, with the result that Roma women constantly live in a discriminatory situation from two different viewpoints. Centre for Roma Initiatives objects this societal structure by incorporating a pride in the Roma heritage for the Roma women. This is for example executed through trainings, spread of information and creating a self-esteem for the Roma women to enable them to take a greater part in society.

Small steps forward give energy to go on

Fana Delija and Fatima Naza are two of the driving spirits that work with promoting the rights of Roma women through the centre. Receiving the price, Fana Delija describes her feelings like this: “As a Roma woman, I’ve been faced with many problems. I had no freedom, and I was not able to make decisions for the most ordinary things. I used to ask myself why. That question has lead me here, and today I receive a price for the work for Roma women“. She says that the patriotic Montenegro has a traditional view concerning Roma women, and that the structure that has been created from traditions are difficult to break. She however finishes her acceptance by saying that “sometimes the results are small, but they give us energy to keep going. I will continue to advocate for this issue and to provide help to improve the position of Roma women“.

Julle Bergenholtz

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