The year 2023 was a time of numerous challenges and hard work for the Foundation Towards Dialogue, but also a year of success and joy. Our team undertook a number of activities that were united by one common goal – to build a diverse, outward-looking and multicultural Poland, where the Roma community is treated equally to others. With each of our actions we are getting closer and closer to realize our dream. See what we have done over the past 12 months in 8 key areas of our activities.
In 2023 the Foundation conducted a series of meetings with government representatives from other countries, such as Ireland, the United Kingdom, Germany. We also took part in a roundtable discussion with a delegation from the US Congress and in the meeting with Reem Issam Kamel Alsalem – the UN Special Rapporteur on Violence Against Women and Girls. The change of government has opened up new opportunities. Foundation carried out monitoring and we already know who headed the key ministries for changing the situation of the Roma community. We’re going to keep working!
Our experts took part in numerous conferences in Poland and abroad, including events in the Martin Center at Harvard University and the POLIN Museum of the History of Polish Jews. Our voice was heard at the national conference “Mission Assistant – the future of Roma education in Poland” and at the seminar “Mentoring and mentoring activities – good practices”. The Foundation was a co-organizer of a scientific conference at the University of Silesia. We also organized a series of workshops addressed to the teaching community and the media supported by Unicef, as well as classes for the Police.
3. Roma Community Centre
In 2023 Roma Community Center located in Warsaw’s Mokotow district was bustling with activity. The Foundation’s team organized 113 events and workshops over 12 months, including lessons of Roma language and culture, music classes, carpentry, gardening, cooking, relaxation in movement with elements of physiotherapy, boxing training for young people and art therapy classes. The Center’s garden hosted two picnics and a neighborhood barbecue on a grand scale. The 2024 is promising to be even more vibrant!
A lot of things also happened in the cultural area. For instance, our team was involved in work on the Netflix series hit “Infamy”. We organized/hosted photo exhibitions by Adam Durjasz, a photographer who has portrayed the Roma community and the foundation’s activities. The year 2023 also witnessed concerts, including a solidarity concert at the Staszic Palace and a poster contest illustrating the slogan “Roma: here and now.”
5. International partnerships
The year that passed was full of launching new and continuing existing international partnerships. In cooperation with DEC and British Airways, we created a spot featuring people of the Roma community. In cooperation with UNHCR we organized a “Roma Tasking Team Meeting” in Rzeszow. The cooperation with Unicef resulted in a series of educational workshops. The Boll-Stiftung Foundation supported us in the implementation of a campaign about Roma and poster contest. Together with Habitat for Humanity Magyarország and Projekt DOM.ov, our team carried out a study visit to Slovakia. We earned a nomination for the first U.S. Secretary of State Antony Blinken’s “Award for Global Champions of Anti-Racism” for our work.
6. Social campaigns and media
Also in 2023 we organized social campaign with the participation of Roma women from Poland and Ukraine named “Roma women – what do we know about them?”. Its characters told their stories in their own words and on their own terms. The Foundation was also a partner of the nationwide social campaign “Continuity after consent”. Thanks to us, the Roma community was widely reported in key Polish and foreign media. And it is going to be even louder!
7. Supporting actions
Throughout the past year, our Foundation has supported people from the Roma community who expelled from Ukraine by the war and have found homes in Poland. We reached the Polish-Ukrainian border, Przemyśl and centers in Soczewka and Święcice with our assistance. Our support included material and legal assistance and the organization of cultural and educational activities. The year 2023 is also marked by collections of clothes and Christmas gifts for refugee children from the Roma community (this collection is still on – you can support it HERE)
8. Reports and researches
Reports and researches were an important part of our activities. In 2023, the Foundation issued a report „They are not refugees; they are travellers” describing the situation of Roma refugee women and refugees from Ukraine. Our experts were also involved in the preparation of Oxfam report “Futher into the Margins” and the Unicef study on Roma children from Ukraine.