On 7 March 2017, the Council of Europe Commissioner for Human Rights, Nils Muižnieks visited the municipality of Torres Vedras to witness the results of Roma community participation as sparked by the ROMED2 process.
The visit was covered by several Portuguese media outlets, available here:
Read the full report of the Commissioner's visit in Portugal here: http://bit.ly/2m5TB6b
Photo (c) www.publico.pt NUNO FERREIRA SANTOS
Roma citizens in Portugal organised over the past two years as Community Action Groups, building a tight relationship with local authorities and presenting their priorities in a participative manner. "Experiencing ROMED2", developed by the National Support Team in Portugal, captures the essence of the ROMED spirit, and brings up touching stories of change.
To learn more about the implementation of ROMED2 in Portugal, visit: http://coe-romed.org/romed2/countries
Also watch "Parovel", capturing the beginning of the ROMED2 process in Moura: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=p_KVb3VzOTo
Evaluation of the ROMED Programme available here: http://coe-romed.org/articles/romed-external-evaluation-report-published
Date of release: 23 September 2016
All credits of the video go to Nikolaos Batzalis and Konstantinos Hinas members of the Community Action Group in Ilida, Greece.
"In India may be your origins but the memories are too faint.
Νostalgia grows inside you for Istanbul.
You stayed there for 800 years.
1922 you were chased out again because you were Greek.
Because you didn't give up on Jesus Christ and Virgin Mary.
You had to become a refugee.
But no one recognised you. Neither as a refugee nor as a Greek.
You had an "UNDEFINED CITIZENSHIP"...
For 40 years you wandered around. Xanthi, Serres, Thessaloniki, Katerini.
The war found you in Larissa, Lamia, Nafpakto, Patra.
You survived with great losses.
Until you finally reached your "Land of Canaan", the hospitable and fertile Amaliada.
You bought land and you built the neighborhood of Papakafka.
Today you strive for education,
to have your place in the society.
Your hopes are high since you have many children."
More information on ROMED in Ilida here.
On the first edition of the show, Demetrio Gomez - National Project Officer for ROMED2 in Spain, and Mitica Baiculescu as facilitator, talk about the beginning of the programme in Valencia and about the situation of Roma in the neighborhood of Cabanyal.
Vorba Romani is a monthly programme on Radio Malva that aims to bring to radio the voice of Roma of the neighborhood of Cabanyal, Valencia.
The National Project Officer for ROMED2 in Portugal, Mr Bruno Goncalves, as well as head of the Support Organisation Letras Nomadas, talks about ROMED2, the processes of community participation in the 7 active municipalities in Portugal.
Torres Vedras invests in the integration of the Roma community through employment. The problem is when national and Community programmes end. Without basic education one cannot have access to a job in the public sector. [...]
Lindo Cambao, 37, is a facilitator for the Roma and public institutions. He is the driving force of the Community Action Group (CAG) of Torres Vedras, a town that along with six others joined the European programme ROMED 2. [...]
Lindo used to sell goods in markets, and has been collaborating with the Municipality of Torres Vedras since 2014 under the CEI + measure for unemployed and beneficiaries of social insertion income (RSI). Now as an employee, he earns 620 euros per month as well as meal allowances - a salary paid by the municipality.
Besides Lindo Cambao, there is also Carina (working in the cafeteria), Filomena (kindergarten), Mario and Danilo (green spaces). These four work have been working since January  under the CIS + measure, receiving 530 euros per month net including meal allowance. Soon a fifth member [of the CAG] will join them as a gardener. They have a full-time working hours and there is no attendance problems. "[Carina] respects working hours like the others, we can all have unforeseen events in life, if she has to leave she talks to me, as usual," says Joana Lima, Carina's supervisor. [...]
The jobs were created as a result of the work of the Community Action Group (CAG). The group consists of Roma volunteers who identify community problems. And one of the proposals made was that the municipality employs Roma. Another request was the support the payment of the rent of the Evangelical Church local headquarters and, in turn, [the CAG] organised a collection of food for population in need [of Torres Vedras]. The next initiative is to present examples of Roma cuisine.
See the full article here
The Municipality of Torres Vedras is focusing on integrating members of the local Roma community in the labor market. So far the municipality makes a very positive assessment and considers this investment a success.
Carina, Filomena, Mario and Danilo are four elements of Torres Vedras Roma exercising their functions, since January this year, in service of the City Council. Particularly in the areas of green space and education under the CIS + measure (Employment-Insertion Contract).
"The professional integration experience of these elements has been extremely positive", highlight the heads of municipal services, stressing the "great willingness, dedication and willingness to learn these new employees."
The Community Action Group from Figueira da Foz organised an exhibition for the International Roma Day within the municipal centre for arts (CAE) under the title "the Roma Figueira da Foz".
The CAG wanted to show through this exhibition the everyday Roma traditions and was accompanied by an event intended to help combat prejudice and persecution that still exist.
The event has as main objectives the interaction and sharing of knowledge about the Roma communities in Figueira da Foz. The news appeared in one of the local newspapers - Diario de Coimbra.
Full article in the image to the right (portuguese only).
More on the exhibition on the official page of the Centre for Arts of Figueira da Foz
Parovel was launched on 8 April 2016,International Roma Day, during an official ceremony in the Council of Europe. In his opening speech, Mr Ulrich Bunjes, Special Representative of the Secretary General of the Council of Europe for Roma Issues stated:
"Change does not happen overnight. Indeed, this film only shows the beginning of what will be a long-term process, which should eventually result in more democratic societies and significantly better lives for Roma as citizens enjoying the same rights as every other citizen. [...] It is not an easy task. Without the expertise of the National Support Teams - mostly composed of Roma themselves -; without the commitment of all stakeholders - Roma citizens and local authorities -; and without the support of central governments, this task would be impossible".
The projection was also opened by representatives of the Permanent Representations of Portugal and Romania to the Council of Europe - Ms Manuela Caldas Faria, Deputy Permanent Representative, Portugal and Ms Inginur Rustem, Deputy to the Permanent Representative, Romania.
The full movie (30 minutes) is available online with English subtitles.
In this interview prior to the celebrations of the 8th of April - International Roma Day, the community action group in Elvas talks about the 2nd Edition of the Intercultural Festival organised in the municipality, organised with the support of the municipality of Elvas and the High Commission for Migration in Portugal (ACM)
Only in Portuguese.
(c) RadioElvas - 04/04/2016 "Conversa em Dia" com Associação Sílaba Dinâmica