Czech foundation supports work in places where anti-Romani marches have taken place
The Open Society Fund Prague has distributed CZK 400 000 (EUR 15 500) to organizations working in places where right-wing extremists have been holding anti-Romani marches. Of the 18 requests for funding received, the expert commission has so far selected four winning projects for its "Together Without Prejudice" (Společně bez předsudků) grant call.
The foundation is responding to the growth in the activity of right-wing radicals in the Czech Republic, such as the recent march in Budišov nad Budišovkou, currently home to six-year-old Natálka, the victim of a 2009 arson attack committed by right-wing extremists in the town of Vítkov. "The disaster of Vítkov must never be repeated and Czech society must clearly speak out against manifestations of racial intolerance. That is why we are supporting projects to improve relations between the majority society and minorities, projects that do their best to break down dangerous stereotypes," said Filip Rameš, a manager with the foundation.
One grant was awarded to field workers with the Konexe civic association, who do their best to prevent clashes between conflicting sides at the scenes of these marches by providing psychosocial support and endeavoring to prevent the children in those places from becoming traumatized. Another grant was awarded to reporters with the news server Romea.cz, who document these marches and the situations of local residents, presenting the Romani issue in a different light than the one usually employed by mainstream media.
Projects to calm the situation in places where anti-Romani sentiment has already occurred or to prevent it from arising were also supported. Majority-society and minority neighbors at the Máj housing estate in České Budějovice, which was frequently targeted by neo-Nazis last year, will be creating a competition for the best local recipes that will result in a common cookbook.
The Educon association will be traveling around to both academic and technical high schools with the documentary film "Gadžo" and holding discussions about it to confront young people with their own prejudices. OSF is also prepared to award grants to other civic initiatives and organizations that decide to respond to the anti-Romani marches currently being announced.
"Organizations can file requests until the end of October 2014. We will handle their requests as quickly as possible so the victims of this hatred receive the necessary aid at the scenes of these marches," Rameš said.
Open Society Fund Prague is committed to developing the values of democracy and an open society in the Czech Republic. The foundation has more than 20 years of experience and is one of the five largest in the country.
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