Czech Republic: Roma Spirit award given to the Slovo 21 NGO, the town of Žlutice, and journalist Iveta Demeterová
In Prague today the Roma Spirit prize was awarded in five categories for improving the situation of Romani people in the Czech Republic. Romani Studies scholar Eva Davidová won the award for lifetime achievement, while the municipality of Žlutice won in its category and the Slovo 21 association won in the NGO category.
The prize was also awarded to Iveta Demeterová for her Romani-language broadcasting on Czech Radio and to Pavlína Hůževková, a staffer with Diakonie Vsetín who saved the life of a choking infant. The ceremony was held at the Prague Crossroads center.
Davidová, an 82-year-old ethnologist and folklore scholar, is the co-founder of Romani studies in the Czech Republic. "She significantly contributed to the founding of the Museum of Romani Culture, built up a unique collection of photographs, and wherever I went with her, it was wild," said Romani activist Karel Holomek, who was a jury member.
The jury awarded the Slovo 21 association primarily for its women's group project, Manushe, which is the only project in the Czech Republic working with Romani women. The association also annually produces a significant international festival of Romani culture, Khamoro.
Žlutice won the prize for its comprehensive approach to Romani inclusion in all areas of life, from education to employment to housing. Iveta Demeterová was awarded in the Media category.
Radio audiences know Demeterová from the broadcasts of the Czech Radio program "O Roma vakeren". "On her own, she worked her way up to the position of Editor-in-Chief. She gives the Roma a good name and is definitely an example to other young Romani men and women," said jury member Marie Gailová.
In the category of Action of the Year, the jury awarded Pavlína Hůževková for her psychological readiness to take immediate, life-saving action. The prizes were awarded this year for the first time under a new name, Roma Spirit 2014.
The competition, held by the Michael Kocáb Foundation and the Open Society nonprofit, is the continuation of the previous Gypsy Spirit project. Prizes under that name have been awarded three times, most recently last year.
Just like last year, the prizes were awarded in six categories, but the category dedicated to businesses was not included this time due to a low number of nominations, according to the organizers. The awards ceremony was held on 10 December on the occasion of International Human Rights Day.
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