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Pre peskere pindre: Romani leaders in Czech Republic learn how to avoid financial transactions with those who humiliate Roma

10.5.2018 8:56
Participants in the
Participants in the "Pre peskere pindre" (On Your Own Feet) educational program assembled in South Bohemia at the Výštice farm from 23 to 27 April 2018. (PHOTO: Jan Mihaliček)

A week-long education program in South Bohemia focused primarily on fundraising was attended recently by 16 leading figures from the nonprofit world, most of them Romani. The intensive, interactive development program, which featured education based in experiential learning and self-exploration and which was led by instructors from the Czech Fundraising Center, took place as part of a two-year program entitled "Pre peskere pindre" (On Your Own Feet).

"The purpose of this program is to bolster the self-awareness of leaders in Romani communities, specifically by developing their ability and their bravery when it comes to reaching out to private donors and working with them - including Romani people themselves, " Jana Ledvinová, chair of the Czech Fundraising Center and the guarantor of the program, told news server "The subject of the program is support for leading figures, and its leitmotif is working with donors and fundraising as one of the basic steps on the road to maturity and to limiting dependency on resources that bind the Romani community somehow or make them commit to processes that are humiliating."

A total of 12 participants from all over the Czech Republic from different organizations and informal initiatives have been chosen for the two-year program. The figures, all of different ages and professional focuses, spent one week together last month.

One of the youngest participants was Pavel Mišariko from the Beleza Ostrava organization, which runs a program called "Ostrava Romani Students" providing education and sports activities for Romani youth of all ages, from nursery school to college. "I met many friends whom I had never heard of before in my life and whom I perceive to be incredibly strong personalities from whom I have a great deal to learn," he told news server

"At the beginning of the week I had a problem communicating, I was nervous because for me all the others were big role models," Mišariko said. "I realized that my communication style, the way I express myself to others, was chaotic."

"The meeting gave me great motivation to face up to that challenge," he said, adding that his participation has increased his self-awareness and that he now feels stronger about what he is doing. One of the instructors in the program was ROMEA's fundraiser, Monika Mihaličková, who last year was given an award by the Czech Fundraising Center for the most successful fundraising campaign in recognition of her fundraising drive to raise money for the organization's Romani Scholarships program for high school students.

"The aim of this week, which is based on the principles of experiential pedagogy, was for people to get to know each other, to share their plans and projects, both organizational and personal, and to learn more about how to effectively implement those plans, how to raise enough money for them and from where, how to find their own bravery and enthusiasm for their own further development, and last but not least, how to create a strong team out of this Pre peskere pindre group," Mihaličková told "I think we managed to fulfill that aim."

"The participants left full of determination, elan, and knowledge for their future work," the ROMEA fundraiser said, and the participants agreed. "Thanks to Monika Mihaličková and the others my 'Romipen' has been awakened, which we should be proud of," said Mišariko.

"During the meeting I had nice recollections of my childhood, which I spent with an older generation of Romani people," Mišariko continued. "If I were to sum up, my self-awareness has been increased, I have discovered things about myself, I have met super people, and I have had unforgettable experiences."

"This week, once again, has given me a feeling of Romani pride," Jitka Hatinová of the Kolpingova rodina Smečno organization told news server "I've been given the opportunity to get to know a group of interesting people who, through their work, are giving a lot that is useful to the adults and children in their regions."

"These leaders are supporting people, for example, on the road to education, which is also the key to a more satisfied life," Hatinová said. Those attending the "Pre peskere pindre" program, which is financed by the US-based Bader Philanthropies foundation, will meet regularly, continue to educate themselves in the area of fundraising, and will strengthen their abilities as leaders of civic initiatives, organizations and projects benefiting both the Romani community and society as a whole.

ROMEA, translated by Gwendolyn Albert
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