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Romani women gather in Czech capital to discuss how their position has changed during the last 50 years

28.11.2016 6:59
Participants in the Jileha conference in 2015. (PHOTO:  Slovo 21)
Participants in the Jileha conference in 2015. (PHOTO: Slovo 21)

More than 60 Romani women from all over the Czech Republic will gather today in the Hotel Amarilis in Prague for a conference of the JILEHA 2016 project, which is run by the Manushe Romani women's group. "These women are aiding other women to come out from the shadows, to overcome the obstacles in their lives and to improve the way they view themselves. Women's solidarity is the motor of the entire project, which supports the initiative of these extraordinary ordinary women and makes it possible for them to contribute to changing the lives of those around them," said project coordinator Martina Horváthová.

In the Romanes language, "jileha" means "heart". The members of Manushe are leading their colleagues to live fuller, happier lives, Horváthová said.

"We want a world where men and women can live together as equals and where each of us women can find fulfillment," she said. The press release for the event notes that: "This year's conference continues the work of last year and is pushing the capacity and knowledge of these Romani women a little bit further forward. For those who are attending who are not involved in the project, the conference will be beneficial because it will enable them to acquire interesting perspectives on the changes in the position of Romani women over the last 60 years. Romani women during the last half-century have made a big step forward! What are the contemporary forms of Romani women's activism? How could Romani women aid their community in the future?"

Manushe has been run by the Slovo 21 organization since the year 2000 and supports the personal development of Romani girls and women around the entire country, with approximately 200 members, both female and male, in the group so far. Its motto is: "Education, self-confidence, emancipation".

The project was the first to undertake a survey about the position of Romani women in the Czech Republic, has produced an award-winning, successful documentary film about three strong Romani women, and has implemented dozens of educational courses, seminars and workshops. The group also represents Romani women in the Czech Women's Lobby and in the Phenjalipe network of the Council of Europe.

ryz, translated by Gwendolyn Albert
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