Slovak organization wins international award for aid to Roma during the COVID-19 crisis
The Slovak NGO "Človek v ohrození" ["People in Need"] has been awarded the Civil Solidarity Prize of the European Economic and Social Committee [EESC] for their project targeting aid to the Romani community during the novel coronavirus pandemic. The group was one of 23 initiatives from EU Member States and Britain to be honored in an online ceremony and given EUR 10 000 in prize money.
The NGO project "Their Health is Our Health" was chosen by the assessment commission as the best candidate from Slovakia for its exceptional initiative arranging deliveries of aid and food to 10 000 Romani people during the pandemic, according to the EESC. That advisory body to the European Commission called the work of the Slovak organization an example of remarkable solidarity.
The awarded initiative is targeting direct aid to Romani communities in Slovakia, especially by delivering groceries and hygiene supplies to settlements without access to water. However, the organization's volunteers also assist Romani communities with the longterm repercussions of the pandemic, working with people who have lost jobs, for example, during the novel coronavirus crisis, or organizing a summer school for children who were unable to attend distance learning because their families could not afford it.
"This is recognition of our work and we hope it will make more visible the contribution made by civil society, and not just in times of crisis, because currently our role in society is being viewed with increasing mistrust," the organization's director, Andrea Najvirtová, said on the sidelines of the ceremony. Another prizewinner was a Czech project called "Defending Your Mind", which was delivered as a series of online webinars in which experts discussed the subject of caring for one's mental health with high school students.
An Austrian project focused on combating disinformation about the novel coronavirus and a Hungarian initiative providing legal advice free of charge in the area of human rights were also given awards. A female student from Poland was awarded for her project running an online shop selling material aid for domestic violence victims, the number of whom has increased in many countries as a consequence of the pandemic.
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