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August 12, 2022



Slovakia's Roma Spirit 2021: Finalists include fashion designer Pavel Berky, rapper Čavalenky, and activist Denisa Havrľová

3.11.2021 8:20
(PHOTO: Roma Spirit 2021)
(PHOTO: Roma Spirit 2021)

The 13th Roma Spirit awards in Slovakia this year will tell the stories of 21 inspirational people who are this year's finalists. The award expresses appreciation for the activities of individuals and organizations who advocate for spreading understanding and building respect between non-Roma and Roma in Slovakia, introducing them to the broader public.

This year the preparatory committee for the awards chose finalists from 130 nominations. The public will soon have an opportunity to learn more about the extensive activities and projects of the successful NGOs Eduma n.o., Návrat o.z. (Return), and the Spokojnosť- centrum sociálnych služieb, n. o. (Satisfaction - a center for social services) NGO in Prievidza.

The three finalists in the category of Employer and Company include the firm of Pasell Slovakia s.r.o. in Poprad, the Nursery and Primary School in Jurská, and the Higher Technical School in Košice. The town of Fiľakovo and the villages of Radnovce and Vtáčkovce were nominated for the Town or Village category.

The award program will also introduce exceptional figures such as educator Jana Pierová; Jarmila Holubová, who has been creating a bridge of communications between the non-Romani and Romani community in Spišské Podhradie; and the young athlete Vilém Tankó. In the Media category, the finalists are the editor and journalist Jozef Šivák, the activist and influencer Denisa Havrľová, and the onilne "Romale" project produced by Art society s.r.o.    

In the Culture category, the three finalists are the fashion designer Pavel Berky, the rapper Rudo Danihel (aka Čavalenky), and author Nadežda Malčeková, who writes under the pseudonym Nela Nezábudková. The preparatory committee was also impressed by the exceptional work of Mr Alexander Mušinka, who has produced a monograph on the Romani author Elena Lacková; the precise production of a unique Romanes-Slovak dictionary of phrases by Ms Martina Horňáková; and by television broadcasts designed for children without Internet connections, produced by the national minority programming bureau of public broadcaster Radio and Television Slovakia (RTVS).  

Whoever eventually wins the Roma Spirit 2021 award in each category will be decided by the international Expert Jury and Deed of the Year Jury. The gala awards ceremony will be broadcast by RTVS on 9 December 2021, the eve of International Human Rights Day, 10 December.  

The 13th annual Roma Spirit award is produced by the Association for Culture, Education and Communication and RTVS. The event is being held under the auspices of the President of the Slovak Republic, Zuzana Čaputová, and the Public Defender of Rights of Slovakia, Mária Patakyová.
Since 2009, the public platform of Roma Spirit has been creating a community and a space for the development of intercultural dialogue, for the presentation of real stories, and for activities concentrating on supporting Romani communities and coexistence. The award expresses appreciation for the activities of individuals and organizations who advocate for spreading understanding and building respect.


Non-Governmental Organization Category

Eduma, n.o., Bratislava
Nominated for their comprehensive, long-term activity concentrating on educating at-risk groups and individuals in both the private and public sectors through interactive guidance toward sensitivity, receptivity and reflection. The group is especially nominated for its creative, innovative education and for holding experiential trainings and workshops. 

Návrat, o.z., Bratislava ("Return")
Nominated for their extensive, systematic activity oriented toward cultivating secure relationships for children, whether in their biological families or foster families. The group is especially nominated for working with children, parents and with whole families, providing them professional services concentrating especially on foster care and on aid to families who have ended up in an at-risk situation. 

Spokojenost – centrum sociálních služeb, n.o., Prievidza ("Satisfaction - Center for Social Services")
Nominated for a holistic approach to inclusion, delivering drop-in services, and the scope of their interventions for adults, children and youth, with active involvement of their clients. The group is especially nominated for programs accompanying young mothers in their interactions with authorities, soil therapy, and the implementation of the Romani Representative Committee.  

Employer and Company Category

PASELL SLOVAKIA s.r.o., Poprad
Nominated for their positive approach to full-time, permanent employment, non-discrimination, and support for the professional development of Romani communities in the city of Poprad and its surrounding areas. The company is especially nominated for its particular approach to individuals who have difficulty finding jobs and for its efforst to involve them in education and employment processes.

Jurská Nursery and Primary School, Jurská
Nominated for providing high-quality education to children from marginalized environments, for advancing teaching centered on children and their needs. The school is especially nominated for taking advantage of innovative educational methods and involving grandparents, parents, and other community members into the activities of the school.  
Higher Technical School in Košice
Nominated for supporting students in their education, for implementing "second-chance" education for children from marginalized communities including an instruction process that involves praxis and subsequent application on the labor market. The school is especially nominated for experimentally verifying the acceptance of children who have attended "special" primary schools into mainstream education.

Town and Village Category

Nominated for effective approaches to solving challenges faced by Romani communities through permanent work for the most integrated Romani community in Slovakia and their active involvement in activities concentrated on reducing unemployment in the region. The town is especially nominated for its innovative solutions in the areas of housing policy, public safety, and the coexistence of all inhabitants.

Nominated for their comprehensive, systematic work with a Romani-majority population and for promoting problem-free coexistence among residents of this village, which does not have a separate settlement for Romani people. The village is especially nominated for its active involvement in projects such as building a primary school and rental housing, combating unemployment, and beautifying and revitalizing the village itself.

Nominated for purposeful improvements to the quality of life of residents and for implementing activities concentrated on developing the village with the programmatic involvement of local women. The village is especially nominated for increasing the level of education among its residents, building infrastructure throughout the entire village, and developing social services for all inhabitants. 

Individual Category

Jana Pierová, Haligovce
Nominated for active educational work that is worthy of emulation and for the dedication, kindness and patience with which she listens to children's needs and develops their talents. She is especially nominated for leading children to developing their skills in performance, recitation and creative reading, in which they find motivation and have an opportunity to experience success and the joy of succeeding.  

Jarmila Holubová, Spišské Podhradie
Nominated for longstanding work to benefit good coexistence and social integration in Spišské Podhradie. She is especially nominated for her ability to positively influence and motivate people around her, for aiding hundreds of people with finding employment, and for her comprehensive approach through which she creates bridges of communication between non-Romani and Romani communities. 

Vilém Tankó, Matúškovo
Nominated for his inspiring story as an athlete and for the systematic work that has led to his enjoying great successes in the sports world. He is especially nominated because, as a junior representative of the Slovak Republic in boxing at the international level, he motivates young people to advance their lives, supporting them with networking and lifting up the voices of young Romani men and women.

Media Category

Art Society s.r.o., Bratislava
Nomination for their factual, well-produced Internet format of their "ROMALE" project. Their outputs, such as articles, podcasts and a talk show, concentrate on culture, education, and news reporting about the lives of Romani communities. The company is especially nominated for its targeted recruitment, training and presentation of Romani journalists. 

Denisa Havrľová, Bratislava
Nomination for her longterm work as an activist, influencer and journalist. Her work in the media space and as a professional impacts the broader public, both the non-Romani and Romani population, and her observations and determined fighting for human rights and justice are an inspirational, positive example.  

Jozef Šivák, Bratislava
Nomination for longterm, professional work as an editor and moderator who regularly covers minority-related subject matter, including issues related to the integration of Romani people in Slovakia, in the national media, and for popularizing important themes. 

Culture Category

Pavel Berky, Prague, Czech Republic
Nomination for his artistic activity and his personal activity dedicated to fashion design, which resonates on the domestic and international scenes through his unique production of his signature collections, shows and exhibitions. He is especially nominated for his unique connection with his love of both food and fashion and for taking advantage of his influencer position to popularize important subjects. 

Rudolf Danihel alias Čavalenky, Holíč
Nominated for musical output that is original and points to problems in the political system, reveals social subjects and tells stories from life on the streets on the border between the Czech Republic and Slovakia. He is especially nominated because he is a unique rapper using the typical dialect of the Záhorácký area to produce his own unmistakable raps with great feeling for words. 

Nadežda Malčeková, Bratislava
Nominated for her poems and prose written under the pseudonym Nela Nezábudková and for her autobiographical novel Holčička z kláštera (The Little Girl from the Nunnery) and its continuation, Jetelka (Clover), in which she authentically, straightforwardly captures the life of excluded Romani children through their own emotional worlds, or writes about how people can find their way to each other despite obstacles.  

Deed of the Year Category

Broadcasting Collective of National Minority Programming, RTVS, Košice
Nominated for implementing the educational program S vámi doma (Tumence khere - At Home With You) for children without Internet connections during distance learning during the pandemic. The program was designed for lower primary school children and was broadcast in both Czech and Romanes. Each episode was accompanied by workbooks and worksheets.  

Martina Horňáková, Jičín, Czech Republic
Nominated for preparing and precisely producing a Romanes-Slovak dictionary of phrases with more than 5 000 entries. The publication is one of a very few dedicated to the phraseology of Romanes specifically and is an information source for experts and the general public that familiarizes them with the culture and the lives of Romani people.

Alexander Mušinka, Velký Šariš
Nominated for documenting and producing his first stand-alone volume of a monograph about Elena Lacková, the eminent Romani author. The more than 200 page monograph includes an academic study of the author's life and output, a selection of her works, and a bibliography of published works by her associated with the Romanes-language newspaper Romano nevo ľil.

ryz, translated by Gwendolyn Albert
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