Mama Roma Dendropotamos

SolidarityNow, in collaboration with UNICEF Greece and the Roma Women’s Association of Dendropotamos, implements from July 2021 actions to empower 100 adolescent and adult Roma women under the title “Development of a support model (peer support) from Roma to Roma”, on the topics of nutrition and health (including reproductive health), parenthood, gender roles, and child protection.

Mama Pelekas Katerini

From December 2021, SolidarityNow started its collaboration with the Roma branch of the Katerini Community Center. Firstly, the partnership took place within the framework of the Mama program actions, with targeted activities for child nutrition, women’s health, parenthood, breastfeeding and pregnancy. The collaboration continues to this day, with regular visits by the SolidarityNow team to the settlement of Pelekas where the Roma community inhabits.

Roma civil monitor

SolidarityNow participates in the National Partnership of the Roma Civil Monitor 2021-2025 which is coordinated by the Roma Women’s Association and includes: the Union of Drama Women, and the Greek Association of Women Entrepreneurs (S.E.G.E.), ARSIS, Roma without Borders, Art bridges, “Faros tou kosmou” Youth Center. The Partnership aims to monitor the National Strategy for Roma, participate in its formation, and ensure the coherence of measures with the priorities in the Roma settlements and the alignment with the European strategy and priorities.

Photography Courses & Exhibition

SolidarityNow in collaboration with the Lighthouse of the World held a series of photography courses for primary school children and teenagers in Dendropotamos. After a series of portraits were completed, students were given disposable cameras and asked to present their daily life in the neighborhood through their camera lenses. At the end of the activity, the children’s portraits and photos were presented in an open exhibition to parents and residents of Dendropotamos, which was completed with a celebration where the students were given their portraits and photos as a souvenir.

Lesson: Roma History (Politics, identity), to beneficiaries of the Lighthouse of the World and the Roma Women’s Association

Online courses on Roma history – identity, politics, and local history – were held during quarantine (2021) and then in-person, by SolidarityNow for Lighthouse of the World and Roma Women’s Association. The purpose of the Roma history course was for the beneficiaries to learn their history and search for their roots, morals, customs, and connection with the present. In addition to the important historical information that helped the participants to comprehend the reasons and causes that led to some of the most important events in the Roma history, they were also given the opportunity to explore the history of their ancestors. Emphasis was given to the need of creating the Roma identity by the Roma people themselves and not by the full acceptance of what non-Roma historians charge the Roma community. Also, the participation of some non-Roma volunteers and executives made them understand more about the Roma community in which they work or volunteer.

Capacity building of beneficiaries at the Lighthouse of the World and the Roma Women’s Association

SolidarityNow held a series of online and in-person meetings with beneficiaries of the Lighthouse of the World and the Association of Roma Women Dendropotamos. The capacity building aimed to train the beneficiaries in the basic theoretical and practical concepts of managing an NGO and operating it independently having SolidarityNow by their side in an advisory role (mentor). For this reason, the course capacity building gradually evolved into mentoring.

Mentoring Roma Women

Alongside the Skills Development courses, SolidarityNow started mentoring for the Roma Women’s Association. Employees from each department of the SolidarityNow offices in Thessaloniki held meetings with the Board of Directors and staff of the Association to work on real problems and challenges. Following the completion of the mentoring, the Memorandum of Cooperation between SolidarityNow and the Roma Women’s Association became reality, within the framework of the Medi Rom program of the Open Society Foundations, on the topic of connecting the Roma with primary health care.

Mentoring Medi Rom

The signing of a memorandum between SolidarityNow and Dendropotamos Roma Women’s Association for the implementation of the Medi Rom program

SolidarityNow had the role of expert/consultant, supporting the creation of a programmatic strategy and its promotion, as well as the development of a strategy for fundraising. The aim is to bring the state and municipality closer to the Roma population and to enable the interconnection and collaboration of health services and staff with the Roma communities.

Roma political school

For the last two years, SolidarityNow participated in the Roma Political school which was held by the Roma Women’s Association with the support of the Council of Europe, organizing online and in-person meetings in Athens and Thessaloniki. The four-day meeting in Thessaloniki in 2021 was held at the Blue Refugee Center of SolidarityNow and was added to the program as a best partnership practice.