Roma Community Advocacy Project

The Forum Theatre engages beneficiaries of one-to-one advocacy as “actors”, enabling their “powerlessness” to become a constructive reference in the “actors” and audience’s effort to identify their problems and search for long-term solutions. It is also a vehicle for learning for non-Roma professionals, enabling them to understand Roma needs and aspirations in order to create better conditions for their integration.

The Project aims to achieve the following outcomes for its beneficiaries:

  • Increased confidence to manage their lives independently
  • Improved employability skills and learning opportunities
  • Improved health awareness, well-being and emotional resilience
  • Increased levels of social interaction and reduced levels of isolation

You can read more about our Forum Theatre and other activities of the Project on page 3 of a newsletter of the community and voluntary sector in Redbridge.

The Roma Community Advocacy Project is based on 15 years of our advocacy experience, which has been developed according to consultations with our beneficiaries. Our one-to-one advocacy has enabled thousands of Roma families to access/ benefit from public services, while our Forum Theatre projects have transformed the lives of our beneficiaries, empowering them to address their problems. This Project brings these different strands of our work together, as well as allowing us time to make and consolidate a long-lasting change resulting in building a stronger and more sustainable Roma community.

Sylvia Ingmire, CEO of the Roma Support Group, explains:

“Our experience of working with Roma refugees and migrants reveals that the effects of multigenerational disadvantages, hundreds of years of discrimination, persecution and social exclusion cannot be “fixed” with short-term solutions. The Roma people whom we work with came to the UK with the “baggage” of being outcasts or second class citizens in their countries of origin. Therefore, every day of our work with Roma community members highlights the need for their individual or collective learning about their rights and responsibilities stemming from their status as residents/ citizens in Britain.

The large-scale Roma migration to the UK has given Roma refugees and migrants an unprecedented opportunity to make decisions about integration, engagement and individual/ community development, which they have never been able to make before. These decisions cannot be meaningful unless they are well informed and Roma-led.
As the ‘point of departure’ is underpinned by deeply rooted and internalised sense of individual and collective inequalities, the ‘distance to be travelled’ by our beneficiaries requires a long-term programme of holistic support which will address their complex needs and disadvantages, while creating role models and disseminating learning across the community and amongst external professionals.”