Ionescu, M., Trikic, Z.
Published in:
ISSA - International Step by Step Association
The Netherlands

Roma Empowerment and Support for Inclusion – Case study Rome, Italy

Growing through sharing together: Needs and aspirations of Romani early childhood professionals report was developed to support  ISSA and Early Childhood Program at the Open Society Foundation to launch The Romani Early Years Network (REYN).  The selected group of practitioners provided information through questionnaires and interviews regarding their continuous professional development needs stating that it would be of great importance to combine formal and in-service training which would result in either certification or diplomas. They also showed significant interest in study-visits as a form of in-service training, and saw value in participating in a European ECD network supporting emerging and established Romani early childhood development professionals, as well as other professionals working in the field of ECD with Roma, Ashkali, Egyptian, Sinti, Gitano and other communities. 

The case study on Rome, Italy focuses on two projects, Sar San (1 and 2) and Stop Roma Apartheid (continued as Aver Drom) implemented by Associazione Luglio 21 Onlus from Rome and ABCitta Societa Cooperativa Sociale Onlus from Milan. The two projects complemented each other: Sar San (since 2013) focused on providing services for Roma children and families living in camps and Stop Roma Apartheid (started in 2014 and continued as Aver Drom since 2015) which focused solely on advocacy on the level of municipality and in national fora. The case study clearly demonstrates both the urgent need for intervention and the challenges of working in a politically and economically hostile environment marked by discriminatory practices and segregation of Roma in Italy. It also showcases the importance of advocacy efforts and actions aimed at addressing child- and human rights and with awareness raising on the importance of inclusion of young Roma children and their families in the mainstream society.