One week festivities to promote Roma values and urge their greater inclusion

08 Apr 2013

imageUN Resident Coordinator and UNDP Resident Representative, Ms. Zineb Touimi-Benjelloun visiting the Artisan Fair on International Roma Day. (Credit: UNDPA Albania)

Tirana citizens celebrated today International Roma Day and joined other activities organized as part of the “Roma Values Week”. The activities organized by UNDP in cooperation with other partners highlighted the challenges faced by Roma and Egyptian communities and urged for their greater inclusion in the development mainstream. The events also conveyed a key message: Roma have great values and they should be promoted.

An Intercultural Artisans Fair organized in Murat Toptani Street brought together Roma artists across the country. An extensive collection of craft pieces and handmade products displayed by talented Roma artists and artisans attracted many visitors.

The Deputy Mayor of Tirana Ms. Jorida Tabaku, UN Resident Coordinator and UNDP Resident Representative, Ms. Zineb Touimi-Benjelloun, representatives from the European Union Delegation and government also participated at the fair.

Deputy Mayor of Tirana Ms. Jorida Tabaku noted that the Municipality of Tirana has a major plan to support Roma youth who want to attend school and those looking for a job.
“The Municipality of Tirana will take concrete policies to support Roma enterprises in the future. We will implement these policies through the office of Anti-Discrimination Commissioner in the Municipality of Tirana and they will be followed at the same time with civil registration, education, and housing initiatives.”

Ms. Zineb Toumi-Benjelloun, UNDP Resident Representative, amongst others highlighted: “On the occasion of International Roma Day, we call upon all relevant parties to strengthen the social and political climate wherein the rights and the culture of Roma are further respected and celebrated at all times. We would also like to call upon Roma and Egyptian communities to continue to strive for effective inclusion in the development drive”.

A roma craftsman, who was displaying his hand made pieces amongst others said: “This is such an excellent opportunity for me to be here and display my works. Thanks to this fair, many people ordered a number of products. This will generate some income for me and my family who are faced with so many difficulties. I was touched by the respect people showed towards my works and I am full of hope”.

To promote the values of the Roma and Egyptian culture, Roma Values Week will continue with a series of activities such as the presentation of Cultural Diversity Goodwill Ambassadors, staging of the “Les Miserables” drama by Roma youth and University of Arts students, a photo exhibition portraying Roma culture as well as screening of documentaries highlighting roma spirit and values.

United Nations Development Programme is working in seven regions of Albania (Tirana, Durrës, Elbasan, Fier, Vlore, Korce, Berat) to promote social inclusion and empower Roma and Egyptian communities through encouraging participatory planning for infrastructure development; strengthening capacities of Roma and Egyptian civil society organizations; promoting employability and entrepreneurship; assisting the implementation and monitoring of the National Decade Action Plan for Roma, as well as fostering respect for human rights and cultural diversity.

The intervention is provided in the framework of two projects namely, Supporting Social Inclusion of Roma and Egyptian Communities (SSIREC) Project funded by the European Union and Empowering the Vulnerable Local Communities in Albania (EVLC) funded by United Nations Human Security Trust Fund. These projects are implemented in partnership with the Ministry of Labour, Social Affairs and Equal Opportunities.

Contact Information

Nora Kushti,
UNDP Communications Manager
E-mail: nora.kushti@undp.org