Roma Youth Radio

Could a group of websites and social media from around Europe operated by and for Roma youth really work? Could Roma kids help shape their own future through making radio and social media?

The Issue

Marginalization of the Romani minorities of Central/Eastern Europe remains among the most difficult problems facing Europe today. The search for solutions must include empowerment of Roma people through education and access to media structures.

The Call to Action

At the EU Roma Summit in 2008, European Commission President Jose Manuel Barroso called upon all of Europe: “We must use all means possible to improve the inclusion of Roma people. Unless fundamental change happens, millions of young Roma will face nothing else than a lifetime of social exclusion and marginalization. Mainsteam societies need to offer Roma youth a real, practical chance to improve their own perspectives.” He continued: “We should encourage the Roma to become active subjects of their destiny and to take responsibility for their lives. But we must offer them real opportunities. People grow into citizens, only when they get the opportunity to do so.”

Our Idea

Community Radio owned and operated by Roma youth groups can provide an effective means for media literacy, collaboration, inclusion, access, education employment skills development and social cohesion. The Roma Youth Radio Project is a multi-year initiative to establish and maintain a website comprised of sustainable FM radios operated by the Roma minority youth in Europe. Its goals are to establish enabling environments for Roma youth radio in civil societies, and develop sustainable Roma youth radio organizations. The project is based on a strategic plan developed by Henry Loeser at Masaryk University that will employ advocacy, consulting, and training, and project development.

How Does it Work?

The plan is to work in parallel on a macro and micro level. First, RadioExpert builds and supports a "Roma Youth Radio" with seperate pages & streams for each country / language. Second, stakeholders & participants in each country/locale are engaged through a series of workshops, consulting and training sessions in a community-building exercise with the radio at the heart of the collaboration. Then basic facilities are assembled and Roma youth begin producing their local programs in their local language, which are uploaded regularly to their channel on the website.

Outcome

The Roma Youth Radio Project would contribute to enhancing tolerance and mutual understanding by providing a means of communication for Roma youth to better understand their role and responsibilities in EU society, and also for non-Roma people to learn about Roma culture, values, and issues thereby reducing racism and intolerance through understanding. It would promote employment through the transfer of know-how and skills capacity building. Successful Roma online radio programs will then be a conduit for sustainable development by associated groups, also encouraging social cohesion by establishing Roma media as effective civil society organizations. To see the project in action, click here.