PAKIV EUROPEAN ROMA FUND

Pakiv is the Roma network for the European activities of the Freudenberg Foundation. With its Reflexion Group, Pakiv decisively defined the so-called “Weinheim Declaration” by making concrete recommendations for educating and integrating Roma in Europe.

“Pakiv” is a Romani word and means loyalty, honesty, contractual fidelity and values: in other words, attributes that the Roma stress in relations amongst themselves and with non-Roma.

What are the activities of Pakiv?

The most important project of the “Pakiv Reflexion Group” at the present time is the publication of a compilation called “From Victimhood to Citizenship: The Path of Roma Integration”. The book’s objective is to initiate a discussion among the Roma, particularly on ethical questions. The primary hope of the authors and supporters is that this will improve the conditions underlying the Roma’s own perception of civic rights.

Why is the Freudenberg Foundation supporting Pakiv?

Pakiv is the Roma network for the European activities of the Freudenberg Foundation and, amongst other things, advises the Forum for Roma Inclusion.

Contact

Pakiv European Roma Fund
Nikolay Kirilov
Pozsonyi ut 14. II/9
1137 Budapest, Hungary
Phone 0036-1-237–6020
Fax 0036-1-237-6029
n.kirilov@pakiv.org
www.pakivnet.org

CHANGE STORY

In fifth grade, Marian frequently heard ironic comments and was picked on because of his gypsy roots. If not for his mother’s persistence, he would not have gone to school anymore. Unfortunately, Marian’s only good grades were in English, his favorite subject. At any rate, he didn’t achieve the grade-point average needed to go to secondary school and so, as a makeshift solution, he decided to attend Oberschule and start an apprenticeship as an auto mechanic. Here, too, Marian was the only Roma. Among the 500 students attending an Oberschule in the town, there were perhaps 5 Roma.

In spring 2003 he saw the call for applicants for the second round of the “International Leadership and Community Development Training”. He applied and was selected as one of six Bulgarians from a total group of 120 applicants. The twenty-two selected trainees from four countries met in Sofia to start the one-year program, which included learning English, team formation, analyses of strengths and weaknesses, writing reports, solving conflicts, setting up associations, business administration, and drawing up a business plan. The highlight of the training program was a six-week course of study at the International People’s College in Denmark, where courses focusing on project management, monitoring, preparing applications, public and media relations as well as human rights rounded off the previous curriculum. The program was called “Pakiv”, which means “trust” and “good manners” in Romani. The most important part of the program probably were the discussions on such questions as identity and their relationship to the majority society held after and between the courses. The Roma participants found that they felt deep distrust and frequently cynical and useless refusal towards gadje. They wanted to change that. They hoped that trust and good manners would define not only the relationships between themselves but also to members of the majority society, with whom they wanted to work together. When they returned at the end of November, all participants, with the help of mentors from the first round of training, prepared reports and outlined projects for Roma settlements in their home countries.

This marked the beginning of a new life for Marian. He was offered a job at the foundation “Creating Effective Grassroot Alternatives” in Sofia, which promotes the democratic development of under-privileged towns through local action plans. Marian is responsible for identifying local Roma initiatives and supporting their growth. For two years he has been studying business administration so as to be able to provide more competent advice to the Roma organizations he supervises. Many participants of the training program have had the same experience – almost all of them began studying after the training program. Some are working for ministries or government offices, two made it as far as state secretary and government spokeswoman. About 25 of the 40 participants of both training rounds formed the Pakiv European Network in 2007. At the present time, Marian is president of the network.