Projection of the movie I want to have choice
Women Space, supported in solidarity by Reconstruction Women’s Fund, initiated projection of the documentary movie I want to have a choice in 7 cities in Serbia. The movie was made in the scope of 2016 campaign, and young Roma women from Pirot, Niš and Vlasotince participated in the movie, which publicly sent a message that they are facing stereotypes, prejudice, violence and various restrictions imposed by their families, communities, schools, institutions, and that they want to make decisions about their own movement, education, employment, marriage, sex life, etc. independently and without the pressure.
Activists of Association Ternipe on March 26, organized projection in Pirot. The movie left a positive impression on the crowd, and young Roma women linked experiences from their own lives with the message of the movie and noticed many similarities with these young women.
In Bujanovac, the projection of the movie took place on April 4 in front of 15 women from Roma settlements. Activists of the Association of Roma Women Bujanovac talked with the spectators about the importance of making their own decisions in their own lives. Some of the women spoke with regret that they were not allowed to speak when they got married and that their parents made decisions for them.
The voice of women was also heard in Kruševac, where the activist of association Romani Cikna on April 5 and 8 organized two workshops for women, dedicated to education and the International Roma Day. Both workshops started with projection of the movie I Want to Have a Choice, and continued with the discussion on the importance of education.
In Novi Bečej, on April 7, organized by the Association of Roma People Novi Bečej, 12 women from Roma settlements watched movie and discussed about early, arranged and forced marriages. They all agreed that the marriage may not be concluded before legal age and finished at least primary school, they spoke about the violence they survived.
Similar messages and reactions could be heard on April 6 in Belgrade and on April 7 in Obrenovac, where activists of the Roma Center for Women and Children Daje organized projection and discussion.
This year the activists of the organization Outside the Margin, traditionally, in Prokuplje organized street action of measuring pressure and sugar in blood. With this action, World Health Day on April 7, and International Roma Day on April 8, were marked.
Roma Student initiative, this year, organized a series of activities to promote higher education and successful Roma women students from Serbia. They organized street actions: on April 3 in Vršac, on April 4, in Novi Sad, on April 6 in Niš and on April 10 in Belgrade. During these actions activists shared balloons to passers-by and presented the Month of Roma Women Activism. In addition to Women Space, these activities were supported by the Ecumenical Humanitarian Center from Novi Sad.
In each of mentioned cities, there was an exhibition of 27 photographs, these photographs present 27 students and their mothers, and next to each photograph was written post of each student on topic Why do I think that my future is brighter than the future that my mother had?
Over 150 Roma women and men, representatives of NGOs and institutions also attended the projection of the movie I Want to Have a Choice that was an introduction to the discussion. These events sent a clear message about the importance of higher education, the problems that highly educated Roma women face, their struggle to make decisions by themselves and fight prejudice and stereotypes, both in the wider society, in their universities and in communities they live in, that very often don’t see the need for education of girls, especially when it comes to university education.
These events were held in the Cultural Center in Vršac, Ecumenical Humanitarian Organization in Novi Sad, the Faculty of Electronic Engineering in Niš and the Human Rights House in Belgrade, and events were attended by the representatives of Higher School for Preschool Teachers – Vršac, the Assembly of the Autonomous Province of Vojvodina, Provincial Department of Education, Faculty of European Legal and Political Studies in Novi Sad, Provincial Ombudsman, Faculty of Law Niš, the Council for Human and Minority rights of the City of Niš, as well as Niš primary schools: Sreten Mladenovic Mika and Vuk Karadžić. In addition, organizations: Association of Roma Romano Krlo, Vršac; associations from Novi Sad: Association of Roma Bangladesh, Phralipe, Roma Students Association, Women’s Studies and Researches; Group for Children and Youth Indigo Niš, Association of Pedagogical Assistant and others, joined these actions.
One more movie projection was organized in the scope of the conference Roma Women in Serbia: Achievements, Challenges and Perspectives, that was organized in the Palace of Serbia on April 11, by women from the National Council of Roma National Minority. On that occasion spoke Nikolas Bisel, representative of the EU Delegation in Serbia, Andrea Oricio, head of the OSCE mission in Serbia, Nenad Ivanišević, State Secretary in the Ministry of Labor, Employment, Veteran and Social Policy, Brankica Janković, Commissioner for Equality, Suzana Paunović, Director of the Office for Human and Minority Rights, Gordana Stevanović, Deputy Ombudsman, Karla Robin Hershey, UNDP Resident Representative in Serbia, Vitomir Mihajlović, President of the National Council of Roma National Minority, Radmila Zećirović, Slavica Vasić, Marina Simeunović and Ana Saćipović in front of Roma Women Network.
The event was covered by the editorial staff of Radio Belgrade, and the recording is available at: