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Rewarding excellence in civil society initiatives : the finalists Brussels

Shortlist

The EESC received 81 very strong applications from across all the European Union. The work of the four external assessors was very challenging, considering the high level of all applications: over the summer, the assessors had to draw a shortlist of eight projects, which subsequently had to be submitted to the final Jury (chaired by EESC President Malosse), to decide on the three winners.

  • Ákos Topolánszki, Member of the EESC, Director of the federation of Hungarian drug therapy institutes
  • Jillian van Turnhout, Senator, and Chair of Early Childhood Ireland
  • Damian Draghici, MEP and former national contact point for Roma integration in Romania, and musician (represented by Claudia Grosu)
  • Sixto Molina, Head of the support team of the special representative of the secretary general for Roma issues at the Council of Europe

Among the shortlisted candidates were Fundación Secretariado Gitano (FSG) from Spain, the Bulgarian Helsinki Committee, European Grassroots Antiracist Movement from France, Autonomous centre (ACT) from Croatia and Drop-In Centre Hirundo at Helsinki Deaconess Institute from Finland.

8 Finalists (in alphabetical order):

Autonomous centre – ACT

www.actnow.hr

Autonomous centre – ACT is a grassroots civil society organisation initiated by a local group of young people dedicated to a mission of social and cultural capital development and civil society values promotion through dynamic and wide scale awareness raising, capacity building, consultancy, social innovation and enterprising activities. ACT's vision is to create a just and more humane society wit equal access to resources, knowledge and information where each and every individual is important, empowered and responsible, and proactively act for the benefit of the society and nature.

Bulgarian Helsinki Committee

http://www.bghelsinki.org

The goal of the organization is to contribute to the protection of human rights domestically and to protect the most vulnerable members of society. BHC engages in public and legal advocacy to ensure better protection of human rights, it engages in activities aimed at stimulating legislative reform to bring Bulgarian legislation in line with international human rights standards, it strives to popularize and make widely available human rights instruments and to trigger public debate and better understanding of human rights issues.

 

In its work BHC places a special priority on the protection of the rights of the most vulnerable members of society: ethnic minorities, particularly the Roma minority, underprivileged groups, children, particularly institutionalized children and institutionalized children with special needs, women, persons deprived of their liberty, persons with mental health problems and developmental disabilities in state institutions, refugees and asylum seekers.

Drop-In Centre Hirundo at Helsinki Deaconess Institute

www.hdl.fi

Helsinki Deaconess Institute is the largest operative foundation in Finland. It was established in 1867 and today it forms a group that is committed to building the Finnish well-being in society and social responsibility.

The institute has a long history in working for the inclusion of Roma. Finland’s Roma are a linguistic and cultural minority who has lived in the country for over 500 years. The Roma are Finnish citizens and enjoy full civil rights, but on average, they are in a weaker economic and social position compared to other Finns. During the past decades, Helsinki Deaconess Institute has become a consulting body for the relevant actors in the field of Roma inclusion in general and education in particular. The institute provides services for Roma inclusion in the field of education, employment, housing, low threshold services, participation and empowerment, and advocacy and lobbying at the national and European level.

ETP Slovakia – Centre for Sustainable Development

www.etp.sk

ETP Slovakia – Centre for Sustainable Development (“ETP”) is a not-for-profit organization that works with communities in Slovakia, supporting and assisting disadvantaged and marginalized groups, the poorest of the poor, predominantly Roma from marginalized settlements, in order to encourage integration by improving their social and economic situation. ETP has been working for more than 14 years with Roma communities in Eastern Slovakia, operating community centres, established in partnership with local municipalities, and providing social services In particular, ETP promotes employment opportunities, provides care for vulnerable people including the elderly, provides education & training, helps poor families to secure and improve their housing and teaches them how to save and manage their finances. ETP’s focus is on five main areas: housing, education, employment, health, and financial inclusion. Providing comprehensive services, ETP embraces the principle “from cradle-to-grave“– the provision of life-long education for the whole community and all age groups.

European Grassroots Antiracist Movement

http://www.egam.eu/

The European Grassroots Antiracist Movement EGAM was founded in November 2010 in Paris.

Its main objective is to answer the rise in racism, antisemitism and populism in Europe and to structure European civil society's commitment to equality and justice. EGAM gathers the most important antiracist organizations from more than 30 countries all over Europe, inside and outside the European Union.

EGAM's strategy is focused on three main types of activities: European-wide grassroots actions, lobbying activities that target the European Institutions and providing support to the leaders of the antiracist civil society.

EGAM invents, launches and coordinates simultaneous grassroots actions at the European level. 

Fundación Secretariado Gitano (FSG)

www.gitanos.org

The Fundación Secretariado Gitano (FSG) is a non-profit, inter-cultural social organisation whose mission is the comprehensive advancement of the Roma community, by means of a multi-disciplinary approach, in Spain (through over 50 local offices distributed throughout 14 Autonomous Communities) and Europe (through a wide range of initiatives in different countries and its office in Romania).

The FSG commenced activity in the 1960s and was legally constituted in 1982. Since then, the aim of the FSG has been to help the Roma people gain access to their rights and the available goods, services and resources on an equal footing with all other citizens and thus contribute to building a more cohesive intercultural society. To that end, the FSG implements a broad range of actions which contribute to achieving full citizenship for Roma, improving living standards, promoting equal treatment and preventing all forms of discrimination as well as promoting the recognition of the Roma community's cultural identity.

IQ Roma servis (NGO, independent civic association)

www.iqrs.cz

As a pro-Roma non-profit non-governmental civic association, established in 1997, the primary target group are Roma people. In its membership platform as well as within the employee team IQ Roma servis (also as IQRS) promotes multicultural approach and is an Ethnic friendly employer, fulfilling its vision in good practise on a small organisational scale, with the prospect of a wider development in the EU society in future.

Vision of IQ Roma servis: “We want a world where true and friendly relationships between Roma and majority people exist – a world in which Roma naturally hold dignified social roles with respect to their culture and nationality”.

Mission of IQ Roma servis: “To be an intermediary who supports possibilities, opportunities and resolutions of Roma on their way of personal growth and social fulfilment and protects their rights and dignity within the wide society.”

Reverend Archimandrite Athinagoras Loukataris

www.farostoukosmou.gr

In 2004, Rev. Archimandrite Athinagoras was sent by the Holy Metropolis of Neapolis-Stavroupolis to serve the parish of Dendropotamos (in the West Side of Thessaloniki). In this area live about 5,000 residents, and most of them, around 4,000, are Roma. It is estimated that approximately 800 of them are minors.

Rev. Archimandrite Athinagoras realizing the acute problems of poverty, crime and degradation in the area proceeded, with the support of the Holy Metropolis, to the creation of a voluntary structure, the “Lighthouse of the World”, aiming to develop and implement actions to support the vulnerable group of Roma, and especially the Roma children. The organization operates in the basement of the parish church. In this space, since 2004, created, developed and operates the Lighthouse of the World as a center for the protection of Dendropotamos minors.