Who are the founders? How old are they?
And volunteers (18-28)
Where does the network work?
When was the Network first launched?
The Diverse Youth Network was launched in 2018 and it is still running.
THE CONTEXT: what was the challenge the network wanted to address?
It is evident that for most of us it is easy to access education, to actively participate in politics and let our voice be heard in decision-making processes, while others face many barriers. One of the reasons that called this organisation into being was to bring together the young people who are not included in the decision making processes of their society.
The founding members realised that people who belong to a minority group of the society and also to an ethnic minority group, are hardly ever properly supported by the State or civil organisations. LGBTQ associations are not always capable to adequately represent the rights of people who belong to ethnic minorities, whilst Roma movements are not able to sufficiently protect and foster basic human rights of LGBTQ people of Roma origin.
The other main challenge addressed by DYN is the lack of educational opportunities for Roma youth, especially for young Roma girls, for whom graduation and a career start can seem like an unreachable dream.
Who was primarily affected by the challenge?
Their actions reach out to members of ethnic minority groups with emphasis on the youngest generation, to other minority groups, as the LGBTQ community, to teachers, educators, who interact with socially excluded people, to other civil organizations for improving their collaboration, and as part of their awareness-raising effort, to the public at large.
THE INTERVENTION: What initiatives were then promoted by the Diverse Youth Network?
The projects of the Diverse Youth Network focus on reaching out to those young people who are willing to strengthen diversity within the society through inclusion of national minorities, LGBTQ communities and any other group who feel socially excluded.
In the past two years, pilot projects were launched, such as: Step on Roma Ride, Freedom of My Identity Human Rights-Festival, From hate speech to genocide-conference, Pécs Pride 2020.
Their initiatives are mostly offline, but they are well-documented on Facebook, Instagram and on their own website. The Facebook page of the organisation provides all information for the audience.
Step on Roma Ride
The aim of this flagship program is to empower Roma women and raise awareness within Roma families on the importance of education and encourage them to build long term perspectives in both professional and private lives. Many roadshows and workshops were organised in Hungary where young Roma girls could meet personally their icons: successful Roma women who graduated in schools and universities and built up a career on their own.
In 2020, on international women’s day, DYN announced online a milestone of the project: they delivered a publication entitled “Gypsy, Roma Women on the Way to Success” containing testimonies of young Roma women on their struggle for success.
Freedom of My Identity
In 2019, following their human rights related educational training series, supporting sessions for trans people and the first Roma LGBTQ forum, the DYN decided to dream big and take action again: they started to organise the very first LGBTQ+ Pride event in the countryside of Hungary, in the city of Pécs. The event was planned to take place in May 2020, but due to the COVID-19 outbreak, they needed to change their plans a bit. This is how it turned to be an online festival called Freedom of My Identity Human Rights Festival and Pécs Pride Solidarity, a 3-day online event with webinars and roundtable discussions on Gender roles in Roma communities, Trans Rights, Feminism after COVID-19, Religion and LGBT and with the Pécs Pride Solidarity Online Demonstration. Each session of the festival was attended online by 1.000 – 4.000 people separately.
What are the outcomes and results of these initiatives?
The Step on Roma Ride programme to promote educational rights of young Roma girls fascinated many young girls all over the country by giving them the chance to meet well-known Roma women, listen to their stories and take their advices on how to make dreams come true.
The SuperRomanes language courses helped many people to successfully complete the required language exam for a university degree. Founding members of the organization made it possible for socially deprived persons to participate at lectures free of charge.
The LGBTQ focused initiatives helped to build bridges between people concerned and raise awareness of the public on the challenges this community faces daily. They organised a first of its kind Roma LGBTQI+ Forum in 2019 in Pécs, Hungary, with the participation of 21 activists. Participants of the forum shared updates on the work of the Roma LGBTQI+ movement and good practices in the areas of human rights education and advocacy; and created an action plan for the future.
Most activities of the DYN are welcome and supported by the public, however, certain initiatives are rather opposed by representatives of some online media platforms, which do not wish to support the promotion of equal rights to everyone.
Why are these initiatives considered successful? What consequences can be clearly identified thanks to them?
The organisation started as a grassroot project aimed to help people who feel themselves excluded from society. Within just a couple of years they gained support from a wide variety of actors and civil organisations.
Their example proves that a couple of good friends with a clear vision can improve the lives of many.
The DYN was enlisted as one of the 5 final competitors for the Roma Youth Project Award 2020.