This person I will talk to, that person I won’t

Author: Workshop V
Location: EastWest Institute – Prague
[If we are going to apply methods of the Stories Exchange Project to relationships between Drom and the Romany community,] there are several Romany leaders in Brno whom we could involve. The problem is that there are groups of people that back up these leaders; they’re really like political parties. And these groups are not able to agree on anything. So if there aresupporters of one leader and supporters of another leader, they can talk among themselves, but when it relates to issues involving the politics of thesegroups they get into a fight, and speak badly about one another, even slander one another. It will be hard for them to communicate.
At the moment we don’t have a Romany Advisor in Brno like you, Eva. The post is vacant, and a search has begun. In the meantime we have people who help the Center in that way. My mother is active there, But again, communication is an issue. "This person I will talk to, that person I won’t.” I don’t know why that is, but it certainly is what goes on.
Eva BajgerovaRomany Advisor, Usti nad LabemLocal Project Coordinator, Stories Exchange Project
I succeeded in working with Romany civic associations in Brno because they needed me for information. I taught them how to write applications for grants, and they managed to get several. So they began to trust me. They began to believe that I do have information.
I told them I was not going to interfere with what they do, that my role is to help them do what they do. And they realize that I treat people equally and that I give information to everyone, not selectively or with any favoritism. So now they trust me and they come to me for information. They call me maybe every Monday.
And then in return, because I give them information, they are wiling to work with me.
Martina Hudeckova
In Brno the civic associations have been established for a long time. They wouldn’t want a single advisor who would be the central point of information exchange. They would be worried if their rivals worked with that person too. They wouldn’t like that.
John W. ErwinProject DirectorThe Stories Exchange Project
In fact we’ve been thinking about how this project could help create complementary full-time jobs in various cities for persons who would help the official Romany Advisor in the district offices but also establish relationships that he or she couldn’t because of the reaquirements of his or her job andattitudes of Romany – and Czech – civic associations like what Martina is talking about.

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