INDUCTION in more ways than one…

‘INDUCTION in more ways than one’

The Romedia Foundation is proud to introduce its new recruit, Alastair Watt, who joined us at the start of September as a volunteer. He is originally from Scotland but arrived here directly from Georgia where he had spent the previous year working for a human rights organisation. Last week, he represented Romedia at the ‘Induction’ workshop in Budapest and found it to be an induction in every sense of the word…..

Disembarking from the number 6 tram at Corvin-Negyed I walked briskly to the Hotel Corvin in a curious mood. Here I would meet the dozen or so participants for the 3-day ‘Induction’ workshop arranged by fellow Budapest organization  Nonprofit Human Szolgaltatok Orszagos Szovetsege (Association of Nonprofit Human Services of Hungary or ANHSH).  The aim of the event was to share best practices among Roma and migrant communities across Europe, with each participant sharing his or her experience from their resident country.

Lead by the vibrant Viki, the project coordinator, the opening night involved a sightseeing tour, the like of which you won’t find advertised anywhere. Our intrepid group of Germans, Spaniards, Portuguese, Romanians, Hungarians and this solitary Scot were shown around Budapest’s notorious 8th district, believed to be the poorest in the city. However, the tour was enriching with a theatre, a church and a youth centre all taken in before a visit to a Roma musician’s family home where we were treated to a serenade from the violin. New friendships were being formed and new perspectives developed on a thoroughly enjoyable opening night.

Participants enjoy the excellent walking tour of Budapest’s 8th district

The following day it was down to business. Presentations from Daniel of the Romania-based Nevo Parudimos, Jose of AE20 from Portugal and Uwe from the German organization YES Forum were among the inspiring highlights of the day. Midway through proceedings it was Romedia’s turn to inspire. After a brief summary of Romedia’s activities of past and present, two films were shown to an enthralled and inquisitive audience.

Alastair presents 2 of Romedia’s films from the Mundi Romani series

First, our documentary on famous Roma musician Ferenc Snetberger offered a light but serious introduction into the Mundi Romani project, portraying the world through Roma eyes. Feedback was lively. “Where can I see more of these films?” asked one, “Do you have his phone number” joked another. The second film screened deserved and received a less jovial response. Our latest film ‘Uprooted’ documents the stories of 3 German Roma children facing constant uncertainty and impending deportation or repatriation to Kosovo. Lengthy discussion ensued, with one of the participant, who fled Bosnia to go to Germany in the 1990s, particularly aware of the harsh but rarely broadcast reality in Western Europe.

One Portuguese participant admitted: “I had no idea about this” before insisting “these films are so important, keep making them!”

Don’t worry Jose, we will.

The workshop finished on September 30 after a successful and interesting three days. From a personal perspective, seeing the reactions to the films screened by Romedia and hearing the powerfully positive support and demand for more, confirmed my belief that I had joined an extremely worthy and professional cause here in Hungary.

Alastair Watt