The Roma issue is of a wide-ranging dimension. The focus of society tends to be on the negative aspects of Roma integration, which supports the rather negative and unfavourable attitudes of the rest of the population towards Roma. There is a need to contradict contemporary tendencies and spread positive information and understanding, the need for active networking and open comprehensive dialogue that will challenge today’s stereotypes and prejudices. The unacceptable gap between Roma and the rest of the society can be closed only by active cooperation of relevant stakeholders – state actors, professionals, companies, non-governmental organizations, media, and above all with public participation.
In order to promote a dialogue and develop network for encouraging the governments, organizations, institutions, and citizens to combine their efforts in supporting those who work to strengthen Roma integration into society the Roma Spirit was initiated.
Roma Spirit is the result of years of experience operating in the field of social inclusion of disadvantaged communities and in the areas of culture on the national and international level. Roma Spirit, a project initiated by the Slovak Republic, replicated by the Czech Republic and brought to the European level, aims to promote the efforts by individuals and organizations in improving the situation of Roma. The project also promotes a positive image of Roma, Roma culture and contributes to the elimination of stereotypes and prejudices against Roma.
The European Roma Spirit is a continuation of the Roma Spirit project on European level. The European Roma Spirit creates a unique European platform for all involved parties – government, nongovernmental organizations, private sector, active individuals, experts from respective fields, and above all the general public. The European Roma Spirit connects the positive efforts of actors in multiple countries to strengthen international cooperation for improvement of situation of the Roma in Europe.
The core of the European Roma Spirit is the European Roma Spirit Award (ERSA). The ERSA provides the working model of the original and attractive way of presenting successful dealing with Roma issues proven by years. Via the ERSA we present the best examples of responding to the issues that the Roma community is facing. ERSA Award is awarded for activities and projects that not only bring measurable results for Roma people, but also actually offer real help. ERSA Award is given to winners at highly human and cultural multi – genre event. ERSA Award giving ceremony showcasing the final nominations accompanied by cultural program is broadcasted to the general public. Thanks to the public presentation, appraisal of examples, demonstration of the performance and developments in real cases, ERSA creates communication route to promote the Roma European inclusion.