Sampicha Souleiman, Greece

Nominated for overcoming stereotypes and advocating for the rights of Roma – focusing on Roma women.

Sampicha Souleiman was born in a Romani settlement in the city of Xanthi. She is a passionate activist for the rights of Roma in Greece. Since 2006 she has been the President of the Cultural and Educational Roma Women’s Association of Drosero – Xanthi “ELPIDA” (THE HOPE). Elpida’s activities aim to empower the women of the community and to support their role in their families and the community, provide different forms of education and learning to Drosero’s children and adults, carry out creative activities for children, create opportunities for a better future for the children of Drosero through the acquisition of necessary dexterities and knowhow, enhance their ability to assert their right to better living conditions, fight adult illiteracy, disseminate information and try to curtail problems related to the health of the residents, domestic violence, lack of civil registration, lack of social benefits, etc.

She appeals to relevant public services for the improvement of the infrastructure facilities in the area and supports cooperation with other organizations, which share “ELPIDA’s” vision, in order to achieve the goals of the association.

Collaboration with international organizations, with foundations and national and foreign agencies which are active in the area of defence of human rights, celebration Roma events (for example, Ederlezi, International Roma Day, Bogkorotisa: Day of Holly Mary) in order to keep the tradition and culture alive and the creation of a home environment where women and children can feel save and rely on “ELPIDA” are some of the additional activities.

Sampicha Souleiman has participated in European conferences and forums in defense of the rights of Roma women for a better and more dignified life. In 2010, she was selected by the U.S. Diplomatic Mission to Greece (US Mission in Greece) to participate in the State Department’s International Visitors Leadership Program, held in various cities of the United States (Washington, New York, San Francisco, Dallas, etc.).