Our Roma Project consists of two initiatives:
- National Roma Infoline
- Roma Education Project
The National Roma Infoline was established in March 2020.
The initial purpose of the Infoline was to respond to the disproportionate impact of COVID-19 on Roma communities. It now supports Roma with a variety of health queries around the country.
In 2022, the Infoline handled more than 5,000 calls from across the country.
Many of these calls were made from Roma who were homeless and did not have a PPS number or a medical card.
The National Roma Infoline Operators answer calls in Romani, Romanian, and English.
The Operators provide advocacy and support to Roma callers with queries ranging from medical card applications to finding emergency accommodation.
The Roma Education Programme was established in March 2022 and is run online. The programme is a continuation of Cairde’s Roma Women’s Advocates Project. The aim of the project is to support Roma integration and the inclusion of the most marginalised Roma.
The programme currently has about 15 Roma participants. The group is made up of mostly single mothers living in emergency and overcrowded accommodation, and many of the participants have never attended school.
The participants are supported to build their reading, writing and numeracy skills. The programme also aims to empower Roma in their interactions with employers, health services and statutory bodies.
The training programme is making a positive contribution to the mental wellbeing of the Roma participants by:
- Reducing isolation
- Capacity building
- Building self-confidence in the participants
The programme also supports the inclusion of the Roma participants in Irish society by providing:
- English language and literacy classes
- Computer classes
- Classes that focus on health and social topics
- Yoga and mindfulness classes
Evidence shows the digital literacy gap the Roma participants experience when interacting with services in Ireland is being reduced by the training programme.
The Roma participants report increased confidence when using digital technology.
To our knowledge, this programme is the only dedicated programme specifically designed for, and with, Roma in the country that is run online.