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The story of Rroma HeArt & Experiential Rroma Museum (ERM)

Thursday, January 17, 2019

The Experiential Rroma Museum is the main result of the „Rroma HeArt” Erasmus+ project, a youth exchange developed by SUPER TINERI in partnership with 8 organisations from Europe.  

The museum is not a place presenting objects and history, it is the place where you feel, where you live, where you learn and understand by experience how is to be a Rroma, approaching all the stereotypes: the music, the dance, the food and the lack of resources. The museum draws attention to those stereotypes and fights against them by making young people to personally experience the context where many Rroma are forced to live. At the end, with the right debriefing, the participants are becoming more aware and more tolerant regarding the needs, the lives and the challenges of Rroma community. The Experiential Rroma Museum was more effective in promoting tolerance, and diversity than any other activity about Rroma and minority rights, we did.  

The story of the youth exchange

During the first two days of the exchange, 40+ young people from Cyprus, Estonia, Greece, Italy, Slovenia, Spain, Turkey and Romania, got to know each other’s, learned about the Rroma culture of Târgu Frumos and of the countries involved, worked in national and international groups, experienced Improvisation Theater, made presentations and prepared the plan for the experiential museum of European Rroma. During the evenings, the participants presented their countries; we were impressed by the Turkish dervish dance which was the perfect intro of the coming days!  



After spending 2 days in Târgu Frumos, getting to know each other’s and learning more about Rroma culture, we moved to Băiceni village, where we worked to design and open the first Experiential Rroma Museum from Europe. When we arrived, everyone was enthusiastic, but at the same time, a bit scarred of the lack of resources. It was the right context because, besides the personal development learning objectives, Băiceni experience had the aim to make 40 young people to feel, to understand, to be more emphatic with Rroma people. In the first 3 days in Băiceni, the participants experienced different workshops: cuisine, landscape, design, painting, Labyrinth Theater, media, and all the results were integrated into the Experiential Rroma Museum. The food, the tents, the fire, the symbols painted on the walls, the Labyrinth theater play, the music and the dances, the contact with the locals, all together made the group more connected and more aware of the challenges Rroma people are facing in Europe. Asociatia YOUTH ALMA, represented by Alexandra Itco and Lică Anghel, facilitated the Labyrinth Theater workshop, one activity that had a great impact on our project. 

On the fourth day in Băiceni, we had the grand opening of the first European Experiential Rroma Museum. During the morning, all the group promoted the museum among the locals of Cucuteni and Băiceni and visited the Archaeological Museum of Cucuteni and the HUMAn - "Pamantul care Canta" Center owned by Ionela-Sandrina Mihuleac. At 21:00, the participants started the artistic program and we officially open the Experiential Rroma Museum.  


In day 7, we left Băiceni, after 4 intense days, and we moved to Bălţaţi, where the mayor Vasile Astefanei and the representatives of Asociatia Tinerilor Comunei Baltati welcomed us in the Community Center. After exploring a bit the area, we went to a workshop to one of the best naive painters in Romania: Gheorghe Ciobanu. There we discovered his art and we start creating a collective painting representing the Rroma community in the village. After lunch, we took the school bus and we went to Zmeu, a village where the majority is represented by the Rroma community. We were impressed by the nice welcoming of the teachers, workers, and beneficiaries of the Day Center for Rroma children of Zmeu. They wait for us with presents, artistic performances and a high level of enthusiasm to explore the culture of all 8 countries involved. We facilitated several non-formal games and we left from there with really nice memories. At the end of the day, the Spanish team prepared the dinner for us in Bălţaţi Center. 


Day 8 was dedicated to explore and to send the Rroma HeArt message to Ruginoasa community, one of the most important historical villages of Iaşi county. In the morning, when we arrived by train from Sârca, we were welcomed by Ms. Cristina Ioana Axinia, the director of the Cultural Center of Ruginoasa, by the mayor and the volunteers of the center. We went to visit the museum of Al. I. Cuza and the church, and afterward we moved to the Day Center of Ruginoasa. During the afternoon, we participated in a leather workshop at Mr. Ilioaia, one of the best leather crafters of the region and then we attended a workshop facilitated by Ionut Stan, from Gipsy Eye Association. Ionuţ told us more about his organisation and share his personal experience of being a Rroma youth in Romania. He came together with other 7 French volunteers from his organisation. In the evening, the local community prepared us a cultural surprise, and we also shared our culture, ending the night by singing the Rroma anthem: Gelem, gelem. Day 8 ended with the Turkish dinner.  


Day 9 started with a presentation of Dragos-Andrei Preutescu about values, diversity, and tolerance, followed by a cultural visit to the most important points of Iaşi, the second university center of Romania.  


Day 10 was about evaluating the learning experience, about dissemination and follow-up plans, about saying good-bye and sharing our feelings.

Rroma HeArt is a project funded by Erasmus+RO, with the support of European Union - EU.

The European Commission support for the production of this publication does not constitute an endorsement of the contents which reflects the views only of the authors, and the Commission cannot be held responsible for any use which may be made of the information contained therein.

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