Pearls with cameras: Media camp for young Romani women
The camp was organized by Romedia Foundation, which has been fighting for a more positive adjudication of the Roma with the development and drawing profit from possibilities assured by media for more than two decades now.
One of the main goals of the foundation is to challenge the way the Roma are depicted by mainstream media. This is a one-sided approach full of stereotypes. At the same time, they also aim to provide legitimate alternative source of information to the majority society and policymakers.
The Buvero project meets these goals and expectations by providing introductory courses and basic education on journalism and documentary filmmaking to young Romani women from all over Hungary. With the there-gained knowledge, once they return to their smaller communities, the girls can join the discourse of Roma empowerment and the Buvero community by writing articles, reports, producing videos and short films.
But why only girls?
The Romedia Foundation believes that a huge unexploited potential lies in young Romani women, which cannot go to waste. Romani women have a great sense of community building, and more and more of them are in higher education. Still, they are not provided with sufficient opportunities and support,and are less frequently in such positions they would merit. The truth is that women of the majority society are struggling with the same drawbacks too, but Romani women’s minority origins aggravate their situation; this is why their outstanding support and general empowerment is very much needed.
The two-week-long camp was first organized last year; then,there were 12 participants, but this year it rose to 24 participants. During Buvero’s first five days, the participants took part in a theoretical training about storytelling and interview techniques held by Kristóf Asbót, Ágnes Daróczi talked about Roma traditions, history and roots, and Vera Munk, journalist of Index held workshops and introduction to journalism.
The 24 participant was divided into 4 groups, each of them lead by 2 Roma and non-Roma media specialists. They were responsible for the further practical formation of the girls, they lead the groups, provided professional and personal support, coordinated the work.
The four Buvero teams (Kale Bisora, Luludya, HD-Rom, Rromani Zorr) shot on four different spots of Hungary for three days. After returning to the camp’s venue in Dunavarsány, they had three more days for editing in order to have their very first short films ready by Buvero’s closing event on the 22nd of August.
Shooting and the results
The shooting took place in and around four cities of Hungary: Székesfehérvár, Dunavarsány, Miskolc and Debrecen.The groups introduced different stories in their films, made interviews about different topics; the processed subjects were mostly given by the location of the shootings.
Such was Muddy blood, which tells a chapter of the Roma holocaust. The short film was shot at Lake Grabler, which is the grave of more than 100 victims of the Pharrajimos. Numbered street is a set of interviews with Roma inhabitants of Miskolc, who are concerned in the evictions stating from the beginning of August.
God has a sense of humor was shot in Debrecen and tells the story of a local inhabitant who ”…felt antipathy towards Roma (…) he had a theory that the whole Roma nation is degenerate.” But towards the end of his life, he started to frequent the congregation of the Salvation Army, which is mostly frequented by the Roma. He became a member of this community; he has been accepted and he accepted them.
The short film entitled Once we were birds processes a Roma myth of origin and illustrates the history of Roma, the common history of human kind with the rhytm of the nature in the surroundings of Dunavarsány.
At the end of the camp the participants were nominated to different prizes, which all contributedsomehow to the pursuit of the citizen journalist work started in Buvero because the camp was only a beginning of a process, which is hoped to be a long-lasting collaboration between Romedia Foundation and the participants of Buvero media camp.
The extension of the Buvero community does not stop here; a media camp will be organized in 2015 as well, so next year another group of talented, young Roma women will have the chance to participate at Romedia Foundation’s citizen journalist education, so that their voices can be heard louder than they could ever have imagined.
Romedia Foundation, thank you for the pictures!.