Developing a sense of cultural identity

Along with empowering individuals within the community, we also seek to stimulate the Roma to develop their own initiatives and generate sustainable community development for their people. To do this, we want to promote a deep transformation of this community through the empowerment of the next generation of Roma children. By affirming all that is wonderful about Roma culture, we help Roma in Luton to understand their unique place within the diversity of Luton.

Rationale

The Roma community has been systematically dis-empowered throughout history – centuries of enslavement, genocide under the Nazi regime, and forced integration under Communist regimes. Even today, segregated schooling is still The Roma community has faced a history of persecution, and experiences of anti-Roma racism and discrimination are still too common, which tends to be internalized. Developing a strong and positive cultural identity promotes the wellbeing of individuals, since identifying with a particular culture provides a sense of belonging and security. Cultural identity builds cohesion in the community too; a strong cultural identity also helps build social networks for fruitful interactions between community members.

Current Initiatives

Facilitating Luton Roma’s participation in cultural festivals.

Music lessons.

Our work in Action

In 2011, Martin from Luton Roma Trust received a call to help a Roma Romanian couple who had been forced to work with no pay – the mother was also pregnant, with triplets! Thanks to coming to our charity, the couple were placed with another Roma family. With Martin’s support, local agencies helped the family secure a house to rent (luckily, this happened within hours of the children being born!)

Throughout his hard work, community effort, and advocacy from AIRE, the new father was able to secure the right to work and the family learnt English and integrated into life in the UK. This was made all the more difficult, because at the time (prior to 2014) it remained illegal for Romanians to have regular employment in the UK. By 2017, the children were attending our music lessons and thriving at school. The oldest son was even made a school prefect!

“This story is typical of countless other Roma families who have risen out of the ashes and built themselves new lives in a new country – a story of guts and determination against all the odds.” – Martin Burrell, Founder and Trustee.

Contact us:

Tel: +44 (0) 158 2510709

Email: office@lutonromatrust.org.uk