Make your voice heard!
Politics doesn’t reach those living in extreme poverty, thus they don’t have any means to act for their interests on any level. BAGázs’s Make Your Voice Heard! program aims to change this situation.
In BAGázs’s Make Your Voice Heard program young adults and young people living in deep poverty work together on topics that are decided on in the political arena. They recieve instruments to express their opinion both together and individually, and the possibility to inform decision-makers about these opinions.
Background of the program
Although the life of those living in segregated Roma settlements (of which an estimated 1200 to 1600 exist in Hungary) is influenced by politics on a daily basis, they don’t know exactly what’s happening around them, nor do they see that they could have a say in the process. University students often express their disagreement with certain decisions, but they have no opportunity to argue with the decision-makers.
Goal of the program
The goal of our program is for university students and young people living in deep poverty to work on topics prevalent in the political arena. They do this as a team and receive instruments which they can use to express their opinion and send a message to those in charge of decision making.
The program is conducted in two phases. Each phase starts with the training of 20 young volunteers. These volunteers help 10 to 15 young people under the age of 30 living in the Roma settlement of Bag to work on three topics bearing great importance in their lives. Moreover, they formulate messages together that they send to politicians.
After the evaluation of the first phase, having completed some modifications based on our experience, we conduct the second phase with fresh topics and new volunteers. During the process, participants can have structured dialogues with local leaders and politicians every month. After the evaluation of the first phase we continue with a new training and another three months of fieldwork. During the program we visit Bátonyterenye and Pécs to introduce the project to those living there under similar circumstances. We also organize a public conversation on the A38 boat, inviting several politicians.
Effects of the program
The major effect the program on young participants is that they become more informed and conscious citizens. Citizens don’t accept being the mere subjects of political decisions but take part in their formation, expressing their opinion more actively.
The efficiency of the program is further enhanced by public appearances and press releases, intensive social media work, and communication via our blog. We would like to raise the attention of as many young people as possible to the importance of dealing with politics, because they can and must have a say in this field.The long-term effect of the project is the elaboration of a model by which volunteers and settlement residents can act and speak together about both local and nation-wide issues.
A long-term goal is to create a society more politically active, the transition from passivity to activity. We would like to develop a model that we can later apply in other settlements too.
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Kanalas Éva - Léna
The project is co-financed by the Erasmus+ program of the European Union.
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