Don't miss the following events:
Afternoon/evening of music and dance to celebrate Herdeljez and benefit VOR - May 5th at Ashkenaz in Berkeley
Music by Edessa, Anoush and other performances - Belly dancing - Traditional Romani food by Julia (Bistro E. Europe)
Ashkenaz: 1317 San Pablo Avenue, Berkeley, CA
Ph # - (510) 525-5099
'International Romani Day'
April 5, 2002 - 7:30 PM
Traditional Romani Folk Dances with Sani Rifati
Music by the Toids - Belly dancing with Kajira and United We Dance - Yasil Bebelekov & Family - Slavonian Travelling Band - Food by Julia (Bistro E. Europe)
Slavonic Cultural Center: 60 Onondaga Avenue, San Francisco, CA
Ph # - (510) 649-0941
It was very difficult for Voice of Roma to cancel the Graton Herdeljez Festival this year, however, it has become necessary for us to take a break from producing this event. It is our hope and our plan that by minimizing our festival activities this year, we will be able to plan more effectively for next year's festival and for the continuation of this wonderful and unique event in the Graton area for years to come.
One of the primary reasons we decided not to have the festival in Graton this year is that we want to spend our time, energy, and resources in creating a "blueprint" for the event, which would include finding an appropriate location that offers an intimate-home-neighborhood feeling but with enough space - and an adequate surface for dancing, ample seating, shade, food service area, parking, stage area, etc.
Another important reason for our decision is that we are hoping, and think there is a very good chance, to include Esma Rezhepova, the "Queen of Romani Music" and her band at next year's Herdeljez, as the kick-off to a US tour in Spring-Summer 2003. We need time to plan for Esma to be a part of this festival and to find funding to support her transportation and other costs.
Voice of Roma's dedication to its educational and humanitarian efforts both locally and abroad, has lead to new strategies for working more effectively in order to assist the Roma. Please read about some of our exciting projects below and on the reverse page:
- "The Current Plight of the Kosovo Roma": a groundbreaking report and demographic study with statistical data and analysis on the impact of the postwar situation in Kosovo on the Roma, based on Paul Polansky's field work there in Summer 2001. This book, in the final phase of publishing, is the result of nine months of hard work by VOR board members, interns, and volunteers. It will be disseminated during March and April to over 400 individuals, organizations, and governmental institutions in the US and Europe, and is intended to influence policy decision-makers to improve the current situation and lives of Roma in Kosovo. PLEASE NOTE: It was primarily the funds raised at last year's Graton Herdeljez Festival which made this report possible, first by paying for Polansky's expenses while doing the fieldwork in Kosovo in summer 2001 and subsequently by financing the printing of the book.
- Delegations join VOR's Trip to Kosovo, (May 4-7, 2002), with possible delegations from: Germany, Italy, Holland, Finland and the US. The delegations from Europe are comprised of individuals who have been involved in assisting the Roma from Kosovo in their countries, where many are asking: "Why are Roma fleeing from liberated Kosovo?" To best answer this question, Voice of Roma is providing them with multiple copies of our report and organizing a trip to Kosovo for delegates to see first hand how the Roma live and are treated in Kosovo. VOR will also be visiting the offices of some of the international organizations in Kosovo to follow up on our report and pressure them to take action.
DESCRIPTION OF SOME OF VOICE OF ROMA'S PROJECTS - CONTINUED
- Herdeljez in Kosovo - VOR organizing gatherings to celebrate Herdeljez in solidarity with the Roma living in camps for (IDP's) "Internally Displaced Persons." The Herdeljez celebrations will include the delegates from Europe and the US, local musicians, and may also include Esma Redzhepova performing at several IDP camps.
- "Make Music, Not War" - a documentary video, filmed in Kosovo, with professional filmmaker, Rolf Orthel, who has offered his services free of charge to tell the sadly ignored story of the dire circumstances faced by the Roma.
- A sustainable-agriculture project, wherein Voice of Roma will be providing dairy goats to some of the poorest Romani families in Kosovo. Roma are generally dark-skinned and are often targeted for violence when they leave their homes, so VOR is seeking to provide them with one means of becoming more self-sufficient within their communities; the goats will provide them with a renewable source of nourishment for their families. (For further information on the project, please visit our website, www.voiceofroma.org)
- "English as a Second Language" job readiness project. There are over 250 international non-governmental organizations (ngo's), along with the UN and foreign peace-keeping forces and foreign companies involved in the business of rebuilding Kosovo; these organizations have failed to employ Roma for over two years. The best way to help the Roma is to teach them English and computer skills which will help them to acquire jobs.
- Ongoing provisions of humanitarian aid, medicines, advocacy work, and transportation for Roma in Kosovo.
HOW YOU CAN HELP - Please consider donating what you might have spent at the Herdeljez Festival and send your check to: VOR, P.O. Box 514, Sebastopol, CA 95473. We are also looking for ESL teachers, grant writers, medical supplies, interns... Your contributions are tax deductible and are greatly appreciated in our efforts to continue our support of the Roma in Kosovo.
We hope you will understand and agree that our decision not to hold this year's festival is a sound one. With gratitude for your invaluable involvement and support of the Herdeljez Festival -
Carol and Sani - for Voice of Roma