“Everyone has prejudices. The problem is when we don’t do anything about it” states Vanessa Matos, Roma community animator in Braga.
To fight discrimination and anti-gypsyism, the municipality of Braga has developed a set of practices in line with its Integrated Plan of Action for Disadvantages Communities. The different projects focus on reducing school absenteeism, developing skills and self-confidence through multidisciplinary artistic activities and fostering better understanding of the Roma culture, as well as creating links with the rest of the population to deconstruct fear and prejudices.
Members of the Eurocities working group on Roma inclusion discovered Braga’s approach during a critical friend review on 24-26 September. Following the methodology developed to foster transfer of knowledge, the 21 participants from 14 European cities discussed the local city plan, discovered the priority social neighbourhood and conducted interviews of politicians, project managers and beneficiaries. The city experts then proposed a set of actions to facilitate the transposition of the practice into a new neighbourhood.
The critical friend review methodology applied during this meeting was developed by EUROCITIES’ working group education to foster mutual learning among cities with similar challenges. Its development as well as this meeting are part of the EUROCITIES mutual learning programme which receives fund from the European Programme for Employment and Social Innovation (EaSI) under the strategic partnership with the European Commission – DG EMPL.