Mothers telling stories in Gyögyöspata

Story reading has both skill-building and relationship-building functions. Through stories it is easier to talk about our own feelings, both as children and as adults. This is why it is important to ensure that children who do not have this habit in their families, because their parents brought them up in very difficult circumstances and no one read them a bedtime story when they were children, also benefit from the positive effects of listening to stories.

Your Story from Gyöngyöspata programme and Women's Circle

What was the programme about?

  • Our programme with the Unity in Diversity Foundation was built on two elements. Firstly, we wanted to give women in the Roma women's community the opportunity to talk about their feelings that still affect them today as a result of the involvement of the Hungarian Guard and other paramilitary organisations in the spring of 2011
  • On the other hand, we allowed the importation of experts who were most in demand by the women's group.
  • During the year-long programme, a weekly "Your Story" programme was launched to increase mothers' reading competence and to expand their relationship with their children, but indirectly, in the long term, to prepare them for learning, by expanding vocabulary and by using stories to enhance imagination and creativity.

On a more regular monthly basis - thematic programmes, experts brought topics to the group that aimed at community development. Our main goal is to revive from learned inertia, to promote constructive communication, to present successful Roma women's life stories in dialogue.
Group members followed the monthly events with varying motivation. Many of the young mothers were happy to be able to spend their free time in a new activity, in a lighter, sometimes more fun situation. The older age group was more interested in the practical side of things, not in pleasure but in talking out problems, in taking advantage of the opportunity to get a job. The on-site consultation of the labour counsellor was attended by 40 people hoping to receive up-to-date information on labour market opportunities. It was a great achievement that since then some of them (men) have already been enrolled in training courses.

How did we work?

1. we organised a MESÉD circle: a weekly storytelling circle of mothers with children aged 0-7 years, with 10-12 participants, organised by local coordinators. The Storytelling group was led by trained facilitators from the Roma community. The programme involved mothers reading storybooks once a week for 2 hours and then discussing the stories together. By the end of the 1-year programme, each family participating in the programme had a 36-volume "mini library".

2. women's discussion groups - large group facilitator-led sessions for all ages, held monthly - with the invitation of an expert. We invited successful Roma women as experts who could be role models for local girls and women through their life paths and identities.

  • Sponsor/Source: private donor
  • Private donation for own programme
  • Collaborating organisations: Furugh Schwitzer, Head of the programme, Unity in Diversity Foundation
  • Aid amount: 5.000.000 HUF
  • Duration: June 2012 - June 2013

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