Jacob Garber, Roma awareness raising and training project, The Children's Society.
Tuesday, July 7, 2009
Jacob Garber works with the Roma community in east London.
What do you do?
The Children's Society has been working with the Roma community in east London for 13 years. My project works to raise awareness, which helps them feel proud of their culture and counteract any discrimination. Young people tell us they face bullying and some have been attacked outside of school. Most prejudice comes from ignorance and there has been a lot of negative media coverage.
How do you achieve this?
The Roma community values its culture and language, and I worked with young people on a project to produce a pinhole camera picture book. We took a Roma caravan fitted with a camera obscura to events and invited people inside to talk about the project. We used the picture book as a communication tool during Gypsy, Traveller and Roma month in June. We have also introduced media training, so young people can talk about their experiences. Roma pupils are among the lowest achievers in schools and part of the project was to change their relationship with books.
How did you get into this job?
My involvement comes from making music with the Roma community when I lived in France. I got to know the people and wanted to work more closely with them. I have been working on the Roma awareness project since autumn when we applied for funding. In the future, I would love to develop a musical project with them.
How do you make a difference?
My role is to enable the Roma people to communicate their culture, and it's been key for young people to be involved at every stage of this project. By increasing their confidence in the Roma culture, young people feel they have value and have something to share with others. The project has made a start in demonstrating this.
What's next for you?
I am now helping to develop lesson plans for schools. There is a potential to use the plans in drama, English and citizenship classes.