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Promotion and preservation of culture directly impacts the self-dignity of an individual or a group and gives them impetus for better social inclusion in the mainstream society. When it comes to Roma minority, it is of utmost importance that the necessary infrastructure is provided so that the knowledge of the Romani heritage is easily transmissible to anyone who would wish to learn more about the richness of Romani culture and tradition.

Through the implementation of the ROMACTED Phase II in Pirot (Serbia), the community expressed the need to have a cultural centre within the settlement Rasadnik. With the small-grants scheme funds, the Programme supported the establishment of such centre, in close cooperation with the City administration and Romani civil society organisation – Ternipe. As the Roma Cultural Centre is now equipped with the modern digital classroom, it will also serve as a space for educational activities, in addition to the cultural ones.

The official inauguration of the centre was organised on 23 August, on which occasion the audience was addressed by the State Secretary at the Ministry of Human and Minority Rights and Social Dialogue, the Mayor of Pirot, the President of the National Council of the Roma National Minority in Serbia, the representative of the Council of Europe/ROMACTED Programme, the President of the Pirot Assembly, as well as the Director of the CSO Ternipe. In addition to official addresses, a cultural and artistic programme was organised by young Roma artists.

This initiative is in line with the strategic priorities of the Council of Europe’s Strategic Action Plan for Roma and Travellers Inclusion and the priority on combatting antigypsyism, hate speech and discrimination by promoting the inclusion of the Roma community and connecting different cultures. At the same time, in cooperation between the Roma and Travellers Team of the Council of Europe, European Roma Institute for Arts and Culture in Serbia and Roma Education Fund, an initiative for the inclusion of Roma history and culture in school curricula in Serbia was launched in 2022 to ensure proper representation of Roma and Travellers’ history and cultural heritage in Serbia. This endeavour is directly based on the Recommendation CM/Rec(2020)2 of the Committee of Ministers to member States on the inclusion of the history of Roma and/or Travellers in school curricula and teaching materials.

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