Thursday, April 7, 2005


The civil society organization “Romanela” from Berovo is a new one, established to cherish the culture and tradition of Roma people from the Malesevo region and wider. Members of “Romanela” are mainly Romas who live in Berovo. The association was established by a group of women who had previously worked as “Daja” branch for five years. However, “Romanela” was primarily established as a civil society organization, not a women organization. 

Besides the promotion and protection of the local culture of Romas from this region, “Romanela” programme includes a number of activities related to the empowerment of Roma women, as well as their protection against family violence. The organization will also work in the filed of prevention from the negative influences of the drugs and alcohol, especially within the young population. 

The fist project being implemented by “Romanela” and supported by the Open Society Institute – Macedonia is called “The golden hands of the blacksmiths”, and it has been implemented as part of the “Living Heritage” programme for modernization and maintaining of the traditional blacksmiths’ craft that is still practiced by a number of Romas from Berovo. The project is currently going on and its activities include training for young Romas in the blacksmiths’ craft, promotion and modernization of the craft. As far as the promotion is concerned, “Romanela” took part at the “Living Heritage” Fair, which took place on 1 and 2 April this year in Skopje. The association presented itself with products from Berovo blacksmiths, among which there were items made according to the design of the artist Slavica Janeslieva. The cooperation with the artist is aimed at extending and modernizing the assortment of products by the Berovo blacksmiths. The making of artistically designed products will continue in future and the final phase of the project will be preparation of a catalogue and exhibition of the products at a several-day manifestation in Skopje. 

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