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We are European Number One

diplomaThe gold Civil Society Prize awarded by the European Economic and Social Committee in Brussels was accepted yesterday by ETP Slovakia – Centre for Sustainable Development.

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eesc-civil-society-prize-webToday in Brussels, ETP Slovakia receives the 2014 Civil Society Prize awarded by the European Economic and Social Committee.

The selection board was impressed by the innovative and creative approach towards solving the housing issue of low-income young families living in marginalized Roma communities in Slovakia. Thanks to the project Building Hope, 6 young families from Rankovce (Košice-okolie District) have changed their fate when they used their savings and refundable microloans provided by ETP to build their own homes. They did so self-sufficiently and legally on the premises purchased by the local municipality.

The shacks they used to live in are no longer their homes; they exchanged them for the low-budget houses with 3E characteristics – ecological and energetically efficient. Inspired by their achievement, other inhabitants from the settlement have expressed their interest in building their own houses too.

Non-profit organization ETP Slovakia – Centre for Sustainable Development has already been awarded several international and domestic awards and nominations.

For the Grand Finale of the Civil Society Prize, which ETP Slovakia is sharing with two other organizations, the director of ETP Slovakia, Slávka Mačáková is accompanied by two clients, Mr. Ondrej Sameľ – project´s construction supervisor and Milan Gašpar, one of the active builders from Rankovce.

In these moments, Slávka Mačáková is giving the acceptance speech in Brussels, which you can read below.

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IMG_4398On Friday, October 10th, we were delighted to welcome again the Missionaries of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, in a new Community Centre that is being reconstructed from the former firehouse and slowly takes its final form. Elder Miller and Sister Miller were accompanied by two young helpers, Sister Seninger and Sister Kane this time. It was the very last action for Sister Kane during her 18-month mission in Slovakia, as she flew back to the U.S. this week.

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eesc-civil-society-prize-webSince 2006 the European Economic and Social Committee (EESC)  has been awarding  the Civil Society Prize that rewards and supports initiatives of organizations and/or individuals who contribute significantly to the promotion of European identity and integration that operates at local, regional, national or European level.

ETP Slovakia was chosen as one of the 8 finalists of whom three will be awarded with the prize money totaling 30,000 euros. The winners will be awarded on Oct. 16, 2014 in Brussels.

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hlavnaWe were pleased to welcome a precious visit in Veľká Ida on Thursday (September 11th). The former firehouse in Veľká Ida is being currently reconstructed to become a new community center. The visitors were precious not only because of coming from a great distance, but especially due to their enthusiasm for help.

Missionaries of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, the Elder and Sister Miller, along with two other young missionaries from Utah, arrived to Veľká Ida at 8:30 am in the morning already and started to help to our building coordinator and his local assistants from Ida´s marginalized Roma community immediately. The reconstruction works are carried out since the beginning of August.

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IMG_0965On Thursday, August 28th, together with Michal Kaščák, Matúš Vallo, Lydka Šuchová, Sendreiovci and the other musicians from Para and Slobodná Európa, we went to the settlement on Budulovská street. After the festival Moldava Together 2014 was banned, we decided to visit people from settlement and spend the day together – by playing football, listening to and making good music and enjoying the really good weather.

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In agreement with municipality of Veľká Ida, we embarked on rebuilding the former firehouse at the community center (CC).  This center is now situated in the premises of the local castle. In the new building, there will be two rooms for children, so they can run multiple activities at the same time. Local men are helping the building coordinator who is in charge of reconstruction with work. They are currently working on digging drains and covering the interior walls with plasterboard. “We have been working since the beginning of August. Now we are working on the sewers.  Soon the work will be done, “says Zdenko, one of the men working on the rebuilding.

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IMG_1516Adam Ganik is an American who was born in Prague and he lived there for some time. His father came from Slovakia, so Adam speaks a variety of Czech and Slovak languages. Presently, he is studying at Harvard University in Cambridge, MA.  Adam first visited the settlement Budulovská in September 2009 as one of the students of the International School in Prague who helped in the construction of 12 social housing apartments.This summer Adam  returned to Moldava nad Bodvou after five years to see the friends he had made in the settlement, spending two weeks with them.

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IMG_1293Talented children and youth from the marginalized Roma settlement Budulovská in Moldava nad Bodvou, who regularly attend the community center, once again showed that trough the art they can express what can only hardly be described by words – that their everyday reality is full of joy and sadness, that they often have to face discrimination in various forms but also that the stage is for them a space where they can freely express their personality.

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IMG_0039On Saturday, July 5th, 2014, three artists from the Dramatic Adventure Theatre (DAT) in New York, the USA arrived to Košice to deliver interactive art workshops to children and youth from the marginalized Roma settlement Budulovská in Moldava nad Bodvou.

It was three years ago, when for the first time, actors from DAT visited Eastern Slovakia and delivered their first interactive art workshop to children and young people from marginalized Roma communities.

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