Country, Date of election
At the beginning of the 90’s, after the collapse of communism, the situation of Hungarian Roma people went through such change that they can be considered as the losers in the process. Éva Orsós discovered that they could surmount their difficulties if they too were provided with the information that other people use for solving problems. This information gap – as a result of the low level of the education, a general prejudice and some other reasons – has raised difficulties in areas of their life where others find solutions rather easily. Services that would make their life easier and support their social integration, like care of the elderly, are nonexistent or simply haven’t reached Roma people.
Éva’s biggest achievement is that several elements of her initiative have been built into the greater system. She has contributed in the spreading of computer and internet use in Roma community houses, in which young people play a key role. Participants have been changing their outlook regularly and the network has become stronger. A lot of Roma leaders have understood that not only new services but the access to old ones are both worth fighting for.
Together with her colleagues, Éva has implemented three programs, which involved unique solutions at that time. The main elements of these initiatives have been built into the bigger picture. They have created a round-table of supporters to develop relationships and provide reliable information based on scientific research. They have built a data network for Roma community houses and also created the first ‘Roma website’. They have contributed to social improvement with their program for elderly Roma people.
Ageing, society‘s growing ratio of elderly people means a challenge in Hungary as well. Éva has worked out a program that she calls elderly guidance. We can’t prepare enough for ageing. Although it’s important around age 50 to have a conception about how and where we would like to live when we reach the age of 70 or 90. The program makes people realize that they’re not thinking about it much. It helps to understand what does creating social security, preserving health, cultivating relationships or developing valuable and meaningful activities really mean.
It was very hard for Éva to witness at first hand that in the countryside where she lives there are very many people whose dreams and wishes are unattainable because of their origins, although in many cases these aspirations could be realised.