Dajphen is a term that comes from the Romani words daj, which means ‘mother’, and phen, which means ‘sister’. The juxtaposition of these two terms defines a whole sorority system created by Roma women to assist, support, and care for each other during the process of becoming.
Most often, the maternity of Roma women is discussed in negative terms, the narrative brimming with stereotypes, prejudices, and references to forced sterilization policies. At the same time, the lack of sexual education, the insufficient services regarding reproductive health, the lack of access to medical infrastructure and health services, and the institutional racism are some of the problems we have identified in the Roma communities in which we work. Therefore, due to the lack of access to services and support provided by the state, the Roma women develop their own “world” to support each other while going through this arduous process with many barriers imposed both by the institutional system and the society.
Based on these realities, together with the Roma Center for Health Policies – SASTIPEN, in the project ‘DajPhen – Solidarity Networks for Roma Women’, we aim to support and strengthen the capacity of Roma women and teenagers of Roma ethnicity facing multiple and intersectional discrimination (ethnic, gender, economic, age, etc.) from the Roma communities in Valea Seacă, Mizil, and Giurgiu to rely on an alternative system of community support. Also, one of the objectives of the project is to increase access to reproductive health and maternity services to enhance social inclusion. Thus, for two years, we will undertake a series of actions, such as:
– informational workshops for the Roma women on health rights, access to medical services, maternity, and family planning;
– pre- and postnatal training and support for Roma girls and women;
– activities to increase the visibility of Roma women’s work and their activism within communities;
– workshops for men to increase involvement during their partners/spouses pregnancy and in the process of raising children
– consultations with national, local, and county public authorities to improve medical services and infrastructure and to increase access to services for Roma women;
– advocacy actions to improve health policies and reduce negative institutional practices towards Roma girls and women;
– training for teachers and health mediators on reproductive health and sex education;
– workshops addressed to Roma and non-Roma doctors to increase their involvement in the delivery of medical services.
E-Romnja – The Association for Promoting Roma Women’s Rights is a Roma feminist non-governmental organization founded in 2012, which fights for the affirmation, promotion, and increased engagement of Roma girls and women in Roma society and community.
The Center for Health Policies – SASTIPEN is a non-governmental organization founded in 2007, which fights for Roma’s increased access to health services.
The project ‘DajPhen – Solidarity Networks for Roma Women’ is implemented by E-Romnja – The Association for Promoting Roma Women’s Rights and The Roma Center for Health Policies – SASTIPEN, and benefits from a 250,000 Euro grant from the Active Citizens Fund Romania, programme funded by Iceland, Liechtenstein and Norway through the EEA Grants 2014-2021.
The content of this presentation does not necessarily reflect the official position of the EEA and Norway Grants 2014-2021; for more information, visit: www.eeagrants.org. More details about Active Citizen Fund Romania are available at www.activecitizensfund.ro.