The Local Conversation in Govanhill enables the Roma community to improve their health through supporting young people to have a voice, training community leaders and providing spaces to meet. Alex Horvath talks about how the funding has had an impact.
"My parents moved from Slovakia to Govanhill when I was three years old and I’ve lived here ever since. There’s a large Roma population but little support. In school, no one listened to the problems my brothers and I had. We needed someone who spoke our language and who was from the same background to really support us.
At my first youth group session I was very nervous, but I became more confident as I learned things, including English. An IT teacher would come and teach us computer skills, too. I learned quickly, and was using Zoom, Teams, email – all these skills seemed like magic to me.
I brought in my friends and my brother, and they became as involved as me. My friends and I trained to be youth team workers and learned about leadership. Now my friends are all youth team leaders like me, and my brother has his first job interview.
My friends and I trained to be youth team workers, and learned about leadership.
Youth Team Leader
The work we do is so important. Because health service access has been a problem, we’ve made videos to reach the young people, on subjects like sexual health, contraception, and periods. This kind of health advocacy is so important to the Roma community, especially as it comes from people from the same background.
Our group brings the community together. Young people feel really empowered. At community meetings now we discuss why the bins have disappeared from Queens Park, why there are no toilets in the small park. People have moved away from meeting their own needs to seeing the needs of the wider community. Everyone’s more engaged with their environment.
I feel empowered as well by helping the youth groups and the young people in Govanhill. I hope my friends and I can continue to grow and become community leaders replacing those who have taught us. What we say is For Roma By Roma. Everything is for our community.”
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