Slovenias First Roma Restaurant

Published: 21.2.2011

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Slovenias First Roma Restaurant

In April, Romani kafenava, Slovenias first Roma restaurant, opened in the city of Maribor. The restaurant is part of a project financed by the Ministry of Labour, Family, Social Affairs and Equal Opportunities. It is the first Roma restaurant in Maribor, Slovenia and the EU, and with it the project coordinator EPEKA and partner Roma association "Romsko društvo Romano Pralipe Maribor" wish to set a good example.

Slovenias First Roma Restaurant

In April, Romani kafenava, Slovenia`s first Roma restaurant, opened in the city of Maribor. The restaurant is part of a project financed by the Ministry of Labour, Family, Social Affairs and Equal Opportunities. It is the first Roma restaurant in Maribor, Slovenia and the EU, and with it the project coordinator EPEKA and partner Roma association "Romsko društvo Romano Pralipe Maribor" wish to set a good example.

Operating the restaurant will be a challenge not only for the 15 Roma employees, but also for the manager Rastko Zdravković, who wishes to familiarise the Roma people with work and responsibility. The aim of the project is to employ persons from the Roma minority, to preserve their culture, to integrate and motivate them, and teach them about social entrepreneurship. Additional goals are to informally educate individuals to work in a restaurant, to integrate them into society and a working environment in order to promote intercultural dialogue, as well as for teachers and trainers to gain experience in teaching ethnic minorities. The project also aims to increase the self-esteem of the Roma people, promote a healthy lifestyle, and reduce prejudices and stereotypes about the minority. In this way, the project can help improve social responsibility and promote the development of the region, increase gender equality in the ethnic minority, as well as promote learning methods in the Roma community.

Romani kafenava will be more than a restaurant: it will be a culinary-cultural centre hosting different events, lectures and concerts. The president of the Romano Pralipe association, Fatmir Bećiri, says that projects of this kind are of utmost importance for the Roma people, as they face many stereotypes when looking for work. The Roma population in Slovenia is a very vulnerable group when it comes to employment: many of them are long-term unemployed, which is why Bećiri wishes there would be more similar projects in the future, because, as he says, the public belief that the Roma people do not want to work, is false. "Everyone is invited, everyone is welcome. Life goes on, and so do we," he says.

There are about 10,000 Roma people living in Slovenia, mostly in the regions of Prekmurje, Lower Carniola, White Carniola and the Sava Basin, as well as in larger towns such as Maribor, Velenje, Ljubljana, Jesenice and Radovljica.

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