The Case of Roma Minority in Szeged, South-Hungary
Sustainable development is strongly linked with the concept of human rights. A so-called ˝sustainable society˝ needs to address and handle the injustice and discrimination against specific social groups in order to provide an opportunity to each of its members for individual and community self-realisation and development. Approaches towards the empowerment of marginalized people in society should therefore be a substantial part of the sustainability paradigm. Human rights organizations, however, are facing sustainability problems themselves as well. Empowerment of marginalized groups does not always enjoy the unconditional support of society neither in theoretical nor in financial terms. Organizations dealing with this issue are constantly being challenged by the preconceptions of society and by their own attitudes towards the possible solutions.
In this qualitative research, a local group of a national civil society organization (CSO) in Hungary, the local group at Szeged of Protect the Future, with the support of an academic research group, Environmental Social Science Research Group (ESSRG), is conducting a participatory action research process with one of the most disadvantageous minority groups, the Roma in the city of Szeged, South-Hungary. The research is part of the Work Package 6 (title: Structuring PER in Social Sciences Research and Forgotten Citizens of Europe: Local Human Rights) of the PERARES FP7 project. The aims of the project are the following:
1. To initiate a participatory research among the Roma community in Szeged and among the main stakeholders involved in working with them in order to identify the most urging challenges and problems to solve
2. To draw up an action plan with them actively engaging the members of the community and the CSO, in which the issues – raised by the community – is targeted
3. To monitor the functions of the CSO as a civil agent in the research project, e.g. the efficiency of the work, the changes of attitude towards the problems, the process of planning with the community members, the short-term and the long–term sustainability of the project (e.g. optimal duration of the project, financial sustainability, opportunities of capacity building).