EPHA Roma Fellows
The Roma Health Fellowship aims to empower Roma community advocates from CEE countries to develop the necessary tools to engage with European policy makers and to increase the capacity of the Roma community for leadership on Roma health at EU level.
Marcela hasbeen working for Healthy Regions as a manager responsible for implementation of the pilot activity focused on the introduction of a new role into the Slovak healthcare system using a participatory approach – the position of Health awareness raising assistants working with Roma from marginalized communities directly in the hospitals. Previously, she has worked for NHS and Oxfam in the UK. She isone of the founders of the first Roma NGO based in Glasgow (UK), Romano Lav, which applies community development as a tool to achieve the advancement of citizenship of Roma communities by involving them in the decision-making processes and increasing their participation in public life. Marcela completed a master’s degree in Public Administration at the Central European University in Budapest.
József has seven years of experience working in the non-profit sector with an abiding interest in civil rights and social justice for the Roma population. He earned a Bachelor’s degree in Political Science from Eötvös Loránd University in Hungary. During a semester as Legislative Assistant in the office of U.S. Representative Trent Franks (R-AZ) which was sponsored through the Lantos-Humanity In Action program, he conducted policy research on domestic and international legislation regarding juvenile justice and the foster care system. Previously, József worked as a systems’ analyst with the Roma Education Fund (REF) preparing a desktop study on the social dimension of REF’s Roma beneficiaries pursuing studies in higher education. Formerly, József was a volunteer for the Phiren Amenca Foundation, a community-based nonprofit organization focusing on the general recognition of the Roma Holocaust. For 10 months, he spent his civic service as an EVS volunteer in Brussels, working for ERGO Network, supporting a youth employment campaign in fighting against antigypsyism. József created, hosted, and organized numerous training workshops for Hungarian Roma and non-Roma, possesses good knowledge on the workings of the Council of Europe and the operating principles of the European Union. Through these experiences, he developed a strong commitment to active participation in the social inclusion of disadvantaged peoples. As a highly motivated student and a world traveler, he is proficient in qualitative research, conflict management, and investigations of hate speech and hate crimes. He wants to use his and others’ experiences to work on important issues affecting his and similar communities.
Maja Saitovic – Jovanovic graduated in 2006 from the Medical Faculty – University of Nis in Serbia as a dentist. In 2007, I she enrolled for postgraduate studies in “Roma Access Program” (RAP), in the Central European University in Budapest. In 2007 she was accepted as an intern in the European Commission and was the first Roma trainee at the Directorate General for Health & Consumer Protection, (DG SANCO), in Luxembourg. Guided with a desire to specialize in public health, she completed in 2008 MA in Environmental Health at the Cyprus International Institute for the Environment and Public Health in association with Harvard School of Public Health. In 2010 she attended an MA program in Health Management at the Medical University of Belgrade in Serbia. She has been actively participating at various national and international Roma health projects starting from 2004 and was a consultant for the WHO Serbia on Roma health in 2009. Since September 2010 Maja joined the Open Society Foundations Public Health Program in Budapest as a program coordinator on Roma health.
“As a result of the program, I feel that I understand better processes on developing European Parliament reports in particular I also understand better the main roles and the functions of the European Parliament, European Commission and the Council of Ministers.”
Sebihana Skenderovska was one of the three EPHA Roma Health Fellows under the 1st Roma Health Fellowship programme (2012-2014) sponsored by the Open Society Foundations. The overarching goal of the programme was to empower Roma Health Advocates to develop the necessary tools to engage with European policy makers. The tailored assistance included mentoring and training components on the key EU health processes. The fellowship also facilitated establishing partnerships and potential collaborations with relevant EU actors.
Sebihana Skenderovska graduated at the University Sts. Cyril and Methodius in Skopje (Macedonia), at the Faculty of Philology Blazhe Koneski as a teacher of Macedonian and South-Slavic literature and Macedonian language.
In 2006, Sebihana was intern in the European Parliament at the office of Viktória Mohácsi, ex Roma Member of the European Parliament from Hungary.
Sebihana has been working for the National Roma Centrum (NRC) since 2005 as a Program coordinator for women and youth. The NRC promotes people’s access to fundamental rights and advocates for a consistency in the principle of equality before the law when legitimate rights are affected.
In 2007 NRC developed the programme for health, which has been led by Sebihana since then. From 2007 onwards, the focus of Sebihana’s work is the health of Romani women with special attention to sexual and reproductive health and rights of Romani and economically vulnerable women.
Since 2005, Sebihana is board member of the European Roma and Travellers Forum (ERTF).
“The advocacy knowledge I gained was used during the project implementation I was leading in Macedonia through increased voice to better health services for Romani women.”
Marius Radulescu was one of the three EPHA Roma Health Fellows under the1st Roma Health Fellowship programme (2012-2014) sponsored by the Open Society Foundations. The overarching goal of the programme was to empower Roma Health Advocates to develop the necessary tools to engage with European policy makers. The tailored assistance included mentoring and training components on the key EU health processes. The fellowship also facilitated establishing partnerships and potential collaborations with relevant EU actors.
Marius Radulescu holds a master degree on Social Policies in the European Context from the University of Bucharest (Romania) and has over 5 years experience in the governmental and non-governmental sector, participating at the coordination and implementation of projects aimed on social inclusion and improving the health situation of vulnerable groups, focused on Roma population.
“Now, I understand more broadly, how to elaborate and implement an advocacy strategy on Roma Health in Romania. I also feel more confident when I have an advocacy meeting and the discussion is in English.”
Florin Nasture is one of the two EPHA Roma Health Fellows under the Roma Health Fellowship programme sponsored by the Open Society Foundations. The overarching goal of the programme is to empower Roma Health Advocates to develop the necessary tools to engage with European policy makers. The tailored assistance includes mentoring and training components on the key EU health processes. The fellowship also facilitates establishing partnerships and potential collaborations with relevant EU actors.
Florin joined EPHA as a Roma Health Fellow in July 2015. Florin Nasture is a Roma advocate from Romania who holds a Ph.D. in Political Science from the National School of Public Administration, Bucharest. He graduated from the Faculty of Philology and Theology at Bucharest University, where he also obtained a Masters degree in Strategic Management. In addition, he obtained a Master in Social Development Practice from London Metropolitan University. Since 1997, he has been involved in Roma Civil Society, first as a project coordinator for the Romani Criss Foundation and then as senior manager for the Roma Education Fund. Florin Nasture has a long standing experience delivering training programmes as part of projects implemented by different organizations in the areas of community mobilization and development, conflict resolution and mediation, democratic participation, project management and education.
In all his work, Florin Nasture has been guided by the principles of community development, gaining significant expertise in civic mobilization and community empowerment.
“I am much more involved in promoting access to health services at local level, I understand the role of NGOs and which steps need to be followed in advocating policies at both national and EU level.”
Diana Pirjol is one of the two EPHA Roma Health Fellows under the Roma Health Fellowship programme sponsored by the Open Society Foundations. The overarching goal of the programme is to empower Roma Health Advocates to develop the necessary tools to engage with European policy makers. The tailored assistance includes mentoring and training components on the key EU health processes. The fellowship also facilitates establishing partnerships and potential collaborations with relevant EU actors.
Diana joined EPHA as a Roma Health Fellow in July 2015. Diana is a public health professional with approximately 2-3 years of global experience in offering technical assistance to project teams, as part of her work at the World Bank. Specifically, she was part of the team evaluating the technical quality of a $78 million lending project and overseen the implementation of health impact evaluations. Previously, she served as a policy and project officer in a Brussels-based umbrella cancer patient organization where she was in charge of several pan-European projects. She also held leadership positions in youth societies, most recently as the World Bank Youth Engagement Lead.
Her dedication to academic affairs has provided her with scholarships in the past, such as the Bill and Melinda Gates (55 awarded out of over 3,500 prospective candidates) and the Vrije University Fellowship (only 3 awarded from 60 candidates). During her postgraduate training in epidemiology, she specialized in non-communicable diseases and impact evaluations. She also has a public policy background, specializing in health system performance, social inclusion and monitoring and evaluations. She is interested in applying her technical expertise to projects in health system strengthening, social inclusion and beyond.
“The programme enhanced my knowledge on the role of EU institutions and non-for-profit organizations based in Brussels and I gained a broader perspective on some of the initiatives taken at EU level relevant for Roma integration.”
DĂNUŢ DUMITRU, EARLY CHILDHOOD DEVELOPMENT FELLOW
Dănuţ Dumitru is a Romanian Roma, who currently serves as Advocacy Director at the Roma Education Fund Romania. His recent experience includes being national facilitator for Romania (September 2010 – April 2014), as well as the coordinator of the project “Integrated Educational Services for Roma Communities.” Dănuţ served as Programme Officer at The Open Society Institute Program in Budapest, where his many tasks included the monitoring and evaluation of projects funded under OSI-RIO programmes,as a result of which he has worked with many NGOs throughout Central and Eastern Europe. Dănuţ has been involved in the defensc of Roma rights in Romania, along with Romani CRISS (Center for Roma for Social Intervention and Studies); also working as social assistant, adviser, Behaviour Change Communicator and Programme Coordinator of a project researching the transmission of sexual illnesses in the Roma community. Dănuţ is a graduate of Sociology and Social Assistance at Bucharest University and holds a Masters Degree in the Community Administration of Justice. He is also a graduate of the Roma Access Programme of the European Central University, Budapest and holds an Certificate from a long distance Master Degree programme within the Metropolitan University of London’s Social Development School.
IONUT ALIN BANU
With a BA in Literature, and in the process of graduating from a two years MA Degree Program in Political Science, Mr. Banu’s main areas of expertise are: education, employment, health, human rights, community development and youth. Starting from 2014 he worked as a Programme manager of Democracy and Civil Society Programme in frame of IDP – Institute for Development Policies – Romania. In August 2013 he completed a 5 years mandate as an Executive Director at TRUST NGO – Roma Youth for Unity Solidarity and Transparency. During this period of time he coordinated a great range of highly important projects at local or regional level, such as: “ Steps towards Educational Inclusion”, “Institutional Support”, “Active Reinsertion Program and Capacity in Tourism by informing and Counseling” “A good start”, in partnership with Roma Education Fund, International Association “Step by Step”, Spanish Foundation “Secretariado Gitano” , “ Sustainable Development through equal access for all on labor market”. Other relevant project that Mr. Banu coordinated or got involved in, at local level, were : Need of quality and equality in education, “ Strategic frame for combating discrimination in Romania” and “ Monitoring the legal frame implementation in scholar segregation domain”; projects conducted by diverse NGO`s. In December 2012 he was awarded with first prize, in the frame of the open competition “Roma React”, organized by ERGO – European Roma Grass Roots Organization, for exceptional achievements in working for Roma communities.
Policy Coordinator for Healthy Trade and Health Equity