World Roma Congress Jubilee website opens

Every place, there is Roma, there is Romanistan.

Slobodan Berberski, president of the First World Roma Congress in 1971,

https://youtu.be/ETO1tEc46wI

From the 8th April 2021 the online congress to mark the 50th Anniversary of the World Romani Congress will be stretched over a month starting in London and moving to Berlin joining cities as far apart as Belgrade and Buenos Aires, activists from Barcelona to Bangalore, in India

Events can be enjoyed via a live stream at www.romanistan.com a virtual place that crosses all continental borders and connects Romani people worldwide.

On 8th April 1971, the World Romani Congress founding event was held in London. It was a crucial point in the history of Romani people and is now seen as the beginning of the worldwide Romani emancipation movement. It started a political fight for equality, mobilised through Romani organisations, and the unifying flag and anthem. 

This year to mark the jubilee anniversary you are invited to join a series of diverse online events that will offer the opportunity to connect communities across the globe to celebrate Romani history and culture but also critically reflect on the ongoing challenges that are still faced by Romani people worldwide

Events can be enjoyed via a live stream at www.romanistan.com a virtual place that crosses all continental borders and connects Romani people worldwide.

At a time of rising far-right extremism and anti-gypsyism it is hoped that this anniversary year will bring Romani people and our allies around the world closer together, to create a common purpose, celebrate achievements, and build a stronger collective voice.

Grattan Puxon, one of the co-organisers of the First World Romani Congress

Ryalla Duffy 11th April 1959 – 10th March 2021

It was with great sadness that we learnt of the sudden passing of Ainlee Ryalla Duffy.

Ryalla had lived the life, lit many fires and told many stories.

Siobhan Spencer

Ryalla was well known to many ACERT members. She participated in the ROMED training in 2014 and, as well as participating actively in the training and discussions, she submitted an exceptional personal study.

“The period since [waggon time] has seen a gradual, intentional and unrelenting erosion of rights of an entire way of life, aided and abetted by legislation and media bias.”

Ryalla Duffy

Ryalla and her family went through endless enforcements themselves from 1987 in Sussex when they had to leave their own land. She was well known in the southern counties (as well as the Midlands).

Ryalla was an excellent representative for her people and Romany rights. She was very knowledgeable of the New Forest families and saw the comparisons of enforced camps and the final solution and wrote a chapter on this history of the “compounds” in the Patrin book as part of the Patrin project with the Monitoring Group, seeing the similarities of this particular aspect of Romany Gypsy history.

Ryalla worked hard in Lincolnshire and was responsible for getting the much-needed work undertaken on the Summergangs Lane site, in Gainsborough.

…. a wonderful character who fought continuously for her people and their rights and who was the author of several books and the star of 2 or 3 dvds.. She was also the subject of the classic Anglo Romani book ‘Born on the Straw’ by Dorothy Strange (1968). The community will miss her hugely and I shall miss a very dear friend. 

Bob Dawson

In 2005 Ryalla was one of the founder members of the National Federation of Gypsy Liaison Groups and took part in police training, parliamentary meetings and conferences.

Despite the knocks, it illustrates her sense of humour and the truth in life and how I would like to remember her.One of the last days we spent together was with Lord Bourne, for a heritage tribute as he laid a wreath at the grave of Private John Cunningham receiver of the Victoria Cross, in commemoration of the 100 years centenary of the Great War, a great day with her which, as usual, ended with great laughter.

Siobhan Spencer

She leaves behind her 4 daughters, 2 sons and all of 13 grandchildren.

ACERT Condemns Government Bill

Press Release issued 19th March 2021

The Police, Crime, Sentencing and Courts Bill, 2021 will make accessing education impossible for nomadic Gypsy and Traveller children

The Advisory Council for the Education of Romanies and other Travellers (ACERT) is deeply concerned about the implications of the Police, Crime, Sentencing and Courts Bill, 2021.

As a national UK charity working to ensure that Gypsy and Traveller children are able to access education at all levels, the new Bill will effectively serve to exclude the children of nomadic Gypsy and Traveller families from such public services. 

Through our active campaigning work over many years, we know very well the day-to-day challenges and struggles that are faced by families living on roadside sites. 

Being able to access services such as education can be hard enough without the damaging measures contained in this Bill, which will criminalise nomadism and severely disrupt the education of Gypsy and Traveller children. 

With family homes potentially being seized, as well as jail sentences (up to 3 months) and large fines issued (up to £2,500), the consequences of criminalising nomadism in the UK will be severe and damaging. 

ACERT aims to ensure equality of provision in education for Gypsy and Traveller children and we would urge the Government to look again at the Bill and to seriously think through the consequences of what is being legislated. 

The fundamental human right to an education for any child should not be dependent on where and how you live your life. The Government, through its actions, would seem to not share this view. 

The Police, Crime, Sentencing and Courts Bill, 2021 will make accessing education impossible for nomadic Gypsy and Traveller children

The Advisory Council for the Education of Romanies and other Travellers (ACERT) is deeply concerned about the implications of the Police, Crime, Sentencing and Courts Bill, 2021.

As a national UK charity working to ensure that Gypsy and Traveller children are able to access education at all levels, the new Bill will effectively serve to exclude the children of nomadic Gypsy and Traveller families from such public services. 

Through our active campaigning work over many years, we know very well the day-to-day challenges and struggles that are faced by families living on roadside sites. 

Being able to access services such as education can be hard enough without the damaging measures contained in this Bill, which will criminalise nomadism and severely disrupt the education of Gypsy and Traveller children. 

With family homes potentially being seized, as well as jail sentences (up to 3 months) and large fines issued (up to £2,500), the consequences of criminalising nomadism in the UK will be severe and damaging. 

ACERT aims to ensure equality of provision in education for Gypsy and Traveller children and we would urge the Government to look again at the Bill and to seriously think through the consequences of what is being legislated. 

The fundamental human right to an education for any child should not be dependent on where and how you live your life. The Government, through its actions, would seem to not share this view. 

UK Gypsy and Traveller Education Charity Condemns Government Bill

The Police, Crime, Sentencing and Courts Bill, 2021 will make accessing education impossible for nomadic Gypsy and Traveller children

The Advisory Council for the Education of Romanies and other Travellers (ACERT) is deeply concerned about the implications of the Police, Crime, Sentencing and Courts Bill, 2021.

As a national UK charity working to ensure that Gypsy and Traveller children are able to access education at all levels, the new Bill will effectively serve to exclude the children of nomadic Gypsy and Traveller families from such public services. 

Through our active campaigning work over many years, we know very well the day-to-day challenges and struggles that are faced by families living on roadside sites. 

Being able to access services such as education can be hard enough without the damaging measures contained in this Bill, which will criminalise nomadism and severely disrupt the education of Gypsy and Traveller children. 

With family homes potentially being seized, as well as jail sentences (up to 3 months) and large fines issued (up to £2,500), the consequences of criminalising nomadism in the UK will be severe and damaging. 

ACERT aims to ensure equality of provision in education for Gypsy and Traveller children and we would urge the Government to look again at the Bill and to seriously think through the consequences of what is being legislated. 

The fundamental human right to an education for any child should not be dependent on where and how you live your life. The Government, through its actions, would seem to not share this view. 

FFT Resources for teachers

Friends and Families of Travellers have asked us to draw ACERT supporters attention to their resources for teachers at https://www.gypsy-traveller.org/teaching-resources/.

We have created this page to support teachers and other staff in educational settings bring Gypsy, Roma and Traveller histories and cultures into the classroom. Below, you can find a range of resources, books and media to enrich your own understanding of Gypsy, Roma and Traveller histories and to share with young people.

FFT, Resources for teachers

We have added the link to our Traveller Education and Training categories on the ACERT website Links pages

The RIBA Foundation in Architecture

RIBA (Royal Institute of British Architects) Foundation in Architecture is a very unique, affordable course, delivered all online and differs substantially from full time education. Here below is a comparative table outlining the key differences. This will enable foundation level students to make the most appropriate choices that best suit them.

Dr Maria Faraone, an ACERT member, is a Senior Lecturer in the Oxford Brookes University, School of Architecture. She is Programme Director for the RIBA Studio which is a practice-based route to qualification as an Architect.

The course she runs has been specifically designed to give young people without formal qualifications and with limited finances the opportunity to develop their skills and understand the career opportunities in architecture.

29 join first Education network meeting

29 teachers and other education support staff joined the first Education Support Network Zoom call on 9th December 2020. The response was heartening because there was wide representation from across England and their contributions suggested that there is plenty of good work continuing despite the many challenges faced by Gypsy, Roma and Traveller families and the services trying to promote their inclusion and opportunities.

Lisa Smith, ACERT chair, who previously worked as part of the Worcestershire TESS, described how important was the support her family received from the service, allowing her to progress to Higher Education and wider career opportunities. She emphasised the importance of creating a strong support network in a hostile political and media climate, without the support of NATT and under the threat of the pandemic.

Contributions came from Darlington, Hampshire, Norfolk, Liverpool, Worcester, Sussex, Wiltshire, Greater Manchester, Middlesborough and Cambridgeshire. People had different roles within local authorities, as traded services and in the voluntary sector, working from Early Years to adult education and addressing a wide range of issues relating to health, accommodation and benefits in addition to education focuses of access, attendance and achievement.

Several participants described their work, much of which was innovative and encouraging. Most reported education in staff numbers, reorganisation and changes in the relationship with schools. Several services still meet with those from neighbouring areas to share ideas and coordinate provision. In some cases staff have adopted new skills to respond to the priorities of schools and the pressures on mainstream services.

It was decided that we should arrange to meet each half-term. ( Jan 27, Mar 10, April 21, June 9 and July). Contact info@acert.org.uk if you wish to participate and have not received an invite.

FFT survey of education challenges

Friends, Families and Travellers are working to raise public awareness on the experiences of young Gypsies, Roma and Travellers at school. They need your help! If your family has faced challenges in education, complete these surveys as a parent or with a young person and help to build understanding of how schools can support Gypsy, Roma and Traveller students.

Here’s a survey for parents: https://www.surveymonkey.co.uk/r/JXXV2ZY

This is a survey for young people to complete with parents: https://www.surveymonkey.co.uk/r/JNKZYHC

Each survey will take about 5 mins and when you complete you will be entered into a draw to win a £50 voucher. Thanks for taking part!

Zoom network for Traveller education support services

Since NATT folded last year, staff employed in schools and local authorities to support the inclusion and achievement of Gypsy, Roma and Traveller children have felt quite isolated. The issue was raised earlier this year when we consulted about the Parent’s Network (which we’re also working on) and again at The Traveller Movement conference last month.
In response to these requests, we are planning a monthly Zoom call, the first one of which will be on Wednesday 9th December 2020 at 2:00pm. (Apologies for an incorrect link in the Keep in touch with ACERT mailing.)

We hope the education staff who participate will be able to plan and develop the network but ACERT will be there to support. Spread the word!

Join us using the link above or e-mail if you are interested.

Application for funding to train Parent Ambassadors

ACERT has applied to the Allen Lane Foundation for funding to run training to help Gypsy, Roma and Traveller parents to develop the skills they need to organise local self-reliance groups to make sure their children are not short-changed by the education system.

If funded, the project will run from Spring 2021 for a year, with training opportunities for each participant, sandwiching mentored activities with local groups.

It is hoped ambassadors and groups will contribute to a parents’ website, under development, and participate in an on-line network.

We believe that parents who are supporting their children in education have experiences and insights to share which can help reverse the trend of exclusion and underachievement which we have seen in recent years.

Graphic novel on bullying and discrimination

The excellent STEP website has launched a graphic novel Shifting for schools which tells the story of Joe and Tillie and describes their experiences of bullying behaviour in several different schools.  The graphic novel will be distributed free to schools throughout Scotland with the aim of generating dialogue about discriminatory behaviour, recognising difference and taking positive action. A range of activities accompany the resource exploring the various themes arising in the story.  It has been written and illustrated by Metaphrog, a graphic novel duo.

NFGLG 2021 Calendar

National Federation of Gypsy Liaison Groups

2021 Calendar Available

£7.50 includes postage and packing:

Order 5 and obtain a further 1 free Order 10 and obtain a further 2 free

Please send your order to

NFGLG, c/o DGLG: Offices 1-3 Ladygrove Mill, Ladygrove Road, Two dales, Nr Matlock, DE4 2FG. Or order by e mail. natglg@outlook.com