INDIVIDUALS and corporate entities can enrol in the sixth year of the Roma Spirit project that awards positive examples and activities that help improve the situation of Roma in Slovakia. The deadline for submitting applications is October 5.

The Roma Spirit project is a public appreciation that publicises and promotes activities supporting social inclusion to bring effective and functional solutions to the problems of Roma communities.

“Since the first year in 2009, the public has been becoming more aware of the Roma spirit,” Ľubomíra Slušná-Franz, head of the Association for Culture, Education and Communication (ACEC), told the press on August 22, as quoted by the TASR newswire. “We have the capacities to implement changes in this area.”

The Roma Spirit is a selfless project that has made it possible to encounter many people who lead a decent life also in very modest conditions, said Sylvia Porubänová, chair of the organisational committee of the project. She added that the public often receives negative information about Roma that describes them as unwilling to learn or work.

“Five years of this competition have shown that in various localities across Slovakia there are many Roma and non-Roma who help people get out of the marginalised environment,” Porubänová told TASR. “It is necessary to spread good examples in public awareness.”

The Roma Spirit project, which was known as Gypsy Spirit in the past, focuses on the promotion of positive contributions to the benefit of Roma and awarding the active efforts of those who contribute to improve the living conditions, as well as the adequate and dignified integration of the Roma minority in Slovakia.

During the past five years, 559 individuals and institutions have been nominated for the award. People can join the project in six categories: non-governmental organisation, company/employer, village/town, personality, media and deed of the year.

The winners will be awarded during the ceremony held on November 30 at Bratislava’s Nová Scéna theatre, TASR wrote.