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Bjoern Steinz (Björn Steinz)
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"Finding Elvis" via Panos Pictures. Here is the essay about Elvis, Elvira and the whole family I met 1992 for the first time at the refugee camp in Varazdin, Croatia - where I worked as a humanitarian volunteer. We met 25 years later in Sarajevo. Thanks to everybody who made that possible, especially to my friends in Sarajevo !

http://www.panos.co.uk/stories/2-13-1935-2428/Bjoern-Steinz/Finding-Elvis/
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"Building Hope" - from a shack into a 3E House - is a pilot project to establish micro-loan funds for transformative change in socially excluded Roma communities. The pilot project in Rankovce took place in a marginalized Roma community - all the builders were unemployed Roma living with their families in difficult conditions. A Slovak NGO supports the construction of homes by the Roma themselves, who are then granted ownership.

The image belongs to the 3rd chapter of my longterm project “A Wall Runs Through It” about Roma communities in east Slovakia.

The direct link to the 3rd chapter is here:
http://awallrunsthroughit.pageflow.io/chapter-three-rankovce

The project landing page and the previous two chapters here:
http://a-wall-runs-through-it.oka2.com/

"Rudo (26) and his partner Maria (22) with their daughters and son Kevin in front of their self built house in Rankovce, Slovakia.”

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My long term project “A Wall Runs Through it” about 5 different Roma communities in eastern Slovakia will be launched today with the first chapter about “Ostrovany”, a village located about 50 km from Kosice.
Today, the 8th of April is the International Romani Day, a day to celebrate Romani culture and to raise awareness about issues facing Romani people.
Music by Mário Bihári
The link below will forward you to the project landing page.
http://a-wall-runs-through-it.oka2.com

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When I met Mário Bihári the first time almost 20 years ago - we were both students during that time - I was asking him what is his dream as a musician for the future. He answered “I want to play with a band and people I like, people which feel the music as I do myself and putting their hearts into it. That we are playing a great concert, people are experiencing our music and we smile.”

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Dear All,
since almost three years I am working in different Roma communities all over Europe and on one particular longterm project in the area of Kosice in East Slovakia which will be finished hopefully very soon.

During my work in Slovakia I met a group of young Roma in the city of Moldava nad Bodvou which started a crowdfunding campaign to show their own community and the life in the particular settlement from the view of a Roma. They are all Roma themselves and well connected to the community they like to film and can provide a very unique inside view of this marginalized settlement.

Karol Horvath who is the head of the group Roma filmmakers-RFM studied film in Kosice and is a talented and highly motivated young fellow who wants to show a different point of view about his own community.

If you can, please help them to be able to produce their first independent film called “Umenie prezit” (The Art Of Survival) a documentary film about the reality in a Roma ghetto.

The link to the crowdfunding platform is here, so far just in Slovak language but you can use an online translation to understand :

http://www.marmelada.sk/projekt/umenieprezit

Thank you !
Björn

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The work on Roma activism in Romania is published via the Open Society Foundations, you can see and read it here :

http://www.opensocietyfoundations.org/voices/how-getting-involved-politics-transformed-one-roma-village-s-future

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Images from Lviv (Lemberg), Ukraine made in February. 
http://photos.oka2.com/#!/index/G0000LSmlOQzJbw4

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