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The Vice President of the Regional Government of Valencia, the Fuerte El Rompido Hotel in Huelva, the activist Manuel Vila, the 16kms de La Cañada Festival, the journalist Minerva Oso from Spanish National Radio (RNE) and Tío Valentín Suárez, Fundación Secretariado Gitano Awards 2019 [editar]

The Awards recognise, in five categories, the commitment and effort of people and entities who do outstanding work in defence and support of the Roma community


The Vice President of the Regional Government of Valencia, the Fuerte El Rompido Hotel in Huelva, the activist Manuel Vila, the 16kms de La Cañada Festival, the journalist Minerva Oso from Spanish National Radio (RNE) and Tío Valentín Suárez, Fundación Secretariado Gitano Awards 2019

The Fundación Secretariado Gitano (FSG) has celebrated the 2019 edition of their annual Awards in a ceremony which brought together more than 150 people from the Third Sector, public administration, businesses, education etc in the Diario Foundation, Madrid. 

An external panel, composed of people from the social, cultural and business worlds was responsible for judging the candidates. For this edition, the panel members were Jaume Lanaspa, chairman of the Barcelona Office of the Club of Rome and former managing director of the “la Caixa” Foundation; Elena Furiase, actress and businesswoman; Julio Domingo, general manager of the Mapfre Foundation; Conchita Navarro, manager of CSR and Social Projects at Mutua Madrileña; Lin Cortés, artista, composer and producer; Miguel Ángel Cabra de Luna, director of Social and International Relations and Strategic Planning at the ONCE Foundation; Ricardo Borrull, a teacher and one of the founders of the Association of Teachers with Roma; and Antonio Soto, secretary of the FSG’s Board of Trustees.

The event, presented by two young Roma people from the Fundación Secretariado Gitano, Ana Segovia, journalist and Fernando Morión, teacher and educationalist, started with some words from Pedro Puente, founder and president of the Fundación, welcoming those in attendance and remembering that the main objective of the Awards was to “recognise the commitment of people, entities and initiatives which significantly contribute to changing the lives of the most vulnerable Roma people”.

The president of the FSG recalled the commitment of the foundation to interculturality, affirming that “the cause of equality and the defence of the rights of Roma people must be a cause shared by all members of society”. From there springs “the need to recognise people and entities who have made an outstanding contribution to the social promotion and defence of the rights of the Roma community from various perspectives”.

The first of the five categories included in the awards was the Transforming Business category, which this year was awarded to the Fuerte El Rompido Hotel in Huelva “for its firm, enthusiastic and continuous support to improve employability, professional training and access to decent employment for many Roma people in Huelva, especially young people and those in a situation of vulnerability”. 40% of the 97 Roma boys and girls who have received training in their establishment in the last 5 years have found a job, in many cases their first one.

The category Solidarity with G for individuals was awarded to the teacher and activist Manuel Vila, for his 40-year track record of working with perseverance and courage to improve the lives of Roma people in Lugo, and for his vital role in the education of boys and girls, gaining the respect of both Roma and non-Roma families in Lugo.

The 16 Kms Festival, organised by the Voces Foundation, received the Solidaridad con G award in the collective category for bringing culture to the population of the Cañada Real. For contributing to breaking down stereotypes, for projecting a real and positive vision, and for providing meeting spaces for local people and for those from other neighbourhoods.

The award in the category of Communicating “With Conscience” went to the journalist from the Spanish National Radio’s News department, Minerva Oso, for her professionalism in her role as a public radio journalist when dealing with topics concerning the Roma community, and for her particular efforts to offer an accurate, diverse and pluralistic picture of Roma people and to combat prejudices and stereotypes.

Mónica Oltra, the Vice President and Minister for Equality and Inclusive Policies of the Valencian Government, received the award given to her ministry in the category Education is Future for its firm and decisive commitment to the educational success of Roma boys and girls in the Autonomous Community of Valencia. This commitment was shown in the launching of a pioneering public programme, Kumpania, which focuses on helping Roma boys and girls to complete compulsory secondary education and carry on with post-compulsory education.

The fifth category, Pere Giménez Pubill, or “Tío Peret”, is for Roma individuals who stand out for their vital contribution as role models, and for contributing to the improvement of the living conditions of Roma men and women. This year the award went to Valentín Suárez, or “Tio Valentín”, for a life dedicated to the equality and the defence of the rights of the Roma People. For being one of the essential figures of the Spanish Roma civil society movement, and for his commitment to intercultural co-existence. He was a Roma man who was respected as a role model by both Roma and non-Roma people. The Panel also wished to highlight his robust defence of the intercultural model. Through his hard work and commitment, he highlighted the feelings and values of the Roma People throughout his life, which ended last 13th November. The award was collected, to emotional applause, by his daughter, Mayte Suárez and his widow, Lourdes Vega.

The event ended with a musical performance by the flamenco group “Pellizcos del foro”.