Over a period spanning from August 2020 to March 2021, JUSTROM3 Romania has organised a series of mentoring sessions targeting Roma women who are active at grassroots level. Mentoring sessions have been carried out in Iași (Romania) and in Bucharest (Romania). The Roma women successfully participated in the trainings, thus enlarging their collaboration networks and reinforcing their position as informal leaders within the local Roma communities.
The mentoring sessions were led by a number of JUSTROM3 trainers and facilitators, with the support of NGOs, such as the National Red Cross Society of Romania. In order to build a relationship based on trust and mutual sharing, the trainings were developed in the form of individual meetings with each woman, during which their personal challenges and experiences of discrimination were discussed in depth. In addition, some of the sessions were devoted to group exercises, such as self-awareness games, role-playing exercises, and open discussions focusing on presenting the JUSTROM3 program, its achievements, and objectives. The overall aim of the mentoring meetings was to empower Roma women in order to boost the capacity of the whole Roma community, to offer new perspectives in terms of the personal and professional development of Roma women, their rights to access justice, and their importance as strong actors within their community and society more generally. Other topics addressed included the impact of multi-axial (emotional, physical, and social) traumas suffered by Roma women intra-community and extra-community, intersectionality, and expectations following their involvement with the JUSTROM3 program.Among many inspirational stories, it is notable that two of the Roma participants and community leaders are currently students at the Department of Social Work of the “Alexandru Ioan Cuza” University in Iași. After graduating, they plan to offer their unconditioned support to the communities they belong to, as well as to act in the interest of other Roma people. The participants showed a high level of motivation, interest, and engagement throughout the mentoring sessions.