The goal of this project was to give Roma adolescents the chance to articulate their own voice through participatory digital storytelling. Our motivation was to offer them the possibility to reflect the richness of their language and culture, to be the storytellers of their own stories with the goal to produce two short films (https://vimeo.com/294780272 and https://vimeo.com/294901471).
The village of Drosero is regarded by many as a ghetto, despite being located very close to the city of Xanthi (in Greek Thrace). More than 7500 Roma people live there, which makes it one of the most densely populated villages and the largest Roma settlement in Greece. The Roma adolescents in this village are trapped between a society that denies them and a culture that confines them. Their lack of incentives, poor socioeconomic conditions, the exclusion and discrimination they are facing – all have reinforced the notions of helplessness and despair.
The making of the films
Caravan Project worked with a group of 12 Roma adolescents (aged 14-18) and engaged them with community-based techniques in order to identify and address the two stories/topics that feel essential for their community. Later on, the adolescents were divided into two teams and with the assistance of the facilitators, they started the filming process. They have had the chance to use the camera and the sound recorder, to conduct research and interview, to document, map, edit, and disseminate their stories on topics of their choice as well as to employ different filmmaking techniques that would serve their goals. At the last stage of this workshop, the editing process took place, in order to realize and produce the two short documentary films.
The first film, Aver Than “Other Place”, allows Roma youth to present an intimate view of their community. This point of view is not only apparent in the choice of images, but is also reflected in the use of the in-group, Romani language.
The second film, Little Home, introduces the people in the community, talking passionately about their professions. The language in this film is Greek, one of the languages of communication that Roma use with outsiders, with occasional use of Romani in the interactions among the members of the community.