On 25.10.2010, several young Roma and non-Roma got together in Berlin to establish an association that represents the interests of young Roma in Berlin and fights against antigypsyism. In early 2011, the association Amaro Foro e.V., “Our City”, was registered as an association. Since then, it functions as the Berlin branch of the federal association Amaro Drom – the first and so far, only nationwide Roma youth organization in Germany that actively counters antigypsyism with educational work and empowerment.
Amaro Foro’s work began with the drop-in center (“Anlaufstelle”) and with our youth projects. In view of the EU enlargement and the subsequent migration flows, counseling as a flagship project has emerged. Our services are now also available in Romanes, Bulgarian and Romanian. Amaro Foro was the first organization to offer such counseling and at the same time to be a self-organization of those affected. Since then, the drop-in center has been continuously growing. Within the framework of our counseling activity, the multiple experiences of discrimination among EU citizens became increasingly visible. Based on these impressions, the Documentation Center for Antigypsyism (DOSTA) has been lauched as a separate project. In connection with these developments, the Berlin Register for documenting right-wing extremist and discriminatory incidents decided to establish the Neukölln register center at Amaro Foro. The language mediation project also arose based on our counseling experiences at the drop-in center.
Youth work has also been an important part of Amaro Foro’s work since the beginning. In addition to our local children’s and youth initiatives, which we have continuously offered since our founding, we also work on Germany-wide projects through our federal association Amaro Drom as well as on international youth programs. Amaro Foro collaborates with numerous Roma self-organizations throughout Europe and in the early years also offered volunteer services in cooperation with our partner organizations.
Given the prevalence of antigypsyism, Amaro Foro has begun to expand its own PR and awareness-raising work to position and express itself as a political actor and stakeholder of immigrant Roma in particular. In addition, anti-discrimination work has gained increased relevance and several projects in the field of political educational resulted from this. Currently, we are running awareness-raising projects for social workers, employees of public agencies, as well as media professionals. Amaro Foro has established itself as an important player in Berlin with expertise on antigypsyism, the situation of EU citizens and Romani refugees in Germany as well as on Romani history.