Roma youngsters clean up Longsight streets in attempt to sweep away prejudice

Young members of Longsight’s Roma community have joined forces on a street cleaning initiative at the weekend to promote integration and mutual collaboration in the South Manchester community.

A group of volunteers from Roma Voice of Manchester worked together with Longsight Community Primary and Children’s Centre and Manchester Youth Academy.

They picked litter from the streets around Hamilton Road in Longsight on Saturday.

The initiative was sponsored by the University of Manchester’s MigRom project, which aims to understand the needs and aspirations of Manchester’s Roma community and to support their integration into the local area.

Dr Daniele Viktor Leggio, a project researcher with the MigRom project, said: “When young Romanis approached us for ideas on how to challenge stereotypes about their community, we encouraged them to actively engage with other residents and local councillors.

“Romanis have shown that they care for their neighbourhood. But integration is a two-way process, and now it is time for other communities to show their appreciation of the Roma.”

Thirty volunteers attended and 30 sacks of litter and refuse were removed from the streets. The equipment was provided by Manchester City Council’s Clean City fund.

Roma volunteers, with the help of Manchester University and neighbouring Levenshulme councillors including Dzidra Noor and Nasrin Ali, distributed a multilingual leaflet to raise awareness about recycling.

Dr Julian Skyrme, Director of Social Responsibility at The University of Manchester, said: “The MigRom project is an excellent example of how our world-leading research is making a difference in our most local communities.

“Our expertise on languages and culture has been used to successfully engage local Roma communities, build their capacity and help to enhance cohesion and integration in specific parts of our city.”

Similar litter-pick events are taking place on Saturdays this November.The next one will be in Crowcroft Park Primary School in Gorton on November 29.

Image courtesy of Dzidra Noor, with thanks

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