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Tell me something about you.

My name is Joan Komolafe. I am 23 years old and I am from New York.  I am attended at  Tulane University BSM Legal Studies, Minor: International Relations. I’m doing volunteer work in the association National Roma Centrum.

What is your role in the organization that you represent ?

My roles at the organization include:

Project Design Management and Budget finalization for the Access to Health Project: This project was in the amount of 55 thousand Euros and last for 18 months.

Helping to edit and work on the budget of the organization for the next two fiscal years.

Help  in the development of the youth partner organization – Symbiosis 12 by developing CVs for the members, aiding in the implementation of application to youth opportunities for the members to help increase their professional development.

Aiding in development and improving the sustainability of a yearly camp for young Roma girls.

Aiding  in the writing and implementation of a project for Roma Women’s health rights which will help to develop rights for Roma women on a national level.

General daily clerical and support for the organization including translating and writing reports for my fellow members of my organization.

How are you satisfied with your volunteer work in NRC?

I am very proud of the relationship I have established with everyone in the organization. They are based on mutual respect and in our interactions with each other this shows.

What would you consider as the most positive experience in your volunteer work in the organization?

One of the greatest successes I’ve experienced in service so far was Roma Pride Day. This project exemplified how I help my counterpart. Roma Pride Day was an event my organization created as a celebration of Roma identity, self-esteem and dignity. For the project, primary and secondary school students and their teachers spent the day learning about stereotypes, discrimination, and culture along  with ways to bring people together in their own communities. This event was a success because Roma people are the most marginalized group in the country I serve in. The city that I live in has the secondary largest population of Roma in the country, and before I started working with my organization, I was told that Roma organizations are the most difficult to work with. The successful completion of this project shattered any stipulations that I have heard about the Roma community. This project achieved a multi-ethnic  collaboration for a celebration of diversity and equality, and doing this all with my community members was the greatest success I could imagine.

What are your challenges to doing volunteer work?

I always have an internal challenge of making sure I am doing enough for my organization, and ensuring that they are aware of the respect and admiration I have for them because they are always trying their hardest to make me feel accepted and they have already given more to me in my service than I could ever hope to repay them with.

I resolve this with knowing that as I continually try to show my appreciation for my colleagues and knowing that this will show how much I appreciate them.

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