IOM Moldova embraces "Amare Amala", Roma Culture Week

(Joint Press Release)

Chisinau, April 8 - The Republic of Moldova will host theatre performances, discussions and vibrant cultural presentations as part of "Amare Amala: Roma Culture Week" from 8-13 April, which will end with a Roma music concert on Saturday. This series of events is dedicated to International Roma Day, marked annually on 8 April. The events aim to raise awareness of Roma culture and combat stereotypes and discrimination against this ethnic minority.

In the 2014 census of the population of the Republic of Moldova, 9,383 people declared themselves to be Roma. However, more recent estimates suggest that there are more than 27,000 Roma in the country, a number that is even higher after hundreds of Roma from Ukraine fled the war and sought refuge in the country. Yet Roma continue to face discrimination and misunderstanding, often dictated by a lack of knowledge of their rich traditions and culture.

At the initiative of the Roma Task Force, starting in 2023 has been organised, "Amare Amala: Roma Culture Week", a series of events dedicated to 8 April. Last year, the week of events organised at national level saw the participation of more than 1500 people, and the organisers aim to increase this number for this edition, thus contributing to raising awareness of Roma traditions, culture and history, and combating discrimination against this community. 
Marin Alla, director of the "Roma Voice" Coalition - a coalition of 38 Roma organizations, says: "The Roma community in Moldova is not a burden. The country that has Roma is a rich, free, and an independent country. The Roma community in Moldova love the land they were born in and cannot sell it."
The events organized throughout the Roma weekoffer the opportunity for everyone to discover the uniqueness of these people through the universal language of the arts. Marco Buono, Head of Mission of INTERSOS Moldova, one of the main organizers of the "Amare Amala" events, declared: “At Intersos, we believe that recognizing and celebrating International Roma Day empowers Romani individuals and communities by affirming their identity, dignity, and rights. Through organizing this musical event dedicated to Roma culture, we aim to renew our commitment to promoting the rights and well-being of Romani people and to contribute to raising awareness among the general public about the challenges and discrimination faced by Romani communities.”

This year's Amare Amala Week includes for the first time nationwide educational activities in gymnasiums, high schools and universities. This is possible thanks to the collaboration with the Ministry of Education and Research of the Republic of Moldova. “In the week dedicated to Roma culture, we express our gratitude to this community and pay tribute to their contribution to the development of our society. We are committed to working together to promote Roma rights, culture and education, thus building a more inclusive future for all members of this community.", said the Minister Dan Perciun, Educational institutions will take the initiative to organize these activities, with support from national and international organizations, aimed at increasing acceptance and inclusion of Roma children.

The series of events also includes a two-day regional conference organized by the UNHCR, the UN Refugee Agency, to promote inclusion of Roma people in the refugee response in Moldova and to share good practices from other countries hosting Ukrainian refugees. This is the first regional event dedicated to discuss  Roma inclusion, and it will bring together representatives and Roma mediators from five European countries. Francesca Bonelli, Representative of UNHCR Moldova, said: "Embracing diversity means recognising the beauty of our differences and the strength in our unity. The Roma Culture Week is therefore an excellent opportunity for us not only to honour diversity, but also to cultivate a society where every individual can thrive. Following the principle of leaving no one behind, UNHCR supports and empowers Roma refugees and their communities by ensuring their access to services and fostering social cohesion."

"Amare Amala: Roma Culture Week" this year will conclude with a concert at the “Mihai Eminescu” National Theatre, performed by the Moldovan National Youth Orchestra,on 13 April. More than 30 young musicians will perform under the baton of Andriano Marian, the famous conductor from the Republic of Moldova, who is also of Roma ethnicity, featuring symphonic versions of Roma culture songs from Moldova, Romania, Hungary, Spain and Portugal. Joining the orchestra will be soloists Ana Raiu, Aurel Chirtoaca, Felicia Dunaf and Misha Grossu, Mihai Duminică and Ionuț Ciocanu.

The concert will be preceded by an activity fair for children and adults from 1pm to 5.30pm, where visitors will be able to participate in interactive games, face painting, drawing, quiz games and more. More details can be found here:

The Roma week events are free of charge, thanks to the generous support of the Italian Agency for Cooperation and Development, the European Union, the Norwegian Ministry of Foreign Affairs, UNHCR, the Norwegian Refugee Council and the International Organization for Migration.

Jacopo Caridi, NRC Country Director, said: “It is an honour for the Norwegian Refugee Council (NRC) to participate for the second consecutive year in the celebration of International Roma Week in Moldova. Around the world, NRC prioritizes assisting conflict-displaced and vulnerable communities, such as the Roma in Moldova. In partnership with the local NGO ROMNI, we helped conflict-displaced people from the Roma community, ensuring access to legal information and participation in protection activities to promote their culture, enhance integration, and avoid discrimination.”

Lars Johan Lönnback, IOM Moldova's Chief of Mission, has declared: ”IOM stands in solidarity with Roma communities, supporting their right to equality and full participation in all aspects of society. The Rome Culture Week is an important initiative that reminds us how crucial are respect for diversity, the fight against all forms of discrimination, including hate speech, and common work for a just development of the country. Since 2022, IOM in the Republic of Moldova, thanks to the support of the donor community, has provided substantial assistance to Roma refugees displaced from Ukraine to prevent human trafficking and combat gender-based violence.”

All events planned for 8-13 April can be found in the joint events calendar created by the organizers.


For more information, please contact:

Riccardo Severi, Communications and Public Information Officer, IOM Moldova, (for IOM activities) 

Cristina Sirbu,
Monica Vazquez,


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