Zuzana Balazova – fellow from Slovakia

zuzana_balazovaZuzana Balazova received her master’s degree in social work at the University of Constantine the Philosopher in Nitra in 2006. She is currently a PhD. candidate at the University of St. Elisabeth in Bratislava.

In 2001 – 2003 she started to work as teacher in primary school in Skalica. She was first Romani teacher in the town. She was teaching German language and History. In 2006 she was participated in political leadership program of National Democratic Institute. With other program graduates she founded the Roma Public Policy Institute (RPPI), which promotes policy solutions in such critical areas as education and housing issues.  As a member of the New Roma Generation NGO she participated in drafting proposals of state minority policies (2006). In 2007-2008 she worked for Milan Šimečka Foundation who was at the time monitoring how the Slovak government was fulfilling its program of Roma integration. In 2009, Zuzana started working with People in Need Slovakia on the project concerned with employment of Roma from social marginalized settlements. In 2011 – 2015, she cooperated with Centre for the research of ethnicity and culture (CVEK) an independet research institute dealing with the minority issues and human rights in Slovakia.


Skalica, Slovakia

Particularly, she was involved as Junior Research Fellow on projects concerned with inclusive education of Romani children, housing policy in Romani marginalized settlements and introducing affirmative action targeting Roma high-school and university students. In 2014 she was doing a research about secondary schools based near Romani marginalized settlements. Currently, she is working as social worker in primary school and she is implementing an inclusive education program. This program started in September 2014 and will end in June 2015.

In 2014 Zuzana founded with other friends non-profit organization called Roma advocacy and research centre (RAVS) in Skalica. She is chairwoman of RAVS and most of the projects issues are focused on the work in Roma community. The main aim of RAVS activities is to improve quolity of life in Romani settlements and to engage Roma from this settlements in the public life in the town. Therefore, Ms. Balazova could benefit from the GLC training later on, she can use all learned skills in the work in RAVS.

Ms. Balazova would like to work with Romani communities, especially with youth and women. She would like to educate next Romani generation how to exclude from poverty and to became equal partner for majority in Slovak society. She wants to be positive role model for youth and she likes help. She has very strong empathy, organizational skills and flexible mind.

She has been in United States as Roma delegate from Slovakia in ACYPL program in 2012.

In her free time, Ms. Balazova loves to learn and read books, walking around with her dog and spending time with her family. Zuzana will have her internship at Chicago Coalition for the Homeless (Chicago)

Peter Huray – fellow from Slovakia

Peter HurayMr. Peter Huray is 25 years old student, coming from east part of Slovak Republic, from little village called Zemplínske Hámre. He is student of Masaryk University in Brno, Czech Republic of Faculty of Economics and Administration. He is enrolled in studies with master´s  degree programme of Economy and Management with the study field Business Management. He is at the final year, where he is focused on defending the diploma thesis and to pass the final exams to achieve graduation with Ing. degree from Economics. During his studies he spent one semester  in Spain, as a part of an Erasmus international exchange programme for university students. He was admissed to studies at Universidade da Coruna, in A Coruna city. He was active in the studies of his field related with home institution. He also attended 6 months university internship in Ankara, Turkey, where he was involved in the Non-Governmental Organization called Mutlu Birey. The organization is aimed on working with disabled young people by Down syndrome. His role in the organization was to develop and coordinate projects aimed on education of this target community. These projects were aimed on educating these people by using of non-formal learning methods with providing them soft skills.

Zemplínske HámreMr. Huray is also involved in active long-term internship in the Non-Governmental Organization called STEP – Society for territorial progress. This organization is based in the eastern Slovakia and its aim is to provide activities for local young people to develop territorial progress. The organization is active in the organizing the youth projects using Non-Formal Education (NFE) methods. He has started as a member at regular activities, and after attending on international projects (exchanges, trainings and seminars) he has developed into the local youth leader in this comunity of young people. He is responsible for development and coordination of national and international youth projects, where organizing youth exchanges and training courses using NFE methodologies. He is also youth leader in the community.

He is passionate about youth work, to devote young people actively and support their active growth, to be present at their life steps, to lead them in their development. Communicating within the people from the community is crucial for him and being close to its members is one of his crucial attitudes towards his work as a youth leader and project coordinator.

City_of_Minneapolis,_MinnesotaMr. Huray has never been in USA before, but he is really motivated to attend the internship of community organizing, as the USA is place, where community organizing was born and has developed within a years into the core model of an experience and knowledge base. He would like to exchange best practices with experts involved in the US and would like to get deepen into the culture, social habits and community work.

He is fluent in Slovak, Czech and English language, speaks French on the intermediate level and speak Polish on basic level. He is communicative, sociable and proactive, he likes challenges, personal development and he like to be in the centre of action.

He sees this fellowship programme as a great opportunity to improve himself and to learn a lot of new things. Even once you can experience the chance of your life. Peter will have his internship at Neighborhood Organizing for Changes (Minneapolis, MN).

Dana Trombitasova – fellow from Slovakia

BIG FOTOMs. Dana Trombitasova works in Agency for Development of Gemer region in Hnusta, south of Slovakia as a coordinator for international activities. The focus of agency´s actions is on initiation, realization and coordination of strategic activities for multilateral and dynamic development of Gemer region. The Gemer region in one of the poorest regions in Slovakia with the highest unemployment rate. Ms Trombitasova has been working mainly with young people and youth workers from Gemer region focusing on rising public awareness by organizing, mediating and providing information about trainings, seminars, workshops, conferences, exhibitions and presentations of regional projects.

Ms Trombitasova is a co-writer and project manager of international training and networking course for youth workers with a name SigNature. The main aim of the project is to provide greater understanding of interconnections between formal and non-formal education by using natural resources and activities in nature as a non-formal learning environment within the educational process. Ms Trombitasova works closely with Roma youngsters while helping them to be easier included into educational process by using non-formal educational tools. As the coordinator of international projects brings closer opportunities of trainings, education and volunteering service abroad to Roma youngsters in order to broaden their horizons and to develop their soft skills and communication in foreign language to rise their chances on a labor market.


Revuca foto:

Ms Trombitasova has Master degree in Tourism from University of Matej Bel in Banska Bystrica and Bachelor degree in Management from University of Presov in Presov. She has spent one semester in Spain where she was studying subjects of EMTM – Erasmus Mundus Tourism Management program. During her studies she has participating in various trainings and seminars regarding to leadership skills, communication skills, entrepreneurship and start-ups. As a volunteer she was working with normal and disabled kids in kindergartens providing animotherapy with ponies. Ms Trombitasova has participated also on various international trainings and networking courses for youngsters and youth workers focusing on democracy, ecology and sustainability and project writing by using non-formal educational tools and methods. Ms Trombitasova has participated on Global Community Development Project in Sri Lanka, where she was working 2 months as a volunteer for Sri Lanka´s NGO. Her tasks were management and marketing of community projects, organizing events for under-privileged kids, fundraising, donation activities and direct work with under-privileged schools and communities.



Ms Trombitasova is fascinated by success and power of bottom-up actions. She would like to work more with young leaders from Roma minority and gain new knowledge and experience in organizing of community to be able to create sustainable projects where members of community will point out their problems and become to be active and creative in finding solutions. This will be her first trip to the United States. Ms Trombitasova would like to gain new knowledge and skills relating to community organizing to be able to use this method in a proper way in work with communities in her region. She consider the right way how to achieve it to learn from successful community organizers who have visible results and in the U.S. – country where community organizing was born.

Ms Trombitasova is fluent in English, can communicate in Spanish, understands German and has basic knowledge of Polish and Russian language.  She is a proactive and communicative person with can-do attitude and sense for detail, who wants to help to improve life in her region and see results of her actions. In free time, Ms Trombitasova likes to spent time in nature by hiking, jogging, cycling, skiing and rock climbing and she likes to relax with good book. She also enjoys travelling, get to know new cultures and to learn foreign languages. Ms Trombitasova will have her internship at United Valley Interfaith Project (New Hampshire/Vermont)

Ivana Raposova – fellow from Slovakia

Ivana Raposova
Bratislava, Slovakia 

Ivana Raposova works as a Junior Research Fellow in the Centre for Research of Ethnicity and Culture (CVEK) an independent research institute dealing with the minority issues and minority rights in Slovakia. Ms. Raposova deals with the issues affecting the quality of life of a variety of minorities in Slovakia. She is mostly interested in the situation of Roma and migrants.

Ms. Raposova is currently doing a research on good practices in inclusive education at Slovak elementary schools. She also takes part in the campaign “Slovakia for All”, which aims to bring together minority community leaders and human rights activists across Slovakia and help them to find the common ground, unite and strengthen their voice. It is precisely this latter activity that she incorporated into her pre-departure activities, and in which Ms. Raposova could benefit tremendously from the GLC training later on, as the minority communities in Slovakia are generally politically, as well as publicly, underrepresented and very fragmented.

In the past, Ms. Raposova used to be a youth leader working actively with the group of children and young adults in YMCA. She used to organize regular meetings, trips, summer camps, as well as the trainings for other youth workers. In 2013, she spent 4 months in Nepal teaching English in the rural community school. During her volunteer years, Ms. Raposova has attended several trainings in leadership, youth work and experiential education. However, she has not had a chance to participate at a training focused specifically on community organizing. Given her current occupation and interests, this competence can be crucial for her future work with the minorities in Slovakia.

Bratislava, Slovakia

By education Ms. Raposova is a Sociologist. She has acquired her Master’s Degree from the Masaryk University in Brno, Czech Republic, where she is currently persuing her Ph.D. As a part of her studies Ms. Raposova spent one semester at the Bosporus University in Istanbul, Turkey. Her current research interest is directed towards community urban festivals as means of overcoming social tensions and creating inclusive common places. She prefers ethnographic qualitative methods trying to understand the perspective of the people. She speaks English, German and Czech.

Ms. Raposova has been to the United States already three times, always working during the summer through the “Work and Travel program”. She always loves coming back and discovering new and deeper layers of the complex and diverse American society. She would like to use the opportunity to visit the States once more to acquire a better understanding of the American civil society, especially how the NGOs operate and how the community work is being done.

Charlottesville, VirginiaMs. Raposova would prefer to work with migrants, refugees, Romas and youth. The acquired knowledge and skills she would like to use in order to professionalize her own work with the minority communities and their representatives. She possess strong organizational skills; she has a team-player soul, and she has a passion for education, both, as an educator, as well as a constant learner.

In her free time Ms. Raposova loves travelling, getting to know new cultures and cuisines, doing yoga or jogging. She is vegetarian trying to avoid the dairy products.

Ivana will have her internship at Virginia Organizing (Charlottesville, Virginia) together with the fellows Peter Petek and Cristinela Ionescu

Monika Jurikova – fellow from Slovakia

Monika Jurikova
Bratislava, Slovakia 

Monika Jurikova is working as a Social worker in urban locality, where are the social welfare and social apartments. In this disadvantaged neighborhood live around 1500 people and around half of them are Roma with different social and economy status. Along with the total absence of any leisure and social services there is a room for development of many conflicts, social pathologies (crime, pollution, drug use, vandalism, …) and the tense atmosphere between different groups of population. Children and young people make up almost half the population of settlement. For many of them are leisure activities offered by other institutions outside the settlement unavailable (required regular attendance, active participation, distance, financial costs). Street becomes a meeting place, a place for leisure, sometimes a refuge, sometimes playground.

Bratislava, Slovakia

For several years Ms. Jurikova has been doing streetwork and preventative activities in club for teens. Before she worked in non-goverment organization that was focused on drug users. Later she was part of team who did preventative activities at school focused on harassment, violence and experimenting with drugs.

Wichita, Kansas

Ms. Jurikova studied at the Faculty of Education, Department of Social Education and she graduated with her Master’s Degree with specification Etopedie – emotional disturbances. During studies, she spent three summers in the U.S. with “Work and Travel program”.

Ms. Jurikova is communicative person, and except English she is able to speak in several Slavic languages, especial  Czech and Polish.

Ms. Jurikova is very excited to visit community projects in the United States. She wants to bring experience and new ideas to her project.

Ms. Jurikova enjoys travelling, meeting new people, learning new cultures. During freetime she enjoys all kind of sport, especial cycling, jogging, swimming, trekking and hiking.

Monika will be having her internship at Seed House (Wichita, Kansas) together with Claudia Popa from Romania and two more fellows.

Short picture’s story from our fellows

On 12th of April our fellows safety arrived to their fellowship placement site in 9 states at 11 hosting organizations. Read some of their first actions/meetings and impressions:

Raluca Negulescu, Romania

My first day at the Granite State Organizing Project was delightful. I met a group of fantastic Latin-American women from Nashua and we discussed about the main issues in their community. In the evening, I attended a fundraising event – the 2nd Annual Spaghetti Supper organised by Holy Cross Family Learning Center in Manchester. I met the Mayor of the city and enjoyed a Bhutanese dance show.

Raluca Negulescu

Raluca Negulescu, Romania

Martin Klus, Slovakia

I had a “sharp start” here in Little Rock and today became part of very strong state-wide initiative within Arkansas State Congress and will be famous for couple of seconds even in local TV.

Martin Klus

Martin Klus, Slovakia

Dzhevid Mahmud, Bulgaria
Csaba and Dzhevid met with senator Kennedy in Brockton, Boston during interfaith community action meeting.

dzhevid mahmud

Dzhevid & Csaba

Simona Barbu, Romania

Two very interesting meetings today in Seattle, the first one at CASA LATINA, where the Care Council meet to discuss about the national updates on the law of immigration and the activities they prepare for the next period: on the 9th of May they will put together and action called Mothers Day in order to highlight the role of the mothers in immigration.

Later on, in the Industrial district (aka China Town) we had the opportunity to participate at the meeting of the coalition for preparing May Day in Seattle, a totally different concept that what we usually celebrate in Romania. May Day is the Immigrant’s Day and will be celebrated by marching on the main important boulevards of the city and organizing the members of the immigrant communities to participate.

Together with Kovács Tímea Éva , we’ll be peace keepers during the march on the 1st of May! We are looking forward to it!

simona barbu

Simona & Timea

Miroslav Ragac, Slovakia

Very successful day today! Our S.A.G.E group (Survivor Advocacy Group Empowered) met with several members of the Illinois House of Representatives in Springfield and they got their support and commitment to vote for SB 1872!!! Well done girls!!!

Miroslav Ragac

Miroslav Ragac, Slovakia