Monika Sandreli

monika sandreli

I grew up in Pušča, the largest and the oldest Roma settlement in Slovenia. My family imparted me values that accompany me through life such as importance of education, respect for others and the right to a decent life for every human so that he/she can do/achieve everything he/she wants if he/she has the will, courage and is persistent. I believe that everything happens for a reason and that the results of work are the best if someone is doing something with joy and pleasure.

My upbringing was to a great extent based on respecting and nurturing our own culture. I was awestricken by Roma culture in my early childhood. Roma language, music, dance and stories were a part of my every-day life. I´ve learnt a lot of important informations regarding the Roma life from my grandmother (my Daja) and my great-grandmother. I began to develop this knowladge or mission as a teenager with participation on different fields of perservation and development of Roma culture – as a dancer, an actress and a translator.

My father has always accentuated the importance of education – not only formal but also informal education. He told me I am not going to school because of him and I am not studying for school but for myself and my future. His words beared fruits as I exploit every moment to acquire new knowledge and new skills. By profession I am a seamstress. I worked as a seamstress in the Mura factory for 18 years. I finished Commercial Secondary School and gained a profession as a shop assistant. I didn´t get appropriate job and that is why I don´t have any experiences as a shop assistant. I gained license for teaching Roma language and dance in 1990 in Vienna. That is why I´m performing classes of Roma language and dance. I´ve translated the book »Kakšne barve je svet?« (eng. What colour is the world?) writen by Desa Muck, a slovenian writter, in Roma language. Media have done a lot of damage to Roma people as they bent real picture of us. A quiet intolerance was felt (and can still  be felt) which is a source of ignorance towards Roma people and superficial approach from the media. That is why I´ve decided for additional education and qualification as a Roma journalist at Educational center of RTV SLO (Radio and Television of Slovenia). I became a correspondent for weekly show Amare Drome – Naše poti (Amare Drome – Our paths) at Radio Slovenia. At TV Slovenia I became a host, translator and journalist for TV show So Vakeres – Kaj govoriš? (eng. What are you saying?). 10 years ago we´ve opened information center and radio Romic in Murska Sobota, which began broadcasting in 2008. At Romic where I am also an editor, we try to inform Roma people as well as mainstreem population. We introduce Roma culture, language, politics, views towards current events and successful individuals with Roma roots. The most significant for information center is preservation of Roma values, culture and language. Besides radio programme at Romica we are also publishing. We have gathered all literature regarding Roma people and the literature of Roma writters where all relevant issues can be found. We are publishing newspapers: Romano them – Svet Romov (eng. The World of Roma people), Romano nevijpe – Romske novice (eng. Roma News), Mini multi and several collections. We also take care of education of members of Roma community. I love my job  as a jurnalist. The work is interesting because I meet wonderful people and learn about new things every day. I love passing on informations to listeners. I see through my life and working experiences that we as Roma people are neighbours, friends and acquaintances for some and people on the margins of society, victims of stereotypes and discrimination for others. Some see Roma people as people with rich cultural heritage that inspires everyone who appreciate colourful rainbow of different cultures although for some people we don´t even exist. I think that people with low oppinion of us don´t even know us.

My mission is to show to the majority of population the diversity and richness of my culture. The fact that I am a Roma woman means that I have one language and one culture more or as I say culture on square.