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History of the FSG[editar]

The history of the Fundación Secretariado Gitano (FSG) is the history of many histories: of those Roma women and men who have changed their lives in the past decades; of those persons who accompanied and promoted these changes; of those institutions that dared to launch and support new approaches and policies addressed to the Roma people. It is also the history of an organisation that emerged from obscurity to become a European reference point. It is, above all, a history of perseverance.

Origins

The history of the FSG began to take shape more than 45 years ago when, under the impulse of the II Vatican Council, the Roma Secretariats were born with the vocation of offering specific religious and social assistance to Roma persons. The personal involvement of both Roma and non-Roma, of both clergy and laypersons, laid the groundwork of what would later become the FSG.

At that time, education had become a priority. The so-called Bridge Schools accordingly emerged through an agreement with the Ministry of Education, as a transitory action that remained in force for close to a decade, until 1986.

The Asociación Secretariado General Gitano (ASGG) is born

In 1982, the Asociación Secretariado General Gitano (ASGG) was established as a non-profit civil society organisation. The Association was composed of an assembly of members, including both Roma and non-Roma coming primarily from the Roma Secretariats and associations, and governed by a Board of Directors of seven Roma and non-Roma members.

The decision to constitute the association was taken for both logistical and strategic reasons. In relation to the former, the fundamental aim was to create an organisation enjoying juridical independence from the Episcopal Commission on Migrations, allowing it to employ teachers of Spain’s Bridge Schools in a more flexible manner. The underlying strategic reason was of an institutional nature and responded to the will to dissociate social and pastoral work with Roma.

The idea was to ensure that the social mission would be implemented by an independent entity with its own juridical structure and with a democratic character, open not only to clergymen but also to all persons sharing the purpose and social objectives of Roma inclusion: the ASGG would assume this function.

In 1982, the ASGG was established as a non-profit civil society organisation

At that time, the Association did not manage resources but rather offered assistance to local associations and groups. This already demonstrated the importance of partnerships to the organisation, which would become one of its hallmarks. The emergence of the ASGG also coincided with the development of important new research on the situation of the Roma population in Spain.

In the 1990s, the ASGG reached out to Europe. The European Union was launching policies aimed at persons and groups in situations of exclusion, and the ASGG was determined to ensure that these policies would also benefit the Roma community.

During that decade, the ASGG also gave impetus to its action in Madrid. The agreement signed with the municipal authorities allowed it not merely to provide direct services to the Roma community of Madrid, but also to experiment with a new model of territorially-based social intervention. The decade of the 1990s was fruitful too in the dissemination of knowledge related to Roma, with the launch of the Documentation Centre converted in an international reference point in its area of specialisation.

The Association converts itself into a Foundation

The new century breathed new life into the ASGG. In 2001, the Association converted itself into a Foundation, the FSG. It adopted a new juridical model, opened up further in organisational terms, and throve on the influx of new minds and ideas.

A plural Board of Trustees constituted itself, as a reflection of society. The new century brought one of the FSG's major challenges: initiating the direct management of European funds to implement actions that improve the living conditions of Roma. The FSG is one of the first Social Action NGOs to achieve this feat.

The Acceder Programme, which began as a pilot experience in the late 1990s, has demonstrated the ability of the FSG to innovate by elaborating new approaches and methodologies and putting them into practice.
The Acceder programme opens the door to the labour market for the Roma community.
The Acceder programme opens the door to the labour market for the Roma community.
In 2001, the Association converted itself into a Foundation, the FSG. It adopted a new juridical model, opened up further in organisational terms, and throve on the influx of new minds and ideas.

As ever, the professionalism, efforts and ethical principles of the FSG staff have imposed themselves. The FSG promotes a change of mentality: it invites the Roma population to overcome its dependence on welfare benefits and commit to training and salaried employment. Acceder, in accordance with the programming periods of the Structural Funds, developed in the 2000-2006 and 2007-2013 periods; in the latter, it was complemented by new lines of action in education and support to Roma immigrants from Eastern European countries.

In parallel, the FSG has not ceased its efforts to achieve equal opportunities in all social fields. In education, housing, health, youth, gender equality, equal treatment and anti-discrimination, awareness-raising, cultural promotion and volunteering, among others, it pursues its work in collaboration with various Ministries, public agencies and NGOs.

Today, the FSG implements more than 500 programmes annually, reaching more than 100,000 persons. The figures speak for themselves.

Fundación Secretariado Gitano: More than 25 years of history (promotional video in Spanish)

Enlaces

Photo gallery

  • Professional training, 1987
  • National Conference on academic support and follow up with minorities, 1989
  • Trade Learning Centre, 1990
  • Courses for women, 1991
  • National Conferences on work and employment in the Roma community, 1992
  • La ruta del papel, 1993
  • First students of the Avutno Vaxt Trade Learning Centre, 1997
  • First Acceder team, 1998
  • Signing of a cooperation agreement with the Madrid City Council, 1999
  • First Youth Information Point, 2001
  • Phare Twinning in Hungary, 2003
  • Discrimination and Roma Community Seminar, 2003
  • The FSG initiates its work in Romania, 2008
  • Presentation of
  • La Nena, 2009
  • Birth of the Platform for the Management of Diversity by Police Forces, 2010
  • Partipants in the 'Photo Van' Promociona Campaign, 2010