In 2008 I moved to Uzhhorod for a year to work with Romani Yag and Romani Cherchen, two Roma organizations located there.

When I applied and was sent there, Romani Yag ran the first newspaper for and by Roma in Ukraine. When I arrived, the funding was cut and so the newspaper couldn’t be published any more.

The European Union had just declared the Decade of Roma Inclusion and it seemed that funding therefore was also kept in the European Union. Additionally, the Ukrainian state asked for 40% taxes of any money coming into the country from foreign resources, and so writing grant applications wasn’t easy.

The Romani Yag WordPress site I set up for them is still online, though. I’ll add more here at a later point.

Uzhhorod is/was a very beautiful small town, the capital of Transcarpathia and is very close to the Slovakian border, built around the river Uzh.

I remember that on each side of the river you could still see where the bullets hit on the fence that was there from the fights in the two World Wars. I hope so sincerely that no new holes will be added this year.

The joke for many people in this region was that people had lived in three or even four different countries, without ever once leaving their house. (Austro-Hungarian Empire, Czechoslovakia, Soviet-Union and then Ukraine)