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OPENS in Bangladesh

Bangladesh. The Roma settlement 10 minutes away from Novi Sad. Without sewage, without separate infrastructure, without almost any logistics, but with its sociological and cultural story. What is sure is that the programs, especially for young people, are unavailable here.

Nana is 16 years old and she lives in Bangladesh with her family. As the majority of the Roma girls, she has not finished elementary school, but, as she says, she wants to be a hair dresser one day.

“At the moment, I am visiting Svratište for the children from the streets, where they help me study. I hope I will manage to finish elementary school. I was facing prejudice more before, but as I get older, I cope with it more easily and I hear negative comments and offences less. I wish you came more often here, to hang out, put make up on and play.”

Foto: Katarina Agbaba

Erina, Nana’s friend is 15 years old and she lives in Bangladesh since last year, when she came with her family from Bosnia. She is not a member of the Roma nationality. “I like OPENS activities, I often see your colourful flags in the centre. We heard about OPENS and this
event from Jelena and Mladen, who work for OPENS and who were here last time. We do not have the opportunity to play these games and have fun, as is the case when you come. We are always happy to welcome you here.”

“We came to Bangladesh intentionally, with the OPENS volunteers, so that young people can learn a lot from each other. This is the easiest way to learn about the life outside the cradle of normal living standards and attempt of integration of the minorities. Through different workshops, social games and discussions, we have shown ourselves and them that there is no difference between us, we have introduced some of the activities they have not seen before, which was the goal of this action” Jelena Karać, OPENS Youth Activity Coordinator Assistant says.

Additional result of the visit to Bangladesh will be the exhibition of photographs at the OPENS offices (Laze Telečkog 2) on 27 September. The exhibition of volunteers’ photographs, made in Bangladesh will provide the visitors the opportunity to, at least in that manner, meet the young people of vulnerable groups, in this case the young Roma people.

Foto: Katarina Agbaba


Only eight kilometres away from the city centre, for decades, there is a temporary settlement with a few dozen families. According to the last census, 63 young people of this settlement is still going to school, extraordinarily or regularly, and at the margins of society norms, like Nana and Erina, dream the most beautiful dreams.

Mateja Ninković

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