Rom Perform

Rom Perform

Young Roma Mediators Promoting Health Literacy

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Last Update: May 19, 2014

Roma population is amongst the most deprived and vulnerable social groups worldwide. Regarding their health status there are huge disparities between Roma and non-Roma. Theatrical performances promoting health literacy in illiterate vulnerable social groups are considered as a best practice.

Founded: 2014 Type: hybrid

The Problem

Τhere is a huge gap between the health status of Roma and non-Roma. Roma have lower life expectancy, reduced access to health insurance, lower child vaccination rates, difficult physical access to medical services, and affordability concerns. A lack of trust and negative experiences with health systems keep Roma people from engaging with health professionals, which results in a lack of awareness by policy-makers of their specific health needs.

The Solution

For the elimination of the health inequalities that exist among Roma, the engagement of health mediators has been proven to be fundamentally essential. A health mediator is defined as the person that provides the liaison between Roma individuals/families/communities and mainstream public health services. In addition, theatrical performances promoting health literacy in illiterate vulnerable social groups have been proven to be an especially effective tool in mediating the knowledge. A combination of these two best practices, RHM running theatrical performances in Roma camps aiming to raise awareness on public health issues, will constitute an immediate and powerful tool in getting the health message across succinctly.


Usually, when a Roma has to go to the hospital, his family and neighbors escort him. Most of the times, this fact creates disruption at the hospital for several reasons. A short related funny role playing game was performed in 3 Roma Camps of Attica some weeks ago, through which viewers had the chance to realize that this tactic, is not really helpful for the patient. After the game, the viewers started a discussion, which helped them acquire a totally new perspective on that issue. Another example could be a short pleasant theatrical game through which children and adults learn how the HIV/AIDS virus is transmitted.


This pilot project will be one of the public awareness campaigns of the Research Project "Hprolipsis", run by the Medical School of the University of Athens in collaboration with all other Medical Schools of Greece, together with the NGO’s Medecins du Monde and PRAKSIS, aiming at HIV, Hepatitis B and C prevention and care. Regarding the Roma population component, the team of young RHM will perform short theatrical games in 12 Roma camps in 4 regions of Greece (Attica, Western Greece, Central Macedonia, Thessaly). The purposes of those short theatrical games are to: a)raise the awareness on public health issues, such as children vaccination, test PAP, etc. and b)persuade them to take part in the research and get tested for free for HIV/AIDS, Hepatitis B and C. The estimated number of the beneficiaries is 700-2000 (i.e. 175-500 people in each of the four regions).

Full Impact Potential

The idea was initially implemented in 3 Roma camps in 1 region of Greece, at the moment we are planning to implement it in 12 Roma camps in 4 regions of Greece and later on we would like to apply it to all Roma camps in Greece. The impact on -Young RHM: 17 young Roma will have the chance to a)continue training themselves on RHM issues, b)colaborate with health and social workers, c)meet new people and travel to new places. -Hprolipsis Research Project: The assistance of the team of the Young RHM will be critical so as to persuade Roma to participate in the study.

Budget: $1,000 - $10,000

Financial Sources

National government, Other

Sustainability Plan

There is mounting concern about Roma health across all policy making levels.Funding priorities are given to projects regarding Roma.The current funding application will assist in setting the foundations for an organised approach in applying to other foundations that list Roma issues as one of their priorities.These are: -European Youth Foundation -Youth in Action, EU -Open Society Foundation -Bodossaki Foundation -Stavros Niarchos Foundation


Currently, there is no literacy free health information specific intervention using Roma health mediators operating in Roma settlements in Greece or in Europe. The approach promotes public health issues through the art of theatre and non literate means. In the past (2008), some attempts were made to promote public health issues to illiterate population through SMS mobile messages. The art of theatre is more powerful and more personal.

Founding Story

The idea of using art as a tool to improve health literacy in Roma camps came up through the pilot project “Young Roma Mediators on Health Issues” run by PRAKSIS NGO, under the umbrella of Roma Youth Action Plan, Council of Europe (February-April 2014). In particular, during the third phase of the project, the trainees organized, with the assistance of the trainers, health education-risk reduction workshops in their communities. The art of theater was used so as to simplify basic public health messages targeting the illiterate audience. According to the evaluation, the short theatrical stories performed by the young trainees were the most effective tool for the awareness of the audience.

Team Explanation

-17 trained young RHM as the performers -Mr Lambros Yotis, psychiatrist and drama-therapist, as the director of the theatrical performances -Mrs Chrisoula Arcoudis, Academic Assistant at the Centre for Intercultural Studies, University of Athens, as a board member -Dr Terzidis, pediatrician & Member of the scientific Board of the MSc “International Health-Health Crisis Management", as a board member

Team Members



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Comments & Activity


Mon, 05/26/2014 - 10:24

Using collaborative theatre as a means to both empower people and engage communities to learn about health issues is a very powerful idea. I particularly applaud your evaluation approach.

Yanna (Ioanna) Petraki profile img
Mon, 05/26/2014 - 11:11

Dear Ms Zarcadoolas,
Thank you very much for your comment. Acknowledging your vast experience on health literacy issues, it would be considerable helpful for us to keep in contact with you for this project.
Kind regards,
Yanna Petraki