US Embassy in Prague gives human rights award to Magdalena Karvayová for helping Romani children access quality education

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Magdalena Karvayová honored by US Embassy
Magdalena Karvayová honored by US Embassy

On the occasion of Human Rights Day and the 70th anniversary of the signing of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, the 15th annual Alice G. Masaryk Human Rights Award was given by the US Embassy in Prague to Magdalena Karvayová, a young Romani activist in the area of inclusive education and the founder of the Awen Amenca organization. She received the award for her exceptional ability to lead and strengthen the Romani community's efforts to access quality education in the Czech Republic.

"Magdalena's personal story, her dedication and determination to mobilize Romani citizens and parents to get involved in demanding a better education for their children - all of this is a fabulous example of the change and progress that people are able to achieve when they take their fates into their own hands," emphasized Deputy Chief of Mission Kelly Adams-Smith at the ceremony. During the last few years Magdalena and her enthusiastic co-workers Miroslav Klempar, Jolana Smarhovycova and Roma mothers from Association pf Roma Parents have managed to enrol more than 600 Romani children into mainstream schools in Brno, Ostrava, and the surrounding areas.

"If it were not for my colleagues and the people around me, I do not believe I could have achieved what I have managed to achieve up to this point. We still have a long way to go. This award is not just for me, but it is for all who have supported me on my journey of advocating for human rights, especially in the area of equal education and equal access to quality education for Romani children," Ms Karvayová said upon receiving the award.

The Embassy established the tradition of the Alice Garrigue Masaryk Award in 2004 as an expression of recognition for organizations or individuals who deserve exceptional credit for developing human rights in the Czech Republic and who, through their support for social justice and their defense of democratic freedoms, are creating an open civil society. The award is given annually and is named after Alice Garrigue Masaryk, an eminent Czech-American and founder of the Czechoslovak Red Cross, as an expression of acknowledgment for her efforts to combat social injustice and her personal bravery in advocating for human rights.

Alice G. Masaryk is a great symbol of the common history of these allied countries and embodies the Czech Republic's longstanding dedication to human rights, including civil and political rights both abroad and at home. The prize has been awarded previously to Igor Blaževič, Marie Gottfriedová, Klára Kalibová, Jiří Kopal, Oldřich Kužílek, David Ondráčka, the weekly RESPEKT, the ROMEA organization, Čeněk Růžička, Lucie Sládková, Anna Šabatová, Sri Kumar Vishwanathan and Czeslaw Walek.

ryz, press release of the US Embassy, translated by Gwendolyn Albert