Roma Climate Justice peer education worker

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Friends of the Earth is delighted to announce that Elena Manciu has been appointed as the Roma Climate Justice Peer Education worker - a new position hosted by Cairde.

As part of our Global Citizenship Education project entitled ‘’Collaborating to help build an inclusive and diverse movement with the knowledge and skills to be active global  citizens committed to a fairer and more sustainable future for all.’’ Friends of the Earth are collaborating with Cairde to deepen the engagement of the Roma community in climate education and to support the empowerment of Roma in taking climate action.


Elena Manciu

An introduction from Elena:

‘’My name is Elena, and I am 27 years old. I grew up in Spain, and four years ago I moved to Ireland. I have a huge Roma family here that makes me feel connected to my culture. I am a curious and empathetic person. I love music, nature, and although I am quite introverted, I love being able to connect with people.‘’ 

‘’Life for Roma can be difficult because some people don’t understand our culture and traditions. There is a lot of racism but still we feel proud to be Roma. I think Roma culture is misunderstood not only in Ireland, but around the world.’’

‘’Roma face many climate issues, including poverty and exposure to dangerous chemicals and materials, for example when working in rubbish dumps and recycling centres without adequate protection. Another climate issue in Ireland is that the houses are not properly insulated and many people living in poverty, including Roma, are living in accommodation that is difficult to heat.’’ 

‘’I am passionate about climate justice for Roma because if I can contribute a grain of sand for a good cause, that is when a human’s life becomes meaningful.’’

This collaborative project is rooted in a climate justice framework. Climate justice recognises that those who are least responsible for causing climate change are often the ones who suffer its gravest consequences. Climate justice is rooted in human rights and equality - it’s a framework or a lens that helps us to understand the climate crisis not just as an environmental issue but as a justice issue. Climate change affects people differently, depending on a number of  factors - location, income, gender, class, race, age, level of education etc. 

The Roma community in Ireland often face extreme levels of poverty and discrimination, with many experiencing overcrowded living conditions and barriers in accessing employment. Roma are disproportionately at risk of energy poverty, meaning they are not able to adequately heat their residences. The 2018 Roma Needs Assessment reported that many Roma are without food, gas, water and/or electricity.

Elena has been a participant in Cairde’s Roma Education Programme for more than two years. To learn more about this innovative programme you can watch this video to hear more from the participants about what the programme is about and the impact it’s been having on their lives. 

Friends of the Earth are greateful to our funders and co-funders for supporting this project to enable us to engage underrepresented communities in the climate justice movement in Ireland.