Work-integrated learning and health literacy as catalysts for Roma empowerment and social inclusion: A participatory action research

Roma people all over the world have often been subject to prejudice, stigma, discrimination and oppression. Many Roma have little or no education, which in combination with other factors often leads to unemployment and marginalization. Based on a case study in Sweden, this paper proposes an approach that can be used in participatory projects aiming at improving the living situation of marginalized people. In such an approach, the Roma themselves would be the leaders in all activities concerning the group. The first aim of this paper is to describe how health literacy and work-integrated learning functioned as empowering tools for a Roma-led inclusion process within a participatory action research framework. The second aim is to discuss and reflect on the use of participatory action research in community work with Roma based on the experiences of the participatory action research participants. The findings indicate that work-integrated learning may be a worthwhile approach for increasing the individual empowerment and self-led social inclusion of vulnerable people. However, the obstacles of structural discriminatory nature hindered the project to reach its full potential in its intended emancipatory goals.

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Abstract provided on behalf of the authors: Leena Eklund Karlsson, Karin C Ringsberg, Kristine Crondahl

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