REF Headquarters, Hungary
Judit Szira, a Hungarian national, holds a teacher degree in Mathematics and Chemistry, and holds a degree in Public Education. Between 1998 - 2006 she was a member of the School Board of the city of Budapest City Council. Between 1994 and 1997 she was Programme Director of the Public Education Development Programme at the Soros Foundation, Budapest. Previously she was chief advisor to the Roma Commissioner in the Ministry of Education of Hungary. She is a member of the board to the National Tempus Foundation. She has been working from the beginning of her carrier on Roma inclusion issues in the field of public education. She published in professional journals and news papers on equity issues, active citizenship and social cohesion.
Anasztazia Nagy is a Roma from Hungary working as programme officer at the REF. Currently she is coordinating and managing the Hungarian project portfolio. She graduated at the Budapest Corvinus University – Faculty of Public administration in 2002 and holds a MA degree in public policy, Central European University, Budapest. She is very committed to improve the educational situation of Roma since she believes that this is the field which can significantly change the future of the Roma pupils. She was also active member of the Roma community during her studies.
Andrea Dörömböző is a Hungarian Roma, holds a MA degree in English studies, obtained ELTE University, Faculty of elementary and nursery school teachers. Prior to joining the REF team in Budapest, Andrea has spent 8 years as assistant casino manager, leading and controling the Casino activities, being responsible for all financial activities, working with various international organizations and financial teams. Now, as a REF employee, Andrea works as a financial officer.
Beata Bislim Olahova
Grant Program Manager
Beata Bislim Olahova works at the Roma Education Fund in Budapest, as a Project Grant Programme Manager since 2006. Beata holds BS/BA honors degree in Business Management and a Master Degree in Business Administration of Central European University Business School, Budapest. Since 2007, Beata is a Member of the Management Board of the European Union Agency for Fundamental Rights (FRA) nominated by Slovak Republic. Before joining REF, Beata been through lot of human rights actions, among others, she worked with the European Roma Rights Center as a legal monitor for Slovakia where she was involved in human rights monitoring and worked to investigate potential cases of discrimination and human rights abuse. As a student of the post graduate Roma Diplomacy program of the Diplo foundation, she participated and contributed to the international events on Roma Diplomacy, as a Challenge for European Institutions.
Finance and Administrative coordinator
Beata Prokaj, a Hungarian national, holds an MA degree in Economics. She started in the private sector then worked for the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees as a Staff Development Clerk. She joined REF in June 2010 as a Finance and Administrative coordinator working on the EU Roma Pilot, “A Good Start” project. She has strong social responsibility.
Dan Pavel Doghi
Higher Education Program Manager
Dan Pavel Doghi (Romania) worked for seven years as Officer on Roma and Sinti Issues at the OSCE ODIHR Contact Point for Roma and Sinti Issues. Mr. Doghi helped, since 1996, the development of few Roma organisations. Between 2000-2004 he was Programme Coordinator at the Open Society Foundation's spin-off Resource Center for Roma Communities, in Cluj. He also worked as an advocacy fellow on Roma educational matters at the Public Interest Law Initiative of the Columbia University, in Hungary. He studied social work at Babes Bolyai in Cluj Napoca, Romania, and completed a postgraduate course in International Diplomacy at Malta University.
Dennis Omondi Yonga
Kenyan national, formerly of KEMRI/CDC – Kenya. Worked as data analyst/IT specialist for 4 and a half years. Role is to provide a leading support in the GMS and online scholarship development, in-house support for the development and continuous maintenance of the organization’s IT systems, represent the organization towards 3rd party suppliers, translate the requests of the professional REF staff into IT language and formulate IT related service needs, help formulate achievable goals within the scope of IT, ensures that REF HQ (Budapest, Hungary) IT infrastructure runs smoothly, make sure solutions are cost-effective and fully utilize the available up-to-date technology improvements, negotiate new contracts if need arise, arrange purchases or renegotiate existing contracts with suppliers such as the Internet Service Provider or hardware suppliers.Holds diploma in IT from Jomo Kenyatta University of Agriculture and Technology, Nairobi.
Erzsebet Bader is a Hungarian Roma, holds a BA degree in English studies.
She worked as international coordinator at the Roma Press Center in Budapest, prior to that participated in one project of the European Roma Rights Centre as a researcher, focusing on Roma education in Hungary and took part in a Media and Marketing training program of the Centre for Independent Journalism, Budapest, held for local TV stations in Hungary as assistant. In 2007 Erzsebet was a press coordinator of the Chachipe photo contest, organized by the Open Society Archives and Open Society Institute, Hungary.
Finance and Administration Manager
Jeno Zsiga, a Hungarian National, comes from the private sector. He manages from 2001 to 2006 an international Advertising Agency as deputy director. He holds a BA from the Budapest Business College and holds an MA from the University of Pecs in Economics. As a young Roma activist he was a student leader at Romaversitas, Hungary and he was one of the founders of one of the first Hungarian young Roma Association, the Bronz Klub.
Monitoring and Evaluation Officer
Marius Taba is Monitoring and Evaluation Officer of Roma Education Fund. Marius Taba is a Roma from Romania working with REF from the very beginning . He graduated with an MA in Public Administration, Faulty of Sociology and Social Work, University of Bucharest. In 2011 he obtain a PhD in Sociology from the University of Bucharest. He is very active in civil society activities in Romania since 1999. He has worked for more than 5 years for Romani CRISS- Roma Center for Social Intervention and Studies where he was implementing projects dealing with education and public awareness campaigns. Marius Taba is founder and Board member of the Romanian Students Organization from Hungary.
REF Scholarships Program
Merziha Idrizi is a Roma from Macedonia. She has BS`c degree in Economics, Financial Management from the University of “Ss. Cyril and Methodius”- Faculty of Economics-Skopje, Macedonia and has joined REF/SP in September 2007. Merziha has previously worked as a Program Coordinator on the project “Alliance for Inclusion of Roma in Education” within the Foundation Open Society Institute Macedonia, as a part of the Roma Education Program. Merziha has experience in the work, on a voluntary base, with Roma and non Roma NGO`s from Macedonia, related to the Roma language and Roma culture. She was a member of the Center for Economic Analysis (CEA) – Macedonia until 2007. Merziha is currently working as an Alumni and Programming Officer in the Scholarship Programs team of REF.
REF Scholarship Program
Radoslav Kuzmanov is from Bulgaria. Before joining REF as Program Officer in Scholarship Program, he worked for more than 6 years for the Roma NGO Organization Drom, Vidin, Bulgaria, where he was involved in the implementation of projects dealing with Roma education, desegregation, public awareness, and advocacy campaigns. He holds a Master Degree in Psychology from South West University in Bulgaria. In 2012 he graduated the Roma Access Program in Central European University - Budapest.
Senior Program Officer
Shemsi Shainov is a Roma from Macedonia and holds a BA in Economics. He was appointed as Senior Program Officer from his previous assignment as Country Facilitator for Macedonia. Before joining REF, he worked as a freelance consultant, mainly on small and medium-scale enterprise development, training programs, land tenure issues, and environmental protection projects. As of 2001, he was National Program Officer of the Swiss Agency for Development and Cooperation within the Swiss Embassy in Macedonia. For more than three-and-a-half years he had various assignments, working in the Czech Republic, and occasionally in Poland, for The Prince of Wales Business Leaders Forum, a UK charity, in the development of Romany Youth Entrepreneurship Program. In 1995, the Government of North Rhine-Westphalia, Germany appointed him as a local partner consultant for the project on Economic Reintegration of Rejected Asylum Seekers, and one year later he was appointed as a Director of Department Entrepreneurship Development. He has worked for three years as a journalist for the Macedonian Television Corporation.
REF Scholarships Program
Stela Garaz is a Moldovan national. She holds a Ph.D. and an M.A. degree in Political Science from Central European University, as well as a licentiate diploma in Political Science and English Language from Moldova State University. In the past Stela worked at Moldova State University (2003-2004), at the European Centre for Minority Issues (2008), at CEU Asia Research Initiative (2010), as well as for various international research projects. Stela joined Roma Education Fund in January 2011.
Program Manager of the
EU funded `A Good Start` project
Szilvia Pallaghy is a Hungarian National, holds an MBA, graduated from the Case Western Reserve University, Cleveland, Ohio and the CEU Business School, Budapest. She holds an MA in Literature and in Psychology pursued in Hungary. After working in the private sector as Human Resources Specialist for General Electric, she began to work in the Ministry of Education, Hungary, in various positions. Between 2003 and 2006, she was the Head of Secretariat at the Office of the Ministerial Commissioner for the Integration of Roma and Disadvantaged Children. From 2006 onward , she worked as the Head of Unit for Education and Equal Opportunity in the Directorate General for Equal Opportunity. She joined to the Roma Education Fund as a manager of the the EU funded 'A Good Start' project on ECEC in 2010.
Stanislav Daniel is the Studies Officer of the Roma Education Fund. Before his assignment at the OSCE Office for Democratic Institutions and Human Rights as an Officer on Roma and Sinti Issues, he worked for the European Roma Rights Centre as research officer with geographic focus on the Czech Republic, Slovakia and Russia. In his professional career he individually conducted several studies, managed teams of researchers and otherwise contributed to research projects aimed primarily at education, but also free movement, state response to anti-Roma violence, implementation and impact of activities, policies and measures aimed at Roma inclusion in the EU. He also has experience of community development and capacity-building of municipal Roma politicians and Roma youth. He holds a degree in social work in Roma communities from the University of Constantine the Philosopher in Nitra, Slovakia.
Tom Bass was born in London, grew up in the Unites States, and has been based in Central Europe for almost 20 years. He has a BA from the University of Texas-Austin, an MA in Political Science from the Central European University, an MA in Creative Writing from Bath Spa University, and a certificate in literary translation from the Balassi Institute in Budapest. He has formerly worked as an editorial consultant for the Open Society Foundations and other prominent international organizations on issues of public policy, governance and minority affairs. He’s honored to serve in the public interest of Roma education. He speaks English, Hungarian, some Spanish and a little Romanes. If you or your organization are developing a documentary, photo essay or feature article about the education of Romani children and youth, please get in touch.