Who We Are- A history of Tóme Anoshá.
Tóme Anoshá is made up of Travellers from various family groupings, all currently residing in the Belfast area.
Having each of us worked in various capacities within the Traveller NGO sector, we became somewhat frustrated by a consistent absence of Travellers in key positions in statutory agencies and no political representation whatsoever. There are no other Traveller and Gypsy led NGOs or advocacy groups in the six counties, despite having ethnic minority status here since 1997. While the majority of organisations have good intentions, a lack of accountability and a culture of catering to funders’ requirements rather than our community’s needs has resulted in many able and talented Travellers, who have the capacity to influence real change, disengage.
Too often Travellers are touted as the public face of a project while settled people maintain actual authority. Despite community development rhetoric, NGOs in the six counties have made little or no progress in any meaningful way and as a result, recognising that we have the capacity within our own community to establish our own organisation, we came together in 2017 and started planning a means by which we could become active partners in our communities’ success, rather than being relegated to mere recipients of philanthropy.
Between us we have a wealth of experience in Traveller activism in particular and political activism more generally. Each with our own individual strengths, competencies and opinions, we feel that we complement one another and are an extremely strong group with a shared vision. We have been meeting on average of twice a week and are now fully constituted. As equal partners, all with equal value, we operate on a co-operative basis, a model that best fits our ethos. We would encourage anybody who wishes to join us to get in touch.