Ungarn: Szilvia S. Kállai

I would like to erase the belief that a woman’s place is in the kitchen and next to her children, and that marriage and childbearing are the only possibilities for a young woman.

— Szilvia S. Kállai

Szilvia S. Kallai is a journalist and editor for the Roma radio station Radio C and the Roma Mediacenter in Budapest. Radio C broadcasts to about 60,000 people in Budapest and surroundings, while the Roma Mediacenter compiles material for the Hungarian media and abroad. Szilvia especially deals with women's issues and problems in the Roma community and runs her own Roma women’s program. Szilvia encourages young Roma to take up this work, emphasizing that the main responsibility for work that contributes to Roma interests remains on Roma shoulders.

Szilvia S. Kallai was born in 1969 to a Roma father and a non-Roma mother. Because of her family background, Szilvia always had to face questions concerning the Roma minority. After graduating from university in 1998, she joined the Roma Mediacenter, where she still works as a journalist and editor today. In 2001, Szilvia also started working for Radio C, Budapest’s Roma radio station broadcasting to about 60,000 people. Both at Radio C and the Roma Mediacenter, Szilvia mainly deals with the situation of women, children, and social politics, as well as education, public health, employment, and economics. She combines these themes to show how the situation of women is inseparable from questions of family, work, and health. An example of the effect of her work: one of her reports about the unfair treatment of Roma patients in the hospital of Eger gave rise to an examination of the hospital’s practices, as well as that of other hospitals. As a mother of two, Szilvia is also very engaged in the field of child protection. She has criticized the Hungarian educational system, showing how Roma children are not given equal treatment with non-Roma children in school admissions and that many who do not have learning disabilities often get placed in special schools. Szilvia also criticizes the legal framework, which provides only marginal protection against discrimination, and she has taken a stand for changes in this field. Her radio program is interactive most of the time, but sometimes interviews are recorded before the show. Szilvia’s goal is to deal with problems and real life situations affecting women in a way that leads to solutions.

Radio C, Roma radio station, Budapest Roma Mediacenter, Budapest