Meet Selvije Mustafi from AVAJA

by Emil Metodiev

Selvije Mustafi is a 26-year-old Roma activist and community organizer in North Macedonia, a member of the Roma movement AVAJA and chair of the grassroots initiative Romano Avazi.

“I am a proud Roma woman, because of our ancestors who fought for us and who left behind an easier position for us today. I am proud of our Romani language because it’s our heritage and something we have had for more than a thousand years. I am proud of my community, the team of activists who work hard for our community, and I am proud of every small victory we achieve.”

Selva is part of the national team of AVAJA and is leading 20 local teams and mentoring team leaders. She is mainly responsible for community organizing, training the teams and developing their leadership skills. She also coaches them on how to overcome challenges related to empowering or mobilizing Roma communities.

“What drives my work is the community itself. I started working for my community at a very young age, and getting to know my community more and more motivated me and inspired me to do this work. Another drive is the injustices that happened in the past and that are still happening to our community today. That’s a strong motivation that pushes me to continue fighting and continue working for our cause.

I think it’s time for our community to grow and no longer be treated as a social issue, but as a political and economic entity.”

Join the movement!


founded: 2019

mission: The civic movement AVAJA is composed of three organizations: Romalitico, Romaversitas and Romano Avazi. AVAJA was founded in 2019 with the aim of influencing public policies, building the capacity of the Roma community and mobilizing the community for collective action.




how to get involved:

The Proud Roma Movements is a collaboration between the European Roma Institute for Arts and Culture – ERIAC and its member Emil Metodiev, sponsored by the International Press Institute (IPI) as part of the NewsSpectrum fellowship.