lunes, 15 de marzo de 2021

Mi biografía

 Séfora Vargas Martín (Seville, Spain, March 17, 1980) is a Roma ethnic woman who has stood out for the fight in favor of the rights of the Roma people, especially women. She is a cultural mediator, founder and president of the organization APROIDEG, she is also one of the first Spanish lawyers belonging to this ethnic group.

She was born in the capital of Seville into a working family dedicated to street vending. She is the eldest of the four children of the marriage formed by José Manuel Vargas Vargas and Rosario Martín Cortés, people of great Roma roots. The family branch of her mother was dedicated to livestock for a long time. His great-grandfather José Cortés Saavedra, a native of Fregenal de la Sierra (Badajoz), enjoyed a very distinguished social position and his grandmother Remedios Cortés Bermúdez received private classes at his home, while his father's is more linked to the artistic world: the Vargas Fernández, with Esperanza Fernández, Juan Peña el Lebrijano and Gaspar de Utrera, among others. Her paternal grandfather Diego Vargas Torres was one of the first military Roma and her other grandmother, Concha Vargas, a writer from Lebrija (Seville). Her great-grandfather became Chief of Police when there was still no difference between the different State Security Forces and Corps. Her mother, Rosario, always dreamed of studying but had to take care of her five siblings when she was only nine years old and it was Séfora of all her children, who knew how to take advantage of this opportunity.

She grew up in the context of Romani culture and before she was four years old she learned to read and write. When she was of legal age she entered the public school in her neighborhood where she attended primary school. Her schooling allowed him in those years the knowledge and total integration of her with other payo children of the city, among whom she was one more. As a teenager, her academic results made her worthy of a scholarship to England, however, she had to renounce it because it was not allowed in the customs of her ethnic group for a woman to travel alone, especially to live a season in another country. For this reason her parents did not give her the necessary permission and Sefora had to give in and give up her desire to continue her studies in the English language.

After finishing her Baccalaureate, she began a law degree at the University of Seville. However, when she was about to finish it, just in the absence of taking a few subjects, she had to drop out as a result of a series of family problems. She returned to street markets again and it was precisely in one of these, after a providential meeting with an old professor and a change in her personal circumstances, that she decided to resume her studies to obtain the desired Law Degree. However, during the years that she was away from the classrooms, the curricula of the university courses had changed and the subjects that she had taken did not correspond to the new ones. This was a great obstacle, since there were very few subjects that she could validate and she had to do the degree again, practically, from the beginning.

During her university stage, Séfora Vargas tirelessly continued her struggle in favor of the rights of the gypsy people, promoting groups, committees, associations and various types of activities that would ensure equity and the interests of this group. As a result, many people exercised their fundamental rights, especially groups of Roma women who, following the path that Sephora had started, were encouraged to continue post-compulsory studies as a means to achieve full social insertion.

At the same time, she was completing her training by taking numerous specialization courses in Human Rights and the International Convention on the Elimination of all Forms of Racial Discrimination, the Legal Order of the European Union and Policies for the Inclusion of Ethnic Minorities, among others. 

As a lawyer, Séfora Vargas has stood out for her fight for the integration of the Roma collective in society and, especially, for the vindication of the rights of Roma women without prejudice to respect for the culture and traditions of this people:

    “I am the result of many Roma women whose voices could not be heard for centuries because, like other women, inequality and ostracism relegated to the domestic sphere, it was morally acceptable. My dreams are the reconstructed broken dreams of my ancestors and my achievements, which I still have so many to achieve, will always be a humble tribute to all those Roma and non-Roma women who never owned their lives and were forced to abide by the roles. and social values ​​imposed and supported by the law, politics, society and culture of each historical stage ”.

For several years she has been the coordinator of the Professional Training courses of Unión Romaní Andalucía, as well as the person in charge of the employment area of ​​this organization, which she has also represented in the Mixed Commission of the Audiovisual Council of Andalusia. She is recognized at the national level for having altruistically defended the legitimate rights of street vendors in two macro-cases in which she accompanied and legally defended 400 and 600 street vendors in Huelva and Seville respectively, against the Administration.

Séfora Vargas has led along with other people and as did other Roma women, such as Delia Grigore, Dijana Pavlovic or Sara Giménez, some of the forerunners and most influential associations at the European level. She was one of the co-founders and also vice president of AMURADI, an association of university gypsy women created in Andalusia, which is also the oldest in Europe, with the aim of improving the development of skills for children and young people in a situation of social exclusion, as well as their fathers and mothers. She has been a Member of the Municipal Council of Women of the Seville City Council during the period 2013-2017, Cooperator of the European Project HEIM (Higher Education Internationalization and Mobility. Inclusion, Equalities and Innovations) 2015-2017, Treasurer of the Federation of Women's Associations Rome (FAKALI). She has also collaborated with the Fundación Secretariado Roma, the Institute for Women and the Ministry of Equality, Social Policies and Conciliation of the Junta de Andalucía, among other entities.

In 2012 she founded APROIDEG, a non-profit association for the integral progress and development of the Roma people, also dedicated to defending the fundamental rights of people who work in street commerce. In recognition of her work for the benefit of Roma culture around the world, she has received numerous awards and distinctions.

Her conciliatory spirit, together with her charismatic personality and her formation, has made her frequently required by various media to intervene in documentaries and educational or cultural programs. Likewise, she gives lectures at universities such as the Menéndez Pelayo International University, with which she has collaborated since 2013 and plays the role of cultural mediator in various schools and other teaching centers.

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