Nurse Edina Sztojka Named 2019’s Everyday Roma Hero
Ábrahám Vass 2019.04.09.
Edina Sztojka has been named this year’s winner of the fifth annual Aranypánt (Golden Strap) award. The ceremony is held each year in honor of International Romani Day.
Edina Sztojka currently works as a nurse in Gyula (South-east Hungary) and spends her days tirelessly caring for patients with end-stage cancer. According to ATV reporter Emília Krúg, “Edina is a hot-eyed, warm-hearted Roma woman (…) her life was not easy; she was taught to live by those who died. In need for money for further studies, she went out into the fields to collect and sell melons. She gave birth at the age of sixteen and often took her son to school with her. When she finally got her degree, she could not believe she had succeeded. A patient once told Sztojka, ‘Nurse, you care with your soul.’”
The Aranypánt award, founded in 2015 by the Roma Press Center, is one of Hungary’s most significant civil prizes. Each year, Hungarian citizens nominate dozens of Roma people who gained recognition in their field and refused to be bound by the “Roma affair” or politics. The jury of Roma NGOs then selects ten candidates to be voted on online. This year a total of 30,000 people cast their votes.
Former winners of the award include famous cancer researcher József Horváth; head nurse of the psychiatric unit, Tímea Jónás; Norbert Lakatos, whose painting of his daughter’s hospital room in gratitude for her recovery soon evolved into a movement and Zoltán Beri, a fishing pond owner who often helps poor Roma families.