Janie Codona MBE is a British Romani traveler heading the England-based NGO “One Voice for Travellers” Limited.
Focusing on the south east of the country, the organization’s mission is “to reduce violence and promote equality of opportunities and good relationships between Gypsy and Travellers and the settled community.”
The Roma have been in the British newspaper headlines since October 2011 when local authorities ordered the site clearance of a Romani settlement in Dale Farm, Essex. Peaceful protestors came to the aid of the Roma who were living in what was Britain’s biggest illegal traveler site. After one day of resistance on October 19 and 34 arrests to protesters for preventing the demolition of the site, the residents of Dale Farm left their homes peacefully on October 20 to face an uncertain future. Despite the major upheaval for its residents, the Dale Farm case did finally put the British Romani communities in the national and international spotlight through which more support could be gained.
In January 2012, Janie was named in the New Years Honours list in the UK, and awarded with the Order of the British Empire, Member - better known as an MBE - for services to the Gypsy and Traveller community.
Her citation said: “She is a role model for the community and well respected by government, local government officials and service providers alike. She uses her past experiences constructively to raise awareness of the problems facing the community and seeks to build bridges.”