5 Friends mean Minus 1 Slave – Support Roma Education


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On 5th June 2014, Pope Francis warned Europeans, ’Without integration, Gypsies become victims of new forms of slavery.’

From the Vatican, the Holy Father sees clearly the shameful picture: old and young, whether in Northern Hungary or Eastern Slovakia, rake the gutters of their remote villages the whole year round for just 200 Euros a month, doing so-called ’Community Work’, a government scheme administered by village authorities. In exchange for this paltry amount, they are excluded from normal education or jobs. They may well live their whole lives in the same degraded position, mentally reined in for the sake of a sum that does not afford them a living wage. Community work turns people into subjects who are dependent. Quality does not matter: the future belongs only to those who submit.  A new caste system is being constructed on the Eastern fringes of the European Union.

The knowledge that enables you to compete in a free labour market for fair wages is a privilege you must be born to if you are to get it in Eastern Europe. Someone who was born the child of uneducated, especially Gypsy parents, will probably live in segregated neighbourhoods and will be guided into separate institutional structures. American and African visitors are taken aback to see the racial segregation of their own past. Indian guests are reminded of what the caste system was like 100 years ago.

5-10 % of the population of Hungary, Slovakia, Czech Republic, Roumania, and Bulgaria is Roma. These people can be distinguished by their skin colour. However, you will very rarely meet darker skinned Roma students at the universities of Budapest, Bucharest or Bratislava. The students of colour in higher education anywhere from Prague to Sofia are almost all foreigners.

In Eastern Europe, ethnic and social selection of children happens early, at the age of six. In Hungary, for example, most of the children belonging to higher ’castes’ gain admission to white Catholic or Protestant church or private schools, and their parents pay for extra coaching for them. After 12 years, they are assured of passing high school leaving exams, or A levels, and many will go on to university.

Those who do not gain admittance to such privileged or less elite but still white establishments will attend segregated schools to which only Gypsies go and they can forget about ever learning multiplication tables and will never be able to understand an article from a newspaper. And there will be no way out. A good proportion of segregated children will stay at elementary school until the end of their compulsory school attendance at 16. They will never get any secondary education.

At the age of 14, when successful students can go on to secondary education, if a Roma child should still try to enter high school, he or she will meet closed doors. For example, talented but disadvantaged students are effectively guided away from secondary schools by Hungarian educational policy using financial incentives. The State promises 100 Euros a month scholarship to any youngster who chooses the dead end of vocational school, where he or she will not learn any foreign language and only a very little mathematics, science, or art. This option decides the question of further education for families living in deep poverty: nobody goes to grammar or high school because no such scholarship is offered for normal secondary education. This merely budgetary means in effect cleanses secondary education of Gypsies. The population expresses its gratitude for ethnically pure secondary schools and abundant scholarships for vocational students by voting for casteist political parties at elections.

When disadvantaged students reach the age of 16, the policy flushes them from formal education by putting them into the unemployment system. The Labour Office offers youngsters the same amount that their parents get for their Community Service and imposes on them only one condition: ’Leave your school’. No youngster in poverty can resist the offer of 200 Euros. In recent years, Hungary has stripped 15 % of 17-year-olds from the secondary school system. To put the accusation bluntly: the State Budget spends more and more money effectively to stop the secondary school studies of poor kids – which mainly means Gypsies.

This is not the worst that happens. A proportion of early school leavers fall in with criminal gangs, human trafficking to the West for begging and prostitution.

If somebody revolts against this mental reining in and still chooses grammar/high school studies, he or she can expect but 40 Euros per month „study support” from the Hungarian Government. And for this, if he or she has a darker skin, they must face constant racial prejudice at school. And so we move farther and farther from our famous European ideals.

With the spread of Christianity in the Roman Empire, well-intentioned people liberated slaves more and more often. That was called ’Manumissio inter amicos” – sending forth by hand before friends (as witnesses). Christianity at that time followed the path indicated in the Gospels.

We cannot accept that today the social role of religion is to run segregated elite white schools. We need friends again who will liberate our fellow citizens from the slavery of community work and worse.

Please take your part in our movement. We want to offer students the 200 Euros a month they’d get as unemployed if they left school. Give 40 Euros a month to a student. Four friends each giving in this way together make up the missing 160 euros for a student studying for A level. Altogether these are five friends. Minus a slave. Plus an educated European citizen who can contribute economically and socially.

Let’s be friends!

Contact us if you would love to support us!

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