International Roma Day 2019 International Roma Day 2019
On 8 April the world celebrates the International Roma Day. Find out how we spend the Day at INSCHOOL!
Strasbourg 8 April 2019
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Pupils at Cilibia Secondary school design their own Roma flags - © Katarzyna Michno

Pupils at Cilibia Secondary school design their own Roma flags - © Katarzyna Michno

Every year on 8 April, people all around the world celebrate the International Roma Day. This day, declared during the First World Romani Congress in April 1971, in Orpington (United Kingdom), which also endorsed the Romani flag and adopted the Romani anthem, acclaims the richness of the Romani culture and raises awareness for issues faced by many Roma. It is officially celebrated since 1990.

INSCHOOL believes that for both children and parents, the International Roma Day is an important chance to overcome prejudice and build bridges across cultural differences. INSCHOOL’s project schools therefore organise a variety of events to celebrate, learn, understand and discover the Romani culture in the five project countries.

In Babington Academy in Leicester (United Kingdom) for example, Roma pupils provided recipes to the school kitchen on which basis the children’s lunches are served today. Furthermore Babington Academy does not use school bells to indicate the change of lesson - today and during the whole week it is the Roma pupils who choose the music for their schooldays.

In the Secondary School Cilibia (Romania) pupils learn about the symbolism behind the Romani flag and later even manufacture a personal Romani flag themselves. In the meantime, other pupils learn about Roma history and the traditions of the local Roma community, knowledge that they will later have to prove in a school competition.

In Deak Diak Primary School in Budapest (Hungary) parents and teachers worked hard to prepare a meaningful workshop programme for the school’s 7th graders: Pupils discover loanwords from Lovári Romani in Hungarian, prepare traditional Roma dishes, learn the most important Roma songs together with one pupil’s father who is a well-known musician and understand traditional clothing and folk costumes.

These are only a few examples of the attitudes and thoughts put in motion on this important day. INSCHOOL is convinced that inclusiveness and diversity in schools are key for creating equal societies. In its project schools in the Czech Republic, Hungary, Romania, Slovakia and the United Kingdom, INSCHOOL works together with committed teachers and trainers to convey values of tolerance, equality and respect to the next generation. INSCHOOL believes that equal chances for Roma children is an important step for empowering Roma youth all around Europe and, in line with INSCHOOL’s motto for “making a difference”.

INSCHOOL wishes all pupils, teachers and parents a Happy International Roma Day.

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Creating a School Student Council in Cilibia Secondary School, Romania

Small steps which pave long roads
Cilibia 13 November 2018
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Creating a School Student Council in Cilibia Secondary School, Romania

The Cilibia Secondary School recently created a School Student Council, a forum where students are welcomed to express themselves and discuss relevant issues to the school. It is composed of 8 students, including Roma pupils, and comprises four different commissions: Discipline and Education, Culture, Legal and Sports. The second council, held on 8 November, focused on the theme “Children’s rights. I am human, therefore I have rights!

This initiative will contribute to bringing more democracy to the school – an objective defined by the school with the support of the INSCHOOL facilitator. When preparing their Inclusive School Development plan, the school recognized that its environment could be improved by listening to the voices of all its community – including its students.  This small yet meaningful step paves the way to more substantial changes.

This result reflects the positive impact that INSCHOOL can generate. INSCHOOL proposes an approach that focuses on tailored solutions to specific concerns identified by schools. Through their continued assistance, INSCHOOL facilitators support schools and focus on understanding the context, identifying key areas of concern and building the capacity of school staff and students. This intervention at the local level is crucial in facilitating change. Good practices and problematic issues identified are then shared with the national authorities to benefit the education system and generate country-wide policy change.

The European Union/Council of Europe Joint Project “Inclusive Schools: making a difference for Roma children” (INSCHOOL) aims at making a positive change and promoting equal access to quality inclusive education for all children, including Roma children. It is implemented in Bulgaria, the Czech Republic, Hungary, Slovak Republic, Romania and the United Kingdom.