In spring 2021, a series of activities focusing on the inspirational story of the Zoltak family, a Roma family from Raslavice, were carried out by Raslavice Elementary School in the Slovak Republic within the framework of the joint EU/CoE project Inclusive Schools: Making a Difference for Roma Children (INSCHOOL).
The activities consisted of lectures led by Deputy School Director Ms. Monika Balazova and lecturer Stefan Zoltak. Delivered in 6 different classes of Raslavice School, they involved 6 teachers and a total of 114 pupils. The main objective was to celebrate diversity in Raslavice, a famously folkloristic municipality, by establishing a connection between Roma and non-Roma culture. The example of the famous musician family Zoltak from Raslavíce was employed to showcase that there are many very valuable people belonging to the Roma community in the region who are really talented and hardworking professionals.
Along with various other topics discussed over the course of the lessons, the participants learned about traditional Roma cuisine, Roma history and culture, and the value of interculturality and community solidarity. The event was received with a great interest and engagement, with increased understanding and significant improvements in the relationship between Roma and non-Roma pupils and between teachers and students. The positive reception of this initiative paves the way for the potential implementation of a dedicated programme based on these types of activities which could be expanded to other schools in the region, thus promoting Roma culture, customs and traditions within other school environments.
Over the 2020/2021 school year, under the framework of JP INSCHOOL, Raslavice Elementary School focused on supporting the creation of an inclusive culture and developing inclusive practices in the school in order to enhance the social inclusion of pupils from Roma communities. These commitments resulted in a series of activities including creative workshops, educational excursions, and the creation of a Garden of Nationalities showcasing all the different backgrounds of the students as a symbolic shared space where Roma and non-Roma families can come together and share their experiences.