Roma children set example for younger ones

Alongside the 10-year project to improve the education of Muslim children in Thrace, Roma Women’s Associations are running another project to get Roma children into schools. Around four years since its inception, the program has seen more than 2,000 children go to school, most of them to nursery and primary schools, while some are already in secondary school. Nongovernmental organizations support the women’s groups with around 50 experts – psychologists, teachers and social workers, and Roma women act as intermediaries and translators. The women’s groups help children at creches and nursery schools, and organize extra lessons in Greek for primary school and junior high school pupils. In Thrace there are now five nursery schools where pupils also receive school meals, a method that had proved successful at state nursery schools in remote parts of the province. A new nursery school has been built in Komotini for Roma children. Though there are still problems, more Roma children are attending school. At Droserou, Xanthi, out of 1,500 Roma children aged up to 18, more than 850 are attending school. «Our children are the future,» Sabiha Suleyman, president of Elpida, the Droserou Women’s Association, told Kathimerini. «We were illiterate, on the fringe; but now, instead of roaming the streets, they go to school.» She believes the effort is paying off, as the older children set an example for the younger ones.

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