Free schooling for Roma kids

An initiative by municipal authorities in Veria, northern Greece, to offer children of local Roma families free schooling has attracted the interest of several teachers who have offered their services without remuneration. Several teachers – some with day jobs, others unemployed – have volunteered to work shifts at a prefabricated building that has been set up at Ergohori, on the outskirts of the northern city and close to a makeshift Roma settlement. A total of 60 children, aged 5 to 15, are to attend the lessons and will subsequently have the chance to join a state school in the area. Volunteer teachers said they were excited about offering disadvantaged children a shot at a better future. «It is hard to believe that these children cannot write their own name,» said Aristi Koukourikou, a teacher who has participated in educational programs for Roma organized by Thessaloniki’s Aristotle University in recent years.