A better future for girls from Roma community

Every child deserves the right to a quality education

Roma girl going to school
22 October 2018

"My father says: Even if it’s raining or snowing you must go to school. I want to go to school but sometimes I don’t come to classes because I go with my mom to Nisporeni or Chisinau. But I still attend school." Renata, 13 years old.

Although she likes to sleep and she hardly would give up on her blanket in the morning, Renata gears up to wake up. Her backpack is ready for school. She is only 13 and her age is appropriate for getting married according to the locals from Vulcanesti village, Nisporeni district. Renata has a different opinion. She is in the 8th grade at the Secondary school from the village while for the girls from Roma community it’s a big achievement to go to school after the 4th grade.

"I want very much for them, the little ones, to study and to go to school. I wanted to become a psychologist but my mother didn’t let me, she said: you are a big girl and I can’t let you go alone far from home. But I ask my mom to let the younger ones study." Randunica, 24 years old

Renata’s family wants another future for the younger. The first two children of the family, Grigore and Randunica have graduated school, but they didn’t succeed continuing their studies. Grigore often leaves abroad, but he doesn’t find work all the time. Randunica got married when she was 17 but has already divorced twice and she always determines her younger sister not to make her mistakes.

"I go to school to learn, to have a profession. I like to play the accordion, I have got some skills, already. I will see what I'm going to do after the exams ... " Petru Caracuian, 9th grade

Together with Renata, her brother Petru, who is in the 9th grade, attends school. The boy says he doesn’t want to be like Grigore and wants to learn a profession.

In Roma families, girls have lots of obligations. They do the cleaning, cooking and washing. Even if she has a lot of work to do, Renata doesn’t forget to prepare for the school and when she has a little time she dedicates it to drawing, one of her passions and aspirations for the future.

The mother is responsible for girls’ education in the family. Renata’s mother knows only to sign and read a little that is why she insists her younger daughter to go to school and to create her future. Because Renata is already a big girl and her fear of going to a school from another village is present, because the tradition of stealing a girl whose age is appropriate to get married still exists in Roma communities, Renata is decided to follow all Roma traditions and to attend school and to study.

In Vulcanesti village, Nisporeni district, out of 85 Roma children, 70 of them attend currently the school and have good academic results, due to a local initiative implemented by UNICEF Moldova and Youth Resources Center DACIA. The partnership started a year ago and followed to change the situation from Vulcanesti, a village from Nisporeni district, populated by Roma people. The last year only 7 children were attending school.

The results of the initiative are in line with the priorities of UNICEF Moldova of improving the access to quality education for all children and with governmental objectives settled in the National Program for Development of Inclusive Education for the years 2011-2020 and Action Plan to Support Roma Population in Moldova for the years 2016-2020.