At an estimated 10 million people, Roma are the largest, yet most discriminated-against minority in Europe. In Bulgaria, 70 percent of young Roma, (approximately 30,000 children), attend sub-standard schools in segregated Romani neighborhoods. Inadequate material conditions and the poor quality of education provided by unmotivated teachers contribute to low attendance rates of Roma pupils. Altogether, they alienate Romani children from schools and perpetuate the cycle of illiteracy, unemployment, and poverty.
In the year 2000, Romani activists from the Bulgarian town of Vidin spearheaded the first initiative for educational desegregation in Europe. Instead of attending ghetto schools in the Roma neighborhood, 100 Romani children enrolled in the town’s mainstream schools. Six years later, more than 3,000 Romani children are bused daily to integrated schools in eight Bulgarian towns. Students in the desegregation programs now go to school regularly, get higher grades, and have better prospects for continuing on to higher education.
Contact the Minister of Education and Science of the Republic of Bulgaria, urging him to fully endorse and implement nation-wide policies in support of educational integration of Romani children.
Contact the Chair of the Education and Science Committee of the National Assembly of the Republic of Bulgaria, urging him to support the passage of the Desegregation Bill.