"Welcome to "Organization DROM"
Martin Luther King, Jr., 1963
The global world is now in a period of financial crisis, but also in a crisis of values. I believe that the investments that are put into the education of Roma children in Central and Eastern Europe for the development of their potential and talent are worth it because they are children of Europe.
In 2000, we started the pilot project in Central and Eastern Europe for Roma Desegregation of Education in a situation of many deep-routed prejudices in the Bulgarian town of Vidin. After ten years, I can confidently say that we witness a change in the attitude at all levels of the society. Statements, like “education is not a value for the Roma Community”, proved not to be valid. Assumptions, like Roma children will on a mass scale drop-out of the mainstream school, that they will be incapable of understanding the school material in the new school, and that the non-Roma children will leave the schools which accommodate Roma children, have become simply myths.
Today, over 4,000 Roma children are educated in integrated school environments due to the desegregation programs in eleven towns in Bulgaria. About 400 Roma children alone are involved in the Vidin Desegregation Program in school year 2009/2010. What became known as the Vidin desegregation model, spread out in other countries from the region, like Czech Republic, Hungary, Macedonia, Romania, Serbia, and Slovakia.
I believe that the most important fact is that we created a strong self-confidence for the Roma children taking part in the desegregation programs across Central and Eastern Europe. Now they can also dream of becoming teachers, lawyers, doctors and engineers. In this way, we not only create opportunities in life for these Roma children but we also create a public good for the society for respectful and tolerant attitude towards ethnic minorities - one of the core values of the new Europe.
I would like to thank George Soros for putting the desegregation idea very high on his agenda and that is how the Open Society Institute in Budapest became the forerunner in embracing the desegregation idea. Thanks also goes to many other donor organizations and supporters for the trust and encouragement.
NGO Organization Drom