On the 3rd of February 2021, Terre des hommes together with its partners, Fundación Secretariado Gitano (Spain) and AFEJI (France) organized an advocacy conference at European level, to discuss the necessary measures that could facilitate inclusion and improve schooling of Roma children in the European Union.
The organizations presented the results of their project MISTO AVILEAN (“Welcome!” in Romani) implemented in the past two years in Romania, France and Spain, with the purpose of improving school inclusion of Roma mobile children at European level. High-level representatives of European institutions (European Parliament, European Commission), networks of European organizations as well as representatives of relevant national institutions and organizations (Ministry of Education, County School Inspectorates) had interventions and discussed the need for a transnational cooperation mechanism.
Jeroen Jutte - Head of Unit of the European Commission's Directorate-General for Employment, Social Policy and Inclusion, said, among other things: “If we want to break the negative cycle of poverty that prevails in the Roma community, we must turn our attention to education. This is the only change that, together with all other dimensions (such as housing, better access to healthcare) can make a difference. (...)It is a very important moment, because we are currently negotiating with Romania the allocation of European funds for the coming years that will bring this fundamental change ”.
Helena Dalli – European Commissioner for Equality, had a video intervention within the EU Advocacy event. It is available on the link below.
The conference underlined the institutional obstacles and social aspects that hamper the access of Roma children in education systems, in Romania, but also following their migration. Cooperation between key decision-makers was strongly encouraged in order to find solutions.
The main speakers in the event were:
- Sorin Ion – Secretary of State, Ministry of Education and Research Romania
- Isabela Mihalache – Policy Officer European Roma Grassroots Organizations Network (ERGO)
- Mr. Jeroen Jutte - Head of Unit of the European Commission's Directorate-General for Employment, Social Policy and Inclusion
- Victor Negrescu – Vice-Chair Committee on Culture and Education of European Parliament
- Maria Manea – School Inspectorate of Bucharest, Romania
- Helena Dalli – European Commissioner for Equality (video recording)
- Iris Abraham - Communications & Fundamental Rights Adviser Cabinet of European Commission Vice President Dubravka Šuica – Democracy & Demography
Pierre Cazenave - Regional Program Manager, Children and Youth in Migration, Terre des hommes - highlighted some of the conclusions of the event:
"As our research demonstrates, Roma children who move across borders will only be able to access education effectively if their multiple vulnerabilities are addressed in a holistic manner, which require the adoption of multi sectoral approaches to policies and practice. This necessary includes the removal of barriers to administrative registration, improving housing policies and fostering intercultural and diversity management within classrooms. ”
Terre des hommes and its partners are grateful to the speakers and guests.
The event was part of the international project "MISTO AVILEAN" funded by the European Union Program for Rights, Equality and Citizenship (2014-2020).