International Roma Day: Education for Full Emancipation!

Forty-six years ago the Roma education struggle began in earnest with the motions of the first World Romani Congress. Education was a top priority for our leaders in 1971, and it remains a top priority for our community in 2017. We know indisputably that education is the sole tool to effectively improve opportunities for social inclusion, give traction to integration measures and improve the trajectory of the lives of Roma families and children. Since then, though the Roma emancipation struggle has been challenged by frequent economic and political turmoil, the legacy of International Roma Day symbolizes our collective ideal for ensuring better living standards for upcoming generations of Roma.

As we come together today to celebrate our common culture, history, identity and language on International Roma Day, we give pause to acknowledge all the Roma who have dedicated their time to make sure our children finish school and graduate. Whether grandparents, aunts or uncles, siblings or cousins, whether going on the school run, reading bedtime stories, tutoring after school or encouraging a frustrated student to keep at it, we want to thank you for your commitment and dedication to spreading the education message within your families and communities.

While REF has advanced the education prospects of nearly one million girls and boys as well as their parents, our mission to improve educational outcomes for Roma would be that much harder without the common conviction and values that we share. We know that education is a vital ingredient for our emancipation and freedom, and with irrefutable evidence of more and more Roma children finishing school, achieving their qualifications and going on to academic and professional careers, this is an occasion to truly celebrate.  

REF wishes all Roma children and families to have a wonderful Roma Day, including our wishes for successful graduation and the continuation of their learning journey. 

Andrzej Mirga (Chair) and Nadir Redzepi (Executive Director)