A friendship which has begun long ago

The Community of Sant’Egidio began its activities for Roma people in Italy, predominantly in Rome, in 1982. The first ones who have been met were a large group of Khorakene (Muslims) Roma coming from some Republics of Yugoslavia. They had camped in various spots in the east suburbs of the city. The initial interventions, made by unpaid voluntary workers, were in favour of the children, who besides are the majority of the Roma population: basic literacy afternoon courses and support to school integration. That was possible thanks to the Schools of Peace of the Community too. In the same time a mediation between the local gadjos (non-Roma people) and the Roma people was set up: indeed, that area was somewhat degraded and the presence of the Roma camps created tensions. In the following years the continuing commitment of Sant’Egidio in favour of the Roma people has been carried out in other forms too: support of adults’ education, integration in the world of work, and social inclusion.

Right to education: right to future

This is a Programme implemented by the Community of Sant’Egidio for the Roma children’s educational attainment. The Programme has enabled the school integration of numerous children through the support of their families. It is quite clear that complaining about the fact that the Roma children are not enrolled in a school, do not attend the classes, fail, abandon school, go around to beg, is at all pointless if there are not the conditions for their actual and positive school integration. That is why a number of scholarships have been granted to Roma families who fully committed themselves to making their children attend school.
Educators and cultural mediators work within the Programme and verify that the beneficiaries comply with the rules whose observance is the condition of the scholarship:
-    No more than three justified absences a month;
-    Fulfilling all scholastic duties thoroughly and attending all extracurricular activities, even during summer time;
-    One meeting with the teachers a month at least;
-    Bringing up children to respect the others and their rights, in every circumstance, and to peaceful coexistence.
The Programme is now implemented in several Italian cities and has achieved good results with a high rate of school attendance and educational success.