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Roma children spread the word on their culture

Date: 25th June 2009

A group of seven to 14-year-old Roma children have taken to the streets of London to give out a picture book designed to educate other youngsters about their culture, and break down the prejudices they face.

June is Gypsy, Roma and Traveller month, and the group will be giving away 1,500 copies of their book, which uses a distinctive style of photography – known as “pinhole” photography – to illustrate their stories.

The project, organised by the Children’s Society and the Akademia Pstryk arts group, aims to give young Roma the skills and confidence to teach others about their culture.

According to government figures, only seven per cent of children classed as Gypsy or Roma achieved five or more A* to C grades, including English and mathematics, in 2007. This compares to a national figure of 45.4 per cent.

Research by the Children’s Society found that 86 per cent of Gypsy and Roma children had experienced racial abuse. The average school leaving age among the group surveyed was 11.

Jacob Garber, from The Children’s Society, told SecEd: “We hope this project will both build the confidence of the Roma children involved, and help to educate the general public about who the Roma people really are. Far too many young Roma are not accessing mainstream education in the UK.”

The youngsters have already given away books in Stratford and Canning Town, east London, and on the South Bank. Today (Thursday, June 25) they are at East Ham library between 5pm and 6:30pm, and on Sunday they will be on High Street North in East Ham from 1pm to 4pm.

Visit www.childrenssociety.org.uk/roma-awareness-raising

Picture: Spreading the word: Roma children (from left) Paulina, Sindy, Sara and Miriam


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