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May 21, 2022



70+ Romani students attending Czech colleges applied to the ROMEA organization's scholarship program this year

18.7.2021 9:07
Romani student recipients of the ROMEA organization's scholarships at a recent BARUVAS meeting. (PHOTO:   Petr Zewlakk Vrabec)
Romani student recipients of the ROMEA organization's scholarships at a recent BARUVAS meeting. (PHOTO: Petr Zewlakk Vrabec)

This year more than 70 Romani college students have applied to the ROMEA organization's scholarship program, 20 more than did so last year, and along with the applications from high school and higher technical school students to the program, the total number of applicants has exceeded 180. ROMEA can provide scholarships to just 50 high school students, 10 higher technical school students and 30 college or university students. 

Others who have applied will still also be able to take advantage of other support offered by the program, such as mentoring or tutoring, and during the course of the year they will also be able to meet with other Romani students from all over the Czech Republic. "Because of the problems caused by the novel coronavirus pandemic, we never anticipated so many applications and we are quite glad that more than 70 Romani college students applied," says Štefan Balog, manager of the ROMEA organization's scholarship program. 

"We want to show society that these students are talented young people - and this is just a small fraction of all the Romani people studying here," Balog says. "We want to support more than 90 students annually, but unfortunately the financial means available to us do not make that possible."

"If our fundraising campaign manages to take in more money, we will be able to support more students at least with extracurricular language courses, tutoring, or covering their school materials," Balog adds. The degree to which such support becames possible for students also depends on the outcome of the ongoing Haters Will Not Stop Us! campaign. 

The application deadline for the 2021/2022 academic year closed two weeks ago and the Romani student applicants will learn whether or not they have been awarded a scholarship at the close of the summer holidays. High school students who fulfill the selection procedure conditions and are awarded a scholarship will receive CZK 14 000 [EUR 550] for the academic year, while higher technical school students receive CZK 21 000 [EUR 825] and college or university students receive CZK 25 000 [EUR 980]. 

Despite last year's unfavorable situation, there was still great demand for the scholarship program this year. "The growing interest among Romani people in studying at a secondary school or university greatly pleases us," Balog says.

"We believe an education arms you with instruments for effectively confronting discrimination and social exclusion, for example," Balog says of the program's vision. The Romani Scholarship Program is implemented by the ROMEA organization with support from the Albatros foundation, Bader Philanthropies and other donors. 

Enormous thanks go to the individual donors who have joined this campaign to aid these students on their way to a better education. If you would like to support Romani students in the Czech Republic through this program, you can do so here.

ROMEA, translated by Gwendolyn Albert
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