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October 20, 2018
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Czech Republic: Romani student meeting visited by fashion designer Pavel Berky

3.6.2017 8:47
Romani students meet with fashion designer Pavel Berky (2017). (PHOTO:  Petr Zewlakk Vrabec)
Romani students meet with fashion designer Pavel Berky (2017). (PHOTO: Petr Zewlakk Vrabec)

The third "Baruvas" gathering of Romani high school and university students is underway in Prague this weekend. Self-knowledge and self-realization are its focus.

As part of this event the students will visit the KHAMORO World Roma Festival and attend workshops at the headquarters of ROMEA. During the first evening of the weekend on Thursday, the students took a boat ride on the Vltava featuring a program through which they could meet each other and get to know each other better.

"During the evening the students got the opportunity to meet significant Romani figures such as fashion designer Pavel Berky and the talented pianist Robert Ferenc," Jitka Votavová, coordinator of the scholarship program, told news server Berky showed the students his creations to date and discussed the direction in which he plans to head in his career.

You can donate to support Romani students at high schools, colleges and universities at

"I think this is a brilliant project to support the students. I was part of this in the past and a lot has progressed since then. There are more students involved, which is super," Berky told news server

"This supports a good cause and motivates the Romani students in the high schools, they can try it out and get support from the other side," Berky said. "They don't have to be afraid."

The gathering was attended by almost 20 students from all over the Czech Republic. "I think it's fine when we meet in small groups and get a task to do together, that gives us a lot because we are learning to collaborate," said student Jan Kanaloš.

On Friday morning the students met with representatives of the program's sponsors and other supporters. "Educated children are the only way we can improve the future of our community. It is now being demonstrated that Romani people who get an opportunity and graduate from school know how to be successful in their professional lives. Support for the education of minorities must not stop coming from the Government level, it is one of the few kinds of aid that brings about results," said Czech Deputy Human Rights Minister David Beňák, himself a member of the Romani community, who also attended the gathering.

The concept for the "Baruvas" ("We Are Growing" in Romanes) meetings of Romani students came about as part of the Roma Scholarship Program being run by the ROMEA organization. Participants are students between the ages of 16 and 26 who are studying at academic high schools, technical colleges and universities, where they are majoring in economics, law, pedagogy, and public administration.


Tereza Herbstová, Natálie Horváthová, Roman Lakatoš, Melinda Surmajová, translated by Gwendolyn Albert
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