Seminar in Hungary

A seminar with the participation of worldwide voluntary organizations which deal with the educational project “Roma-Gadie-Dialogue” took place in the Hungarian city of Petsh from 9 to 13 February, 2006.

The overwhelming majority of the participants were representatives of EU-countries. The only exceptions were some representatives of the Ukraine – a country, which takes all measures for an early intake in the European Union – and the author of this article. However the “Memorial” group from Saint Petersburg had at least three representatives – me and our German volunteers Teresa Tammer and Barbara Oltersdorf.

Petsh – the capital of the Southern region Baranija – wasn’t chosen accidentally as location for the seminar. Only 30 km away from the Croatian border, the city was for long centuries under the control of the Romans, later – of the Turks, after it formed a part of the Austrian-Hungary Empire. The people, whom settled there, formed the actual look of Petsh through their religious and cultural tradition and spread over the hills, which to count I had not enough time for. Narrow side-streets lead to a place, which first of all seems so colossal because of this sudden open view. It turns out that the park, the fountains and today’s sculptures lay down at the ruin of an early-Christian church. The place in front of the Saint Isttvan Cathedral – deserted on week-days, on the week-ends turn out to a colossal parking-zone. And the marble sculpture of the Saint himself, which stands on a not high base, seems to be of flesh and blood – like a further gazer – the bronze sculpture. You don’t understand at first view that this is a sculpture. At first it is like when you become aware of a glance, you turn round and see stately man in coat, who lean on the balcony’s railing. You look and look and then you understand that Franz Liszt is standing in front of you…

When turning in the yard of the inhabited house you literally run against a sandstone-sculpture of the twelve apostles, every of these higher than human height. Besides this colossal building of a former mosque which was turned in a catholic cathedral, stand an electric carillon, which invites people to the Sunday’s vesper…

That’s the city Petsh, in which environs since many centuries live Romas. For a few days we managed to become acquainted with the education-projects there, which exist for the Roman children in the city and the region.

One of these – a program about preschool education, means a kindergarten for Roman children, developed through initiative and support of the church. Besides the care of the children the kindergarten gives work to several tens of young Romas. Here mothers can leave their children unworried, because they know that they will be fed, someone will have a look after them and – they will get a good preparation for school.

To be continued…

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