Dr. Ambedkar School

Al-Jazeera film focuses on abused Roma man’s quest to become a teacher

2015.06.25. Categorized: Front Page   

AFTER a severe beating from police, Milan Hudák, a 31-year-old Roma man, decided to change his life aiming to graduate from high school and become a teacher. His story uncovers obstacles which Roma living in a settlement have to deal with, as well the difference that NGOs can make.

Hudák’s story caught the attention of the Faction Films company which is currently working on a 25-minute English version documentary for the Al-Jazeera news channel. It will be part of the Witness programme which broadcasts the documentaries of independent authors from around the world. The aim is to show interesting stories which have not caught the attention of the media yet.

Hudák, who goes by the name Igor among friends, lives in the Roma settlement informally named Budulovská outside the town of Moldava nad Bodvou in Košice region. Some 800 people live in the settlement, isolated from the rest of the town. Half of the residents do not have running water and just a handful have jobs. Difficulties with the Hungarian language used in local elementary schools and a lack of motivation means many of the children do not finish high school, according to Igor.

“We are not here to accuse somebody for conditions in which Roma from the settlement live,” said Benjamin Cunningham, a senior editor with The Slovak Spectator and producer of the documentary. “We only record what is happening in the settlement. There is no agenda; it is up to the audience whether they will accept what we show them.”

Quitting drugs

Igor says that in his childhood he was quite a good student, however, everything changed when his father was arrested and went to jail. He left school and began using drugs and stealing iron in order to have money for food and drugs.

“Toluene abuse helps people to not feel hunger, they have no worries and have everything they want,” Igor told The Slovak Spectator.

In 2009 ETP Slovakia, a non-profit group that works with ethnic minorities, constructed a small community centre in the settlement and Igor volunteered to work with children there.

The community centre is one of few possibilities for settlement inhabitants to improve their education. It also provides pre-school education for Roma children teaching them how to distinguish colours, shapes or draw pictures. Moreover, social workers in the centre teach children manners and how to avoid conflicts with classmates as many of them do not receive such education from parents, according to Budulovská community centre employee Irma Horváthová, who is Igor’s sister.

“Igor learned here many important things such as how to work with a personal computer,” Horváthová told The Slovak Spectator. “However, before all, he learned to dream [about his future] which many children living here are not able to do.”

The very first day he worked in the centre Igor had an idea that he wanted to become a teacher, he says. He also became friends with several people outside of the settlement which prompted him to quit drugs.

“Suddenly I became ashamed of what I was doing,” Igor said. “After I stopped using drugs I helped another six or seven boys quit.”

Since then Igor has been teaching local children the history of Roma, sex education and drug abuse prevention. He also wrote a drama about his life as a drug abuser which is acted out by young people in the settlement.

The beating

In order to become a teacher Igor tried to study at grammar school in Košice, but he struggled with the Slovak language. He explained Roma children in the settlement speak Romani with their parents until they are six years old. Then they learn Hungarian during studies at the local elementary school, which uses Hungarian as its main language and teaches Slovak as a foreign language. Igor continued to work with children, however, his dream of becoming a regular teacher was fading.

A major shift came on June 19, 2013, when more than 60 police officers raided the settlement. Police were purportedly seeking seven men. They found none of those men, but according to eyewitnesses, violence ensued and 15 other Roma were taken to the police station. Several of the Roma were injured.

“It was terrible I don’t want to even think back about that,” Igor said, “they cut my head, took our money and destroyed our cell phones.”

He added that he was taken to the police station where officers threatened to break his arms.

While police allege they were attacked upon entering the settlement, none of the 15 detained were ever charged with a crime resulting from the clash.

Learning with Buddhists

Soon after the beating he decided to leave the settlement and asked Dr Ámbédkar Grammar School in the village of Sajókaza, in Hungary, for permission to study there.

“Igor wrote us that he would like to attend our school to finish his education,” school director Tibor Derdák told The Slovak Spectator. “Secondary schools in eastern Europe are not prepared to accept such young people because of discrimination and lack of professional approach.”

The Dr Ámbédkar Gimnázium is a special secondary-level school supported by the Hungarian state, Buddhist groups and private donors. A network of schools has more than 400 young adult and adult students, most of whom come from extremely poor Roma communities. The four education centres of the school operate in small villages near Miskolc city in northeast Hungary, providing primary and secondary education and vocational courses, according to the school’s webpage.

The school was inspired by the Modern Buddhist Movement in India campaigning against social discrimination against Dalits, the untouchable caste in the Indian caste system. Derdák compared some problems of Roma living in central Europe to problems Dalits have in India.

“They live in the peripheries of villages they don’t have proper education, they don’t have proper health care and they don’t have any perspective in Hungarian educational system,” Derdák said. “The situation is very similar.”

When children come to school, first of all, they need to learn basics. For example, when Igor visited the school for the first time he was not able to find Africa on the globe. However, they learn quickly and after some time they are able to move to regular study, according to Derdák.

Children studying there are not extraordinarily problematic when compared to their counterparts in regular high school, according to Judita Szűcsová who teaches art theory at the grammar school and has worked at mainstream schools in the past. She added that teachers there are not soft on students when it comes to marking their results. Instead, they rather provide students extra lessons so they can improve.

A good student

Igor, who is now studying in the second class of the school, is a good student who is able to inspire his classmates as well as people living in his settlement. It is because of his age and devotion to reach his goal, Szűcsová says.

Péter Galyas, a 19-year-old student at the school, told The Slovak Spectator that he wanted to quit, but that Igor persuaded him to stick with his studies.

“I have heard many of my classmates say that their highest goal in life is to get activation work,” Igor said. “But I have always been responding that they should graduate and thus be able to find a good job, as I want to become a teacher.”

Understanding Roma

Igor defies a ton of stereotypes about Roma. He is quiet, mild mannered and polite. As the documentary was being filmed, the entire settlement proved welcoming to the filmmakers, Director Karim Shah said. He added that the point of such documentaries is to show people the daily life reality of those communities so the public can understand them.

Igor’s story illustrates how people from marginalised communities can improve their lives with a little help, Shah said.

“It is very rare for these things to happen in isolation, even Igor’s change has not happened by itself,” Shah told The Slovak Spectator. “People can see influence of his sister as well as help from the ETP organization.”

Milan Hudák (Source: Roman Cuprik)

Source: http://spectator.sme.sk/c/20057775/al-jazeera-film-focuses-on-abused-roma-mans-quest-to-become-a-teacher.html

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Our School 1st Part

Our School (1st Part)
Our school is named after Dr. Bhimrao Ramji Ambedkar (April 14, 1891-December 6, 1956) an Indian jurist, scholar and political leader. Born into a poor, dalit (untouchable) family and subjected to intense socio-economic discrimination, Ambedkar spent his life fighting against the Indian caste system and the idea of untouchability. We see his message being relevant for gypsies in our country today.

Our School 2nd Part

Our School (2nd Part)
Our school is serving in a region of northern Hungary where the proportion of high school graduates having matriculation examination is under 1%. At the gypsy settlements of Sajokaza, Lak, Alsovadasz, Homrogd there are thousands of people without the chance of secondary education. We believe, that the application of proper pedagogy will result in the elevation of above mentioned ratio similar to any other group of today's society, and our students so become competitive participants of the labour market.

Our School 3rd Part

Our School (3rd Part)
Our school offers person centered pedagogy, informatics, English language and sciences. By activating dormant energies of unused manpower we bring high grade secondary education to the poorest communities of our homeland.

Our School 4th Part

Our School (4th Part)
The objective of our school is to show the way out of poverty and make environmental stimuli enjoyable for everybody. We knowingly have encouraged our children to make friends with students of other schools years before founding the school. Our task is to transmit the essence of better life standards of more prosperous social strata to our students and their families. It is especially important in health issues, for we do not study to die early as the poor of the villages.

Our School 5th Part

Our School (5th Part)
Even though the school is situated in segregated environment, our efforts are to integrate. The goal is to bring high standard education to a totally unprovided area. The want should be satisfied. The effects of this service then attract non-Romany inhabitants, and lead to building valuable relationships around the segregated community. We believe in the possibility of dark spots on the map today to become bright stars tomorrow.

Our School 6th Part

Our School (6th Part)
We emphasize the values of Romany lifestyle. Even though the life is changing in Alsovadasz, Sajokaza, Lak, Homrogd and the other villages, people are going to have large families with lots of cousins, uncles and aunts for a few more decades. However nice and precious it is, the public opinion of the rest of the county might be different. One of the pedagogic tasks of the school is to provide students with well based confidence to commit to their own chosen lifestyle.

Our School 7th Part

Our School (7th Part)
The aim that our students want to achieve is high school graduation. Trade is offered only to those who want it along with graduation. Even for people fell out of primary education but wanting to learn we make understand that the goal is not just completing primary school but to change their social stand.

All of the Parts in One

Our School

  • Professor Shanker Dutt: Congratulations on the good work you are doing. The English language is an instrument of empowerment and liberation to access knowledge and technology
  • Hemant aka Nirvan Shinde: Dear Friends of Dr. Ambedkar School, I am highly pleased to congratulate you, for this historic step against segregation. you the Children of Dr. Amb
  • Pardeep S Attri: This is really great to hear all this activities going on!
  • Dhammadeep: jai bhim dear asok, you are really doing a great job i wish u all the very best
  • DHAMMADEEP DEOGADE: Dear Asok, Jai Bhim… UR Doing Great Work.. ..I’ve Photograph Collaction of Dr.Ambedker. It’s a  Orkut Link..do Get it…  http://www.orkut.c

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Contact

    Headmaster: Tibor Derdak

    Address:
    H-3720 Sajókaza, Rákóczi F. u. 29.

    Headquarters:
    H-3720 Sajókaza, Sólyom telep 7-9.

    Further field of activity places:
    H-3600 Ózd, Petőfi út 18-20.
    H-3659 Sáta, Kolozsvári út 5.

    Telephone/Fax:
    (+36) 48-788-700

    International Bank Account Number:
    IBAN HU59 1203 7805 0033 7608 0010 0002
    SWIFT Code: UBRTHUHB (Raiffeisen Bank)

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Right view, right intention, right speech, right action, right livelihood, right effort, right mindfulness, right concentration. (Buddha)

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24 September: Pune Pact between Gandhi and Dr. Ambedkar in 1932

14 October: Conversion in Nagpur of Dr. Ambedkar and his Dalit followers in 1956: “Dhammadiksha” or “Dhamma Chakra Pravartan Din”

28 November: The Day of Orientalists (Körösi Csoma Sándor started his mysterious Eastern journey in 1819.)

5 November - 14 December: The Lőrinc family in Sajógalgóc gave shelter to four Jewish youngsters who had escaped labour camp.

19 January: Martin Luther King Day

11 February: The Day of Freedom in Religion: In 1676 the dutch admiral Michael de Ruyter freed the Hungarian galley slave praechers: e.g. Túróczi Végh András from Fülek, Kálnai Péter from Putnok, Szalóczi Mihály from Zubogy

14 April: Birthday of Dr. Ambedkar

2 May: Birthday of the Buddha

2 August: The Day of Gypsies’ Holocaust in 1944

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