Thursday, December 23, 2010


TRANSCRIPT FROM Mosaic News - 12/21/10: World News From The Middle East

Education brings hope to Kurdistan's Romani children

Sumaria TV, Iraq

Presenter, Female # 1

All across Iraq, the Romani people endure what can be described, at the very least, as bad conditions, lacking even the most basic humanitarian needs. For this reason, an individual initiative emerged in the city of Sulaymaniyah, with the support of the Ministry of Education in Kurdistan, to open a school that focuses on the reintegration of this segment of the population into society through education.

Reporter, Female # 2

According to officials in Iraq's central and southern provinces, local authorities expelled the Romani people because they considered the community to be negatively affecting the morals and customs of the society. However, it seems the reality of the Romanis' life in Kurdistan focuses on their reintegration into society through education. A retired educator was able to convert a modest tent into a school to teach Romani children in Sulaymaniyah after the Ministry of Education approved the plan with the goal of reeducating this segment of the population, numbered at over 300,000 people.

Guest, Female # 3 (Hana Fadel, The school's founder)

I got the idea when I saw the panhandling that takes place on the streets and when I saw acts carried out by the Romanis that are deemed unacceptable to society. So I got the idea to ask the Ministry of Education to open a school to teach them and also offer vocational courses, and they approved.

Guest, Female # 4 (Bahia Raheem Kareem, Teacher)

We offer the same classes as any elementary school: math, Kurdish, English, sports and Islamic education.

Reporter, Female # 2

Romani students expressed hope that this school will lead to a change in their daily lives and the lives of Romani people by expanding their work and educational opportunities in the future.

Guest, Female # 6

I used to sell chewing gum on the street but today I am student. I don't know what the future holds for me but I know that I don't want to sell gum.

Guest, Male # 1

I used to dye shoes in the market and would work long hours but today I study and learn. I feel like other kids, the ones I used to see on my way to work.

Reporter, Female # 2

The Sulaymaniyah Ministry of Education confirmed that it seeks to provide Romanis with an education through this school. The state they're in is similar to that of other segments of the city's population and the ministry attributes its failure to approve the Romanis' request to attend public schools to their families' frequent moves from one region to another.

Guest, Male # 2 (Kamal Nouri, Sulaymaniyah director of education)

Not having permanent housing in Sulaymaniyah and other regions leads to a lack of commitment to our normal schools.

Reporter, Female # 2

It seems that the opening of a school specifically to teach the Romani children for the first time in cities across Kurdistan, and Iraq in general, indicates that there is at least partial recognition of their rights. It coincides with local authorities in south and central Iraq expelling them from cities, such as from the city of Karbala, and preventing them from entering and exiting some regions, such as the Iraqi province of Diwaniya. Rana Ahmad, al-Sumariya.

** Contact Mosaic News: mosaicnews{at}linktv{dot}org


xyz said...

Romani in Iraq?
I didn't know that there are Roma in Iraq - at least not in a recognizable size.
Besides that I wonder how many Roma would recognize those people shown on the fotographs as being Roma.

I guess that the people shown are Gypsies, but not Roma.
They probably belong to the Dom-Gypsies. For what reasons should one call them "Roma"?

Morgan said...

Point well taken xyz, but Romani is a much more inclusive term than Roma.
Sinti are not Roma, but they are Romani.
Dom are considered, and consider themselves, Romani but not Roma.

Yes the photos are dated, but only by a few years.

Thank you for your thoughtful comments.

Casimire said...

Sheez Morgan, you even have me confused on that one. Can you clarify? Thanks Casimire

Morgan said...

Well, I've been trying to check this out more thoroughly.

The Romani in Kurdistan seem to be linked linguistically to the more well known Romani tribes.

I should seek information from Dr. Ian Hancock about this as he is a linguistic scholar and Romani activist.