On November 10, an Information Day was held in the conference hall of the “Roma – Lom” Foundation. Within the framework of the event, the sociologist-analyst Tihomir Bezlov and Dimitar Rusinov – an expert on the project, presented the results of a study in the three Roma communities, as well as an analysis of the potential and conducting a consultative process in the three regions.
Tihomir Bezlov focused on the key point of the study: the relationship between truant children and children with deviant behavior; collection and analysis of available statistical information; the problem of restrictions on the collection of information by ethnicity; problems with incomplete and incorrect information.
According to the study, the reasons for absenteeism from school are many and of a different nature. On the one hand, there are the great differences among Roma children – from the “elite” schools to the highly marginalized ones, and on the other – the cultural-value differences: there is no benefit from education, it hinders the family and there is no visible benefit from it. Help in the family to look after brothers, sisters and the elderly, work for the benefit of the family, the lack of funds for clothes and shoes, textbooks and notebooks, etc., were also mentioned.
Absences from school were systematized as absences from the first and last class, absence for certain periods of time (week, month) due to illness in the family, wedding, etc., early marriages and cohabitations, even mass termination of education after the 10th grade
The changed environment in the Roma neighborhoods was also analyzed. A very important reason for absent children is going abroad. The number of absent parents and, accordingly, of children left with grandparents and other relatives is too high. The significantly smaller number of children in Roma families, higher incomes, and the purchase of housing in non-Roma neighborhoods were also reported.
In the subsequent discussion, both the tools for countering deviant behavior and problems, as well as the possibilities of institutions and organizations to contribute to overcoming them, were commented on.
Representatives of the Municipal Administration, Lom, the Social Assistance Directorate, the Regional Police Department, the Regional Prosecutor’s Office, health, educational and labor mediators, psychologists, teachers and social workers were present.
Project “Specialized services for children from Roma communities in conflict or contact with the law” is financed by the “Justice” Program of the Norwegian Financial Mechanism 2014-2021, and partners in its implementation are the IGA Crime Prevention Fund, the Foundation “Roma- Lom”, Regional Development Foundation “Roma”, Plovdiv and Save a child – Norway.