Digital Education among Roma Minorities in Schools (Dreams)

September 2019 was the starting date of the project Digital Education among Roma Minorities in Schools (Dreams), financed through the Erasmus + Program – KA204 – Strategic Partnerships for Adult Education. The project partnership is made up of four organizations from 3 different countries: Media Actie Kuregem Stad (Belgium, coordinator), the Intercultural Institute of Timisoara (Romania), Health and Social Development Foundation (Bulgaria) and All Digital AISBL (Belgium).

In this project, 60 low skilled adult learners from disadvantaged groups and adult education practitioners in Bulgaria, Romania and Belgium addressed topics on social inclusion using the digital storytelling methodology: priority was given to actions that help Roma parents and promote – in particular through innovative and integrated approaches – equality, non-discrimination and social inclusion of Roma citizens, through digital education. Thus, the project aimed to foster the development of social, civic and intercultural competences and tackle discrimination in schools, segregation, racism, bullying or violence.

The main objectives of the project were to:

  • create impact through learning for Roma parents, enabling them to talk about their struggles and impediments in education;
    • give the opportunity to/empower parents/mothers to talk about school segregation: practices of excluding Roma children from schooling, physical abuse, verbal abuse, or other humiliating treatment of Roma children in schools and to build bridges with the school education system;
    • develop a dialogue and communication between the parents and the school with a positive impact on behavioral issues;
    • allow Roma parents access to adult education and the opportunity of finding a job, this not being possible without equal treatment and full access for Roma children to a quality and mainstream education;
    • work out new education methodologies with illiterate Roma parents through the use of digital storytelling, informal interaction and peer-to-peer learning;
    • identify the key factors that lead to the success or failure of local integration activities for the Roma population;
    • develop at European level a methodology that can be used to bring Roma parents closer to the school of their children including this digital storytelling tool.

The project was based on an inclusive digital methodology and stimulates participation of low skilled adult learners in the schooling of their children. Thus, the digital storytelling was used to improve the wellbeing of Roma children and their parents in the school system, to tackle a societal problem, such as the drop out of Roma children, to create empathy in the educational environment towards the Roma children with a call to action to change and think about pathways to resolve this problem.

A digital story is a short movie (1 to 3 minutes), based on still images and a voice over that permits the storyteller to give his or her point of view about a societal issue. It is generally used as a way to empower low-skilled adults and let their voices be heard. Thus, disadvantaged groups are given a voice and, at the same time, are invited in a lifelong learning process and in an integration process.

The project was implemented between September 2019 and October 2020.