Listening to stories wasn’t enough for them

Eva BajgerovaRomany Adviser to the Regional GovernmentUsti nad Labem
There is a very large Romany population in Predlice near Usti nad Labem. People say: "Don’t go to Predlice, it’s full of Gypsies; something bad could happen to you.”
I go to schools to talk with students about Roma.
I tell them about my life. It’s best to show them things they could be interested in, and to talk about what happens to you. To explain things that you’ve read in a book by a philosopher, no: it’s better to tell them what’shappening to you today, what’s happening to your friends.
They’re looking at me while I’m talking; it’s a story that happened to me, and they feel much closer.
They begin to ask questions. They’re curious about the Roma: what kind of people are we?
I was at the business academy in Usti the other day. I was worried: I couldn’tbelieve that the students would be interested in my stories.
But I was surprised. They wereinterested.
I talked about Predlice and I found out that none of the students had ever visited this area. It’s not far away, just a few stops by bus, but they didn’t know the place.
They were interested, though, and even asked me to take them there. They wanted to get acquainted with the people, to see how Romany families live.
Listening to stories wasn’t enough for them.
But my story helped: my life. And myself. They could see me with their own eyes.

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