Joci Marton, who completed the Roma English Language Program and is now graduating from the Roma Graduate Preparation Program, volunteers with Uccu, a Hungarian NGO that facilitates dialogue between Roma and non-Roma elementary and middle school students. Marton’s involvement with Uccu, which promotes an informal education method rather than an effort to teach about Roma culture in a top-down fashion, was covered in an article on Hungarian news portal www.vs.hu, accessible here http://vs.hu/az-ilonat-sokkal-nehezebb-gyulolni-mint-ciganyt-0607.
The Uccu sessions with students, part of a program called “Roma Identity in Pictures,” begin with a discussion of what students see in a series of 15 pictures depicting Roma life. These often generate judgmental and discriminatory comments, and it’s the volunteer moderator’s job to guide the discussion toward a breakdown of stereotypes and an expression of the diversity of Roma culture. “I don’t find anything harsh about the sessions - after all, we go there to hear these opinions, and I think it’s good if they express them. If we deal with the Roma issue quietly and with political correctness, we won’t get anywhere,” Marton was quoted as saying. Prior to coming to CEU, Marton taught Roma folk culture at a school in Budapest’s 8th district.