Honors Students' Stories
While studying abroad in Bonn, Germany I made a short documentary piece about young people in the Roma (gypsy) community in Szeged, Hungary. Specifically, the project focuses on issues of education discrimination and the recent integration of public schools in Szeged, along with the challenges this presents to Roma children attending these schools. The film follows Niki, a Roma teenager who is emerging from the turmoil of the 2003 integration of Hungary’s public school system. As she struggles to finish the eighth grade and overcome the obstacles left behind after 6 years of terribly subpar education, we explore the challenges facing Hungary's largest, but least understood minority. The project was filmed in Hungary over a period of two weeks, during which time I worked closely with Niki and organizers of DARTKE, a non-profit organization working with the Roma community to improve education opportunities for Roma children. This story is told primarily through interviews with Niki and her family, as well as discussions with DARTKE coordinators. The finished film touches on universally relevant issues such as discrimination, segregation vs. assimilation, and community. Equal opportunity for education is particularly important if we are to have a future in which all members of society may shape the world we live in. This film raises awareness for the challenges facing Romas, and leads its audience to examine the way we treat those around us in our own communities, around our nation, and throughout the world.