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Experiences of the Roma Education Initiative

The Education Support Program (ESP) presents Experiences of the Roma Education Initiative, a compilation of documentation studies based on the experiences of the Roma Education Initiative (REI). REI was an ambitious project funded and implemented by the Open Society Institute in partnership with Soros foundations and Roma and non-Roma NGOs, spanning 2002 to 2005.

REI focused on supporting early access and retention in education by providing quality education services in schools, which included Romani community involvement. REI worked on the assumption that segregation did not end once Romani children were placed in inclusive environments in integrated schools. Each national project offered a continuum of services—in school and out of school, educational and other sectors—in response to an array of needs and across age groups. REI's reach was significant: over 20,000 students, 5,000 of whom were Roma.

This anthology presents the voices of Roma and non-Roma educators who implemented the REI projects, revealing personal insights on professional worlds and private commitments to policy change, through stories, struggles, lessons learned, and strategic successes.

Equal access to quality, integrated education remains shamefully rare for Romani children in Europe. There are relatively few examples of good practice or success in education. The studies in this collection contribute to filling this gap in information. Through documenting their work in the REI project, these practitioners intend to challenge European governments to take bolder steps to ensure education justice for Roma children.

Experiences of the Roma Education Initiative is available for download. For further information contact Christina McDonald at or Piroska Hugyecz at


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