“I was not born with music flowing through my veins,” says Madalina in the video above, explaining that the prevalent Roma-as-musician stereotype does not apply to her and her fellow medical students in Bucharest, Romania. In fact, as the video shows, they make lousy buskers.
Breaking through these cultural perceptions and promoting inclusion are goals of a unique scholarship program supported and coordinated by the Open Society Foundations in partnership with the Roma Education Fund, and other implementers. The program has funded more than 1,000 Roma medical students like Madalina over the last seven years in Romania, Bulgaria, Serbia, and Macedonia.
Alumni have gone on to positions at the World Bank, the finest hospitals in Europe, and clinics within their own communities. Roma can now begin to see themselves reflected in Europe’s medical elite, and medical workers can better identify with Roma as both patients and peers.
In Romania, our partners at an organization called ActiveWatch created a media campaign to challenge popular misconceptions about Roma. Watch the video above to see one piece of a creative campaign by Roma to recast images of their community.