Reclaiming Roma Adolescence in Harvard Educational Review

The Summer 2017 issue of the Harvard Educational Review (HER) includes “Reclaiming Adolescence: A Roma Youth Perspective,”  a paper about the FXB Roma Program research in Serbia in partnership with the Center for Interactive Pedagogy. Jacqueline Bhabha, Arlan Fuller, Margarete Matache, Jelena Vranjesevic, Miriam Chernoff, Boris Spasic, and Jelena Ivanis coauthored it.  Most of the abstract and a few sentences from the opening paragraph appear below: 

In this article, the authors present data gathered in the Reclaiming Adolescence research project, which investigated the educational hardships of Roma youth by comparing their experiences with their non-Roma peers’ in Belgrade, Serbia. Serious inequalities in access to secondary and tertiary education affect the life and career opportunities of Romani adolescents in Europe. Yet, despite a plethora of reports and surveys on this topic, the views of young Roma themselves remain undocumented. This article reports on research that addresses this lacuna in terms of both substantive findings and methodological innovation…

Jelena, a young Roma, planned to look for a job in a beauty salon once she
finished her part-time vocational school. This was a revision of her more ambitious
earlier career aspirations, a change of direction caused by her poor
school achievement record. Years of exposure to an unwelcoming school and
social environment in Belgrade had affected her ability to succeed academically.

Go to the link for the paper.

To further highlight the team’s work, Margareta Matache, Jacqueline Bhabha, and Arlan Fuller contributed an op-ed to Voices in Education, the HER blog. The opening paragraph of “Writing Romani Youth Lives” follows:

As a child, Dejan was one of the best soccer players in his school. When the time came for the school team to play in a regional competition, Dejan had no doubt he was going to be selected to join the squad. He was wrong—the coach did not choose him. Dejan recalls feeling sad and not understanding the coach’s decision. “Look at them; don’t you see any difference? They are white, you are black,” the coach explained to him. It was not his sole encounter with discrimination. Almost 30 percent of the Romani young people we interviewed in an earlier research project1 stated that they struggled with discrimination in the school environment. Yet, Dejan thinks he was strong, and he is now a college student. He is among the 1 percent of Romani young people who have managed to enroll in higher education in Serbia.2 But at what price does higher education come for Romani adolescents?
Read more about the FXB Roma Program or the research projects in the article.