roma 1

The Roma, one



hut sibling immensely
clay stick (3) settlement
at all improve dream (2)
salary key (2) believe (2)
aid founder responsible
bit (2) miracle leave room
keen material private (2)
donor poverty spend/spent/spent
funds authority battle (2)
local inspect corruption
lack loan (2) cooperation
profit find out overall (2)
accept wooden infrastructure




Video: The Roma, one



Cosmin wants to get in here, into this new house that looks so nice and clean. Because until now, he and his five siblings have been living here: in an old hut made from wooden sticks and clay.

This is one of the many Roma settlements in Romania, always on the outside of the villages. It’s a small miracle that houses are being built here at all.

Cosmin Prikop, Romanian Villager: “I tried with the bank, but they wouldn’t give a me a loan. My salary is too small. I had no chance to do anything.”

Instead, the money for the building material comes from Jenny Rasche, the founder of a German aid project. She has been helping the Roma communities around Sibiu for more than ten years.

Around one in three Romanians lives in poverty — and the Roma are the poorest of all.

Jenny Rasche, Children’s Aid Transylvania: “You have to be able to dream a bit, but leave room for small miracles. Because that’s how it all happened. I didn’t want to accept things as they were here.”

All the men have to help with the building work because Jenny believes in learning to help yourself.

The money comes from private donors in Germany. The European Union also spends a lot of money in Romania — ten billion euros every year.

Jenny heads back to Sibiu. She’s not too keen on the EU funds. The battle with local authorities spending them, their corruption and lack of cooperation is too difficult.

Jenny Basche, Children’s Aid Transylvania: “Maybe they should think about sending people from Brussels to these countries to see who is responsible for inspecting projects. And finding out where all the money goes.”

Overall, Jenny thinks Romania has profited immensely from being a member of the EU. The infrastructure in the cities is much improved. Europe has also helped building schools and paying teachers.

But in Roma settlements, only one child in five is actually going to school. For the Prikops and their neighbors, this has changed, also as a result of Jenny’s project.

Mrs. Prikop: “My daughter loves school. I kept her home for a while, but she really wants to be in school.”

More than anything else, education is the key to a better future for the Roma communities in Romania.


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1. Cosmin’s life will change dramatically. True or false? What is happening to him? What is he doing?

2. Do the Roma (Gypsies) live together with White Romanians?

3. Under normal circumstances, can Cosmin afford to buy a new home?

4. The Roma receive financial aid and support. Is this right or wrong?

5. Do outside carpenters, masons and construction workers build the houses?

6. Everything runs smoothly; there is no problem in terms of money, organization and management. Is this correct or incorrect?

7. Has all EU money and help been squandered (wasted)?

8. Is the report optimistic, pessimistic, both or neither?


A. Is poverty a very serious problem, a serious problem, in the middle, not too bad or there is no poverty where you live?

B. How do ethnic minorities fare in your country? Do they have higher poverty rates, the same, or are they a “model minority”?

C. Why are these people poor? What causes poverty?

D. What might happen in the future?

E. Have there been programs to help the poor?

F. What should the poor, the government and outsiders do?

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