The Continent´s Outcasts´ unique poetry

Der Independent berichtet in seiner ersten Ausgabe 2004 über eine serbische Roma-Schule:

Falteringly at first, Marija begins to recite the poem. The unfamiliar words come in staccato bursts and tell the story of a cold winter. „There’s no wheat in the house any more./ No heating wood at all./ We lie here in the dark.“
Marija is nine years old and is only now learning her own language, Roma, the native tongue of Europe’s Gypsies, the continent’s most-deprived ethnic group. For her and thousands of children like her in the Vojvodina area of northern Serbia, the poem is not a dark fairy tale but a daily reality.
… Mr Ivanov did not choose to start the children on poetry by accident. „The way Roma make poems is beautiful and unique,“ he says. The local Roma grammar with four dipthongs and a 47-letter alphabet was so unique that it drew linguists from Paris to study its roots.
Marija who now speaks her mother-tongue at home does not falter when asked what it means to be Roma. „It means you are good, decent and happy,“ she says. „Roma people are good and they are hard-working.“ Her teacher says he and his colleagues are not miracle workers but they are committed to change.
„We are pioneers in that we don’t expect help and we don’t expect miracles,“ he adds. „We do expect things to get better. More education equals less poverty and less crime.“

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