The Reformed Roma Special College in Budapest (RefoRom) launched a campaign to help disadvantaged Roma students in their studies and living. The College is collecting donations so the students are able to buy the right quality and amount of food, notes, books and clothing for themselves. The leadership of the Special College emphasizes: many of them are carrying the burden of their needy families too.
Many people look at the students supported by RefoRom as the future generation of Roma intellectuals. But the hope for the students to achieve this goal even with the help of Reforom is fragile. All the students started to fullfil the dream of a better future from exceptionally disadvantaged situations. They made the impossible possible, they became university students thanks to hard work, diligence and great sacrifices.
The Christian Roma Collegium/Special College Network is a program that the Hungarian Government launched in 2011 in strategic cooperation with the Churches. RCH has two Reformed Colleges respectively in Debrecen and Budapest. Colleges provide support to Roma students in the form of financial aid, housing assistance, additional coursework and mentoring. Aside from academic opportunities, the students are encouraged to explore Roma spirituality and culture as well. Scholarships, social activities, as well as volunteering opportunities and community service are provided by the program. The special colleges aim to explore values of the Christian life as well as Roma culture and identity and encourages the Roma students to find their value and place in the world. Mentors monitor both academic and spiritual development. Ultimately, the Collegium hopes to send out well and holistically educated individuals into Hungarian society. The Collegium's programs are open for non-Roma students, but the institution offers accommodation and financial support to Roma candidates exclusively, as a very low percentage of Romas have the opportunity to study at universities or colleges.
The Special College is able to provide a second home, a place to live, supportive and informational classes and scholarships. However their disadvantages are impaired by the continuously increasing university materials and the prejudice they face because of their social background. The fundraising campaign is designed to support them so the social and existential difficulties won’t hold them back and these valuable and taented students will be able to graduate.
Physically Distant but Close in Spirit
When the restrictions of movement and the temporary closure of universities were announced, both Roma Special Collegia of RCH suspended their operation – at least within the walls of the institutions. Activities are still just as intensive as before.