Project History

Roma Mentor Project

Project covers 5 European countries with significant number of Roma population:  Hungary (implementing partner: Bim Brao), Slovakia (implementing partner “Ternipe”), Macedonia (implementing partner “Darhia”), Czech Republic (implementing partner “ROMEA”) and Bulgaria. In Bulgaria, Resource Centre  SHAM Foundation is the implementing partner with included 15 schools in 9 Bulgarian Regions. The aim is to connect experts of Roma culture with schools and community centers and to generate change in the children’s self-awareness and consciousness, as well as to increase their knowledge about Roma culture through positive role-models. Sham Foundation attracted 15 young Roma professionals, 12 of them with University degrees in Journalism, Fine and Applied Arts, Pedagogy, Visual arts, Music, Dance performances, Theatre to work for this cause of motivating and keeping Roma children at school, and also to stimulate intercultural dialogue between Roma and Non-Roma students. Each school group has between 15-20 pupils (Roma and non-Roma). Their Mentors meetings take approximately 1-2 hours, twice per month and each session follows “learning by doing” method.Mentors (Roma professionals) together with teachers and students worked on creation of photo exhibitions, dance and music performances, school newspapers, theatre plays, books with Roma legends and tales, applied arts production (accessories from polymer clay, souvenirs), pictures on popular Roma legends etc.Beneficiaries from that project include more than 300 Roma children and Roma youngsters in Bulgaria. For the last school year 2012/2013, they spend more than 500 hours discovering Roma culture, history, language and traditions, as well as they visited professional theatre plays, concerts, musicals, media- offices, art-studios, which allowed them to develop their skills in these fields of culture and arts.

”Equal access to Roma children to all schools in Montana” in 2001 was supported by Open Society Institute (Hungary), Roma Participants Program and continued till 2011 with the financial support of Roma Education Fund.Project for desegregation of Roma school in the town of Montana started with 78 Roma children, distributed in 5 mixed schools in mass-schools and in the end in 2010 we had around 290 Roma children enrolled and attending regular school lessons. Some of the main activities include:

  • Provision of free textbooks and educational materials;
  • Daily monitoring of student attendance and results at school (5 Roma school mediators in each of the accepting school)
  • Additional (and individual) work with these of Roma students, who meet difficulties in adoption of school material;
  • Trainings for teachers, aiming improvement of their competitions for work in multicultural environment

This program was recognized as a best practice from the Municipality of Montana and since 2010, the Municipality invest own budget for continuation of the policy for improving of Roma education. This was a result of SHAM Foundation campaign and efforts aiming acceptance and understanding for the need of educational inclusion and equall distribution of Roma schools in all public schools and supported by  public authorities, teachers and Principals.Based on the practical experience of the organization, the Municipality of Montana was the first local authority in the country which developed and voted Local Plan for implementation of the Strategy for educational integration of children and students from the ethnic minorities.

One  Minute – Junior Videos – realized in 2006th project, financed by UNICEF Germany and implemented with the partnership between SHAM Foundation, the European Cultural Foundation, UNICEF and “Amalipe”. 27 Roma and Non-Roma youngsters expressed their ideas for more tolerant world thought short videos. They were the creators, but also actors, TV-operators and editors of their own videos. Professionals from the partnering organization provided equipment and expert advises. Part of videos available here:

Education- key for successful integration”- realized in 2005th. Project gave second chance of 20 young Roma, who didn’t graduate Secondary school. This initiative was supported by OSI and realized in partnership with 7th Secondary school “Prof. Assen Zlatarov”, town of Montana.



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