In the name of the Roma Community of Kiskunfélegyháza, the Citizens Association for Roma Rights (CAROR) is estabilished with the goal to call attention upon the problem of not having elementary school in Bankfalu anymore.
In 2009, the Ministry of Education has decided to close the elementary school in Bankfalu. This has left children of around 300 families (!) with no nearby school. As a consequence, they need to travel long distance and face additional costs, which leads to less attendance and has many short term and long term consequences.
The Constitution and the Law on Education in Hungary asks for equal access to education for everyone, and the local authorities are responsible for realising this. Thus, we ask the Local Office of the Ministry of Education to change the situation and reopen the school.
You can check it on Youtube:
Hungarian National Television broadcasted it the following way:
You can check it on Youtube:
On the 26th of October, our activist group organized a press conference in the City Hall in Kiskunfélegyháza. Our goal was to present our community's problem to the media and aimed to further spread the message. We gathered representatives from local, national and international media, presented and analyzed the issue of the closed school in our town.
Three months after the press conference we held our forum in the Community House where everyone had the oppurtunity to tell her/his thought or opinion. During the discussion we signed a petition which contained our suggestion to Mr Krisztian Kapus for solving this problem.
You can check our film here:
Our activist group from CAROR organized a protest today in front of the City Hall demanding reopen the school in our town. We gathered one hundred people. Local authorities will start working on this problem tomorrow, promised the mayor of Kiskunfélegyháza, Mr Kapus.
Kapus wasn’t willing to speak with us, but we were persistent so he came out and try to convince us to go home. When he realized that we won’t give up, he invited us in his office and start negotiating the problem.
The documents written by experts from the Ministry of Education, which show that there is a possibility to solve the problem, and documents were given to him. Activist group also reminded him that there is money in the local budget for this project.
“We relocated the money for school project and now we don’t have it in our budget. But we will solve this problem after the election period” said the Mayor.
This problem has existed for three years in this town, reminded spokesperson of this group, Mr Orbán Kolompár and he add that local authorities promised that they will solve it in a first year of their mandat.
Our group already have prepared a petition for this cause which was assigned by 30.000 people and it was sent to the Mayor one month ago. Since then there has been no response from him.
If the Mayor doesn’t start working on this problem tomorrow group of activists will paralize whole town and organize even bigger protest. Of course, they don’t have patient anymore so they won’t wait the end of the elections process, emphasized Kolompár.
Meeting the Authorities
One month after the demonstration, we managed to schedule an appointment with the local authorities in Kiskunfélegyháza, on which we presented the problem of the closed school in Bankfalu and handed in our signed petition.
On the side of the authorities, we met the Mayor and Deputy Mayor of the town, as well as two other members of their offices. The activist group was represented by our spokesperson Leila, a member of the Roma community Mr István as a father, and Mr Goce as a legal and sociological expert.
The meeting began by us presenting the closing of the school as a problem we want to be solved, and by presenting our petition signed by citizens of Kiskunfélegyháza. The Major and his assistants were not the most welcoming and interested audience, and have most of the time tried to transfer responsibility to other bodies.
In the end, we received a promise that we will receive an answer to the petition in thirty days. This is how we ended the meeting, as the Mayor had another important meeting to attend immediately after that.
Seing the results of the meeting, we concluded that we need to continue pressuring, and meet the Mayor and Deputy Mayor again, as many times as needed, and emphasise that responsibility indeed lays within their hands.