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These children are often neglected by their teachers

Children from Roma backgrounds are often treated differently by their teachers at school here. The widespread notion is that they’re not as capable.

My father was a miner and served as a pastor in our small church in the village of Krupnik. My mother was a seamstress. We grew up next to the Roma suburb in our village. Our parents taught us to be honest and hardworking ever since we were small, and despite their low salaries, they paid for me and my sister to go to university.  I’ve wanted to work with children since I was a teenager. I started volunteering at Sunday school and most of the children were from a Roma background. I noticed that these children had great dreams and didn’t want to be overlooked because of the colour of their skin.

The after school club is like a second home for these children. They show up eagerly every day and we are like a big family – the children share their personal thoughts with us because of the trust we have built up with them.

My greatest reward is the change in the children. The teachers have told me that these children are different from the others, not only in their grades but also in their behaviour. That inspires me, it is so rewarding to support them towards a better future.

Kirilka, a teacher at the after-school club in Krupnik, Bulgaria

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