The Gypsy people have always been outsiders in Romania, but after the demise of the communist regime--which offered them some protection--they are further marginalized. This has both caused and is exacerbated by higher than average levels of poverty and unemployment, poor levels of education, and overcrowded living conditions.

The Gypsy community is one of Tinca's oldest and largest ethnic minorities. Out of 7000 inhabitants, 1000 are adult gypsies and another 1000 are gypsy children. They have lived in the country for hundreds of years, but are not integrated because of widespread discrimination and stigma.

  • an estimated 85% of gypsies live below subsistence levels,
  • their life expectancy is up to 20 years below average.
  • they have a high birth rate but their exact number is subject to speculation. Roma organizations suggest a number as high as 2,5 million
  • a disturbing illiteracy rate among gypsies, 1 out of 10 can read or write

There is still reluctance in the gypsy community to go on to secondary school after 10-11 years of age and high-school for some is not an option. The primary cause is lack of access to pre-school education and failure to keep up in primary school with the children of their age.



Most Gypsy children live in large families and are open to relationships within the community. However, they do not easily become fond of the regular kindergarten, since they prefer company in their own community and in regular classes they are a minority.

Gypsy children are generally well developed socially, but they are afraid of strangers.  Nevertheless, the presence of only one Gypsy child is sufficient for them to regain their courage and friendly nature. They feel secure among their brothers, sisters and relatives, and at family gatherings they enjoy being the centre of attention.

We think that the daily routine for Gypsy classes in the kindergarten should be adjusted to the lifestyle of their families. Self-helping community activities might be encouraged in the field of clothing habits, as well as learning and following traditions and minority cultures. 


learningPrimary School

Nearly a billion people entered the 21st century unable to read a book or sign their names, and most are poorer and unhealthier than those who can. They are the world’s functional illiterates and their total includes more than 130 million children who do not attend school, 73 million of them girls.

Yet the ability to claim and enjoy the rights of an informed and responsible citizen rests squarely on a child’s access to a good basic education. A quality education - that encourages children’s participation and critical thinking and is infused with the values of peace and human dignity - has the power to transform societies in a single generation.

Furthermore, the fulfillment of a child’s right to education offers protection from a multitude of hazards, such as a life consigned to poverty, bonded labour in agriculture or industry, domestic labour, commercial sexual exploitation.

The Romanian educational system deals with (or fails to deal with) the integration of Roma children in public education. People to People wants to assist the Roma in facing the challenges of the twenty-first century in Romania, by providing teaching methods and a curriculum in such a way that school becomes interesting for Roma children, and also that mainstream students and teachers become more familiar with Roma culture and history.


school tincaThe Gypsy School Project

One of the most adventurous projects People to People Foundation has ever embarked upon is the creation of the Tinca Community School, as an alternative to mainstream education.

Education is a priority for People to People because

  • we know that better levels of education could offer poor children a future full of hope
  • we also know that education is a key factor in breaking the cycle of deprivation that many of these poor families face.

Our research into a local school showed that there is much willingness on the part of Roma children to participate in mixed schools (Roma and non-Roma) but that there is much reluctance on the part of the majority children and their parents to accept the Roma as their equals.

After People to People first visited Tinca in 2005, the Foundation quickly discovered the limited options the Gypsies had for improving their own quality of life when the majority had never benefited from an education. For 50 years the community had no option for school, leaving them little alternatives to a life of begging as children and stealing as adults.

People to People Foundation set about changing their options.  Having been given a former building and additional land around it, some considerable amount of charity funding from abroad was invested in the building development, and there are now 175 children enrolled at the school. 

 Through our project children have access to a well equipped facility in the middle of their neighbourhood with:

  • electricity,
  • running water,
  • inside toilets and showers,
  • heated classrooms,
  • stationery and other school materials,
  • playground  facility,
  • a fully equipped kitchen providing hot meals daily
  • 7 teachers ready to support and facilitate their educational development
  • The chapel (church) and its role to provide the spiritual input needed to the community (Sunday School classes available for children and adults alike)

Considering the great need we ask for help in running:

  • 2  kindergarten classes (50+ kids)
  • 1 pre-school class of 25 kids
  • 4 primary school classes  of 25 kids in each


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