I Can be Anything I Want

“Ever since I was in school, I dreamed of working with children. When I was a teenager, I danced in the Roma folk group “Sham” and I imagined singing with my own little students, and showing them the alphabet and pictures. Unfortunately, like many young girls from my community, I got married too early - right after finishing the 12th grade. I wasn’t able to win support from my husband’s family to enroll in a pedagogical degree. My husband was against my continuation at a university, because he was influenced by his parent’s opinions, and they in turn were guided by the traditions of the community.” 

This is the story of Radostina Kamenova from the city of Montana.

“It is not typical for a Roma woman to pursue a higher degree. She should be a housewife and a mother first and foremost. But when I started working as an assistant at the Family Consultative Center six years ago, my husband’s relatives realized that my outside employment did not interfere with my family commitments. My husband also began encouraging me to apply to the university. The most decisive motivation came from my sister and cousins, who have master’s degrees in different fields and well-paid jobs.

I chose to teach because, in addition to being a childhood dream of mine, the teaching profession is important to society and is always in need of a new cadre.

This year I will earn my bachelor’s degree. I worked for three years as a social worker and during my last year of study, I was also an educational mediator at a school in Montana. My experience working with children from vulnerable communities convinced me unequivocally that they must be included in the educational system as early as possible.”

Radostina is a participant in the Young Roma Teachers project, which is currently helping 43 young Roma to become teachers. The project first supports preparation and application to the university and then later helps participants to find a job in their field. 

“I admit that my four years of study at the university have not been easy. I went through a lot of challenges that demotivated me. I would love for my story to serve as an example for other Roma to see that it is never too late to make your dreams come true.”