Meet Nada from Team Vajska: “My Inspiration is the Fight for the Education of Roma Children”
Our Team Vajska consists of people with a big heart who nurture multiculturalism and diversity. Among them is the fearless Nada Petrovic, a pedagogical assistant, who believes that by opening a preschool in the village of Vajska, a greater number of Roma children will have a happier childhood.
The village of Vajska, as well as the entire municipality of Bač, is known for being home to as many as 25 national minorities. That is why in this area, in working with children, the emphasis is always placed on learning the language of the environment, socialization, and inclusion of as many marginalized groups as possible. Only in this way, can preschool education inspire multiculturalism and erase any stereotypes that arise in the early years.
Nada Petrovic also helps in working with preschool children as a pedagogical assistant. She is the mother of three children, a 4-and-a-half-year-old boy Marko and 2-year-old twins. As a member of the Roma national minority, her path to education and professional development was marked by a great fight against discrimination.
“When I was a teenager, none of the Roma children enrolled in high school, I was the only one. I graduated from the Medical High School in Novi Sad and after that, I did an internship in healthcare for a couple of months. There was no place for further employment, but I did not let that stop me! I decided to continue with my studies and graduated from the Vocational School for Teacher Education in Novi Sad, so today I have the title of a vocational educator. Also, I can proudly say that since 2011 I have been working as a pedagogical assistant within the preschool institution “Kolibri” in the municipality of Bac. Every day I help with the development and education of Vajska’s children, and that makes me infinitely happy! ”- told us Nada.
According to the latest MICS survey, only 7% of Roma children in Serbia aged 3-4 attend preschool education programs. This means that a large number of Roma children do not have the opportunity to grow up in a stimulating learning environment, where they can develop basic motor, social, emotional and cognitive skills. It was noticed that learning numbers and letters is especially challenging in the education of Roma children and that preschool education would significantly help them with that.
“During my studies, I was inspired by the fight to help educate as many Roma children as possible and help them become their own people. The teacher that taught me until 4th grade, was my biggest role model. Because of the way she taught me and my classmates, I didn’t know there were other national minorities and different children. We were all the same. It was only in the 5th grade that I felt that something was happening. I noticed that the fact that who I am and where I belong does not suit someone. People had stereotypes and prejudices, even though I was like other children. And then the withdrawal started, as well as the questions why is that so and what is different about my family. It took me a while to realize that I was actually the same as everyone else, ” Nada explains.
Unfortunately, the same questions are asked by many children of Roma ethnicity and other national minorities, which leaves negative consequences on their development. That is why our Foundation wants to provide all children in Serbia with equal opportunities for growing up. By building and adapting preschools, we help our children use their full potential from an early age. So far, we have opened 45 preschools, but we need another one, in the village of Vajska!
“In order to learn how to fight the discrimination that followed me, I went to various educational training. At first, I wanted to strengthen myself, so that I could help others afterward. That’s how I realized how important it is to work with children from an early age. It is necessary for children who are of Roma nationality or other national minorities to start getting to know, understand and socialize with other children as soon as possible. Preschool helps them improve their speech and learn to express emotions. Then in the first grade, they know how to socialize, and they don’t develop the belief that someone knows something more than them just because they don’t speak the same language. “
Join our “Season of Giving” campaign and help us provide a better childhood for 60 children from this small village. Become part of the Team Vajska by donating via this link.
“Every year, about 60 children from Vajska and the surrounding villages enroll in preschool, and our current study room can only accommodate 20 children. That is why I am very happy that together we will open a new preschool with additional capacities because then I will be able to help a larger number of Roma children. They usually do not know how to hold pens or how to speak. I am here to help them because I speak Serbian and Romani-Romanian. I want to help them become good people and use my path as an example of why it is important not to give up on education “- Nada summed it up for us.
Awaken the team spirit and the heart of the champion that is hidden inside you and help us provide every child in this area with a place in preschool. By supporting Team Vajska, you encourage a community of different nationalities that live in harmony and mutual respect. Only together can we reach the goal!