Millions of Roma across Europe experience prejudice, exclusion, forced evictions, segregation in schools, lack of access to essential services and hatred that can lead to violence. How do they deal with discrimination on a daily basis and still keep going? What motivates them to hope that the future is going to be better?
Here are four Romani activists talking about their fight for their human rights, the rights of their children and their communities.
Peter and Marcela won their fight against their children being segregated in Roma-only school classes. © Private
Fighting segregated education: ‘You gave us enough power’

Peter and Marcela live in Levoča, Slovakia. With support from Amnesty, they recently won a fight against their children being segregated in Roma-only school classes, although this practice still carries on.
Peter: “I feel Slovak, but I am Roma. I don’t like to be marked as Roma or Gypsy. I belong to society and so do my children. Their future is going to be better. They attend mixed classes – they have more opportunities, and they have a different approach to school. I hope change will come. Separate classes must be abolished. It’s good that people will read about it – if you don’t talk about it, nothing will change or be solved. So it was certainly good working with Amnesty, because in Levoča and elsewhere things have changed now.”
Marcela: “I have fought, not only for my children, but for all children. I would be so happy if the Ministry of Education abolished all separate schools and classes. And I would like other parents to fight, as I have done with my husband. Working with Amnesty International gave me a lot of power and energy. If you weren’t with us I wouldn’t know where to start. It was a big experience for me. You gave us enough power to go on with our fight.