“Djandi-Djando” is a cooperation between balkanbiro e.V. and the association Vakti, a homework and language support project for Roma children in Zemun, a town district of Belgrade. In English “Djandi-Djando” means two times “smart”: smart girl – smart boy.
Responsible persons at Vakti in Zemun are Ivanka and Nedjat Sinani.
In Zemun approx. 6.000 to 8.000 Roma are living in three informal settlements. A large part of the families were asylum seekers in western European countries as a result of the war in Ex-Yugoslavia and often have lived there for a long time. Many children grew up and got socialized there.
The adults have rarely access to the labor market after their return. Many families live far below the poverty line. It is common that several family members live in one room and are forced to housing in barracks or wooden shacks.
The Roma are that the most discriminated minority in Serbian society.
Especially for children, who have returned from Western Europe, the situation is complicated. As their mother tongue is Romani and they speak the language of the country they lived in, they have great difficulties in the Serbian schools.
Therefore, most children do not attend secondary school after their arrival in Serbia, but are sent to special schools for children with mental disabilities taking away from them any perspectives for a future with regards to the labour market and social acceptance.
The tutoring and homework support “Djandi Djando” takes place in a room especially rented for this purpose as public schools are overcrowded and cannot provide rooms. Also, the municipality has no facilities in the Roma settlements. Finally, in the private households usually three generations live under one roof.
Moreover, it is important for the success of the project, that the tutoring takes place within reach of the parents and in familiar surroundings for the children.
“Djandi Djando” offers two tutoring lessons before noon and two lessons after noon in different subjects are offered daily – in groups of 10 to 15 pupils. Supporting the acquirement of the Serbian language is an essential basis of the project. Activities like theatre, work with media like video and radio are an additional feature of the project.
“Djandi Djando” is linking parents and school. The inclusion of the parents into the project is important. Through regular meetings with the parents it is possible to pass on important information and to discuss collectively perspectives for the further education of the children. Public school teachers are included into the project.“Djandi-Djando” will involve students from pedagogical faculties, who can gather practical experience here, and will be open for international volunteers.