Don't miss

Replay


LATEST SHOWS

FOCUS

Judicial reforms: Polish government on collision course with the EU

Read more

BUSINESS DAILY

Euro, stocks slide on Merkel's lacklustre election win

Read more

#THE 51%

Hola 'Ellas Hoy' - The 51 Percent welcomes its sister show on FRANCE 24 Spanish

Read more

IN THE PAPERS

Donald Trump Vs NFL: America's divider in chief or America's saviour?

Read more

IN THE PAPERS

National security or personal freedom? French MPs discuss anti-terrorism bill

Read more

MEDIAWATCH

Dotard: An educational insult

Read more

THE WORLD THIS WEEK

Power Play in Barcelona, May's Brexit speech

Read more

PEOPLE & PROFIT

Brexit and the city: Paris, Frankfurt, Dublin vying for new business

Read more

#TECH 24

Medtech: Repairing the human body

Read more

REPORTERS

An in-depth report by our senior reporters and team of correspondents from around the world. Every Saturday at 9.10 pm Paris time. Or you can catch it online from Friday.

Latest update : 2011-09-27

Is France the promised land for Roma people?

Ever since Romania joined the EU in 2007, France has been faced with an influx of Roma dreaming of a better life. But often the road ends with expulsion and they are sent back to square one. Far from being discouraged, these Roma immigrants refuse to give up on living in France, and cross the border again and again. France 24 followed one such family on their quest to fulfil their French dream.

Facing discrimination in Romania, the Roma people often decide to look for a better life in Western Europe. In Barbulesti, a small village around 60 kilometres from Bucharest, half of the 7,000 members of the Roma community make round trips to France. The Duduveicas are no exception. For three years, this Romanian family lived in Boulogne-sur-Mer, in northern France. But in the summer of 2010 they were expelled. Their aim ever since then has been to return to France, the land of their dreams. “I do care about my life”, says Romeo Duduveica, the older boy of the family. I saw my father begging. And this is not a life. I don’t want to live my father’s life”.

The decision is taken. The Duduveicas - the father, the mother and their two boys, Romeo and Adrian - are ready to leave. Having gathered all their belongings into one suitcase, they start their journey back to France. They do not care about the distance - 3,000 kilometres - or the conditions (they travel in a crowded, improvised minibus). Their adventure ends on the French Riviera, in the south of France. Compared to Barbulesti, the Croisette in Cannes is a dream come true. This is a place where they have some acquaintances: other Roma families from their native village who have settled in the region. “Now that I have this chance to become somebody, I don’t want to spoil it, says Romeo. Here, I feel like I’m up to it”.

School registration a priority

Laura, the mother, is well aware that without education, her children have no chance of success. So school registration is her priority. Richard Pfau, a volunteer for the Education Without Borders network, helps them obtain an official address in a Catholic mansion, in the city of Grasse. But they actually live in a derelict house, without water or electricity, in an industrial suburb, together with another four Roma families from Barbulesti. “One must never lose hope because there’s always something to be done, explains Romeo, smiling. As long as you are healthy and alive, you can go through everything”.

Helped and guided by Richard Pfau, the Duduveicas succeed in getting an appointment with the headmaster of Saint Hilaire high school in Grasse. In less than an hour, the children are registered at the school and the family is relieved. In case of arrest, the authorities might now be more tolerant with them. It looks like the Duduveicas have won their bet. Although they can still be expelled at any time, they now hope to start a new life on the French Riviera.

By Mirel BRAN

COMMENT(S)

Archives

2017-09-22 Middle East

The torment of Christians living in Syria’s Khabur valley

In the last few years, Syria’s Christians have been subjected to violent attacks and kidnappings by the Islamic State group. Churches have been burnt and entire villages in the...

Read more

2017-09-15 Middle East

Video: How the Haredim, Israel’s ultra-Orthodox, make their own rules

In Israel, the Haredim community (or "Those in awe of God") lives separately from the rest of Israeli society. Dressed all in black, these ultra-Orthodox practise a strict form...

Read more

2017-09-07 DR Congo

In DR Congo, karate helps rape victims rebuild their lives

For the past three years, Frenchwoman Laurence Fischer, a three-time world karate champion, has travelled to the war-torn Democratic Republic of Congo to help female victims of...

Read more

2017-09-01 Japan

Video: Returning home to Fukushima

On March 11, 2011, a powerful earthquake and tsunami in northeast Japan triggered the world's worst nuclear disaster since Chernobyl, in 1986. Just like in the Soviet Union,...

Read more

2017-08-23 Africa

Video: The fight for survival in drought-hit Somaliland

Since the beginning of this year, Somaliland, an autonomous territory in the Horn of Africa, has been ravaged by severe drought. As eighty percent of the region’s livestock has...

Read more