Don't miss

Replay


LATEST SHOWS

THE DEBATE

France's Burkini Ban: Identity politics go to the beach (part 1)

Read more

THE DEBATE

France's Burkini Ban: Identity politics go to the beach (part 2)

Read more

FOCUS

Chancellor Merkel's immigration policy faces test on her home turf

Read more

FRENCH CONNECTIONS

Understanding the burkini ban

Read more

BUSINESS DAILY

US Treasury lashes out at EU tax probes

Read more

INSIDE THE AMERICAS

Olympic Hangover: festive mood dampened by gloomy economy

Read more

IN THE PAPERS

British professor says 'no shame' in reading romance novels

Read more

IN THE PAPERS

Libération:'STOP hunting for burkinis!'

Read more

EYE ON AFRICA

Closing arguments presented in the ICC trial of the Malian Jihadist who destroyed shrines

Read more

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

REPORTERS

REPORTERS

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

2016-08-04 Afghanistan

Afghanistan's Kunduz, a city under Taliban threat

The northern Afghan city of Kunduz is being slowly rebuilt after it briefly fell to the Taliban last year, and a hospital was destroyed by US air strikes supporting Afghan ground...

Read more

2016-07-29 2016 Olympics

Video: Olympic refugee team goes for gold

Of all the athletes competing at the Olympics in Rio, there are ten in particular who stand out. They are all refugees who have fled war, terror and violence. Fleeing DR Congo,...

Read more

2016-07-08 history

Video: The trial of Chad's ex-dictator Habré, an inconvenient ally

In May, former Chadian president Hissène Habré, who ruled his country with an iron fist between 1982 and 1990, was sentenced to life in prison for "crimes against humanity,...

Read more

2016-07-01 agriculture

Video: FRANCE 24 speaks to French farmers in crisis

France is the EU's largest agricultural producer, but its farmers are faced with administrative constraints, falling sales prices and debt. Many are pushed into depression and...

Read more

2016-06-23 World War I

World War I: When northern France was on German time

During World War I, thirteen of France's regional departments were under German occupation. For four years, two million French citizens took their orders from Berlin. No more...

Read more