The Baroque Refectory of the Dominican Monastery in Prague will host the seventh annual concert in support of the Václav Havel Scholarship on Friday, 31st March from 7.00pm. The scholarship is intended for boys and girls from Roma families. We believe that education can help the Roma community overcome the problems they face.
In previous years, the organising team of students from The English College in Prague managed to raise a total of 2 million czk through the annual Václav Havel Scholarship concerts and related activities. In the last school year, the second Roma scholarship holder was able to start his studies at ECP in Year 1.
Even in the time of Covid the benefit concert took place. It had a virtual form (online) and attracted great support. Also, in the time of Covid, students announced an art competition Three times what! and a literary contest A Pumpkin for All. The well-known Romani English author Richard O’Neill collaborated with them on the literary competition. The now annual art competition attracted a great response throughout the country. It helps spread awareness about the need for education for Roma children. The pictures that the children and their teachers send to the competition form part of the auction. The profits from the sale are also used to support the Václav Havel Scholarship.
New fundraising cycle
Last year, the students started a new fundraising cycle. Within the next five years they aim to collect the amount needed for the next holder of the Václav Havel Scholarship. The next scholar will enter the school when Adam finishes his studies at ECP.
“My huge thanks also go to everyone involved in the Václav Havel Scholarship initiative, both now and in the past. I hope that even after my departure this initiative will continue and enable another Roma student to have the great chance in life that this scholarship gave to me.” said Marek Horváth, the first recipient of the Václav Havel Scholarship.
A number of talented high school students will perform at the concert. The event will include performances by well-known Romany musicians Milan and Petr Horvát. A Romany conservatory student Martin Balog will perform as well. A number of important personalities have donated interesting objects or books to the auction, which will take place during the concert. The winners of this year’s art competition Třikrát co! will also be announced at the event.
Week of Roma Culture and Diversity
The concert is preceded by the Week of Roma Culture and Diversity. A number of activities related to the topic of Roma culture will take place in the school, and at the same time students will focus on the topic of freedom.
During the week, a wide range of activities will take place. There will be film workshops – How I Became a Partisan and Vox Populi, a presentation by the Kher publishing house, a talk about Roma literature, a lecture on the roots of the Roma, a workshop on the Roma Holocaust led by the Museum of Roma Culture, a visit to the Concentration Camp in Lety, a sports tournament in table tennis and a debate about freedom with important guests. The invitation was accepted by Patrik Banga, Filip Boháč, OP a Jan Urban.
The partners of the Week of Roma Culture and Diversity are Charles University, the Institute of Documentary Film, the Museum of Roma Culture and the Roma Publishing House KHER.
Both the concert and the competition received the Patronage of the Ministry of Education of the Czech Republic this year.
“Václav Havel said in May 1995 at the memorial of the internment camp for Roma in Lety that the quality of our relationship with ethnic minorities is a measure of the quality of our society. I believe that the efforts of our students, together with the generosity of all the supporters of this initiative, also contribute to its improvement to a non-negligible extent,” said Nigel Brown, Headmaster of the English College.
You can watch a video from last year’s concert here.
You can find information about the scholarship and the possibilities of its further support on the school’s website and on the website of the scholarship.