by Valkana Iliyanova Kostova & Radosveta Dimitrova
I thought to share with you the text below written by a Roma girl, who won the first place at the essay completion at the International Roma Day in Bulgaria 2014. The content of the essay is very touching and I would like to give voice of this little girl that has also participated in my latest research project in Bulgaria. I would very much appreciate if you disseminate it via your networks (below there are also the Bulgarian and Italian language versions).
I remain available for further inquires.
Many thanks in advance and best wishes,
Radosveta Dimitrova, PhD, COFAS Marie Curie Fellow, Department of Psychology, Stockholm University
One world with common dreams
by Valkana Iliyanova Kostova
The mirror is in front of me. I look at myself and hear the rhythm of a familiar song. I concentrate for a bit to start my essay, as my teacher told me to, and to talk about myself; about my thoughts, my wishes, my small world, but the echo traitorously whispers to me “Gypsy”… a word I have heard so many times behind my back. Yes, I am a Gypsy girl, I live in a Roma neighborhood on a muddy street where it is not uncommon to see a kid and a dog playing together in a pool. To walk barefoot and hungry is part of everyday life. In this place belongings are few but there are many smiles. So I smile and I will begin to tell you about my small world, the world of the Gypsy girl.
With birth, every creature on this earth – a tree or a flower, a bee or a person – has the right to live and to breathe; to grow, to gather sunrays and winds, to dance under the rain, to enjoy the stars above. These intelligent creatures, the people, receive another right – to dream. My dreams are my other world, my internal self, and my plans for the future, my rainbow of hope.
The red color of the rainbow is my wish to be accepted and understood. I have been studying in this school for three years now and we are all Roma kids. Up to now, the others did not know me but now I want them to know me better and to like me. I already have a lot of new friends and I hope they will all come to love me. Orange determines my love for all people on the Earth – independently of the colour of their skin, ‘race’ or religious beliefs. We have to be equal, to understand and love each other. Yellow brings my dreams about what I want to become when I grow older – sometimes a fashion model, sometimes a doctor to help people, sometimes a teacher. Whatever profession I choose, it will be about caring about other people.
Green is my wish to travel around the world – to go to England, France, China and most of all India (it is suggested that this is the place my ancestors came from). I know how beneficial it is to meet new and different people, to find new worlds. Lilac is the hope that people around the world will be happy. There will be no devastating earthquakes, hurricanes, volcano eruptions and floods. We need to follow and respect the laws of nature because nature is our mother protecting us. White is my dream about peace – without people being killed, hurt, suffering or lonely.
This is how, on my horizon, a fully-colored rainbow appears. This rainbow brings peace, hope, well-being, love and understanding. All colours are merging into the blue one – the colour of faith. People have to believe in their dreams and fight to achieve them. Our dreams and wishes are different, our ideas and goals are different. Piece by piece they build our world, give it a meaning and help it develop. Dreams do not have an ethnic belonging. They are the flight of the thought and the soul. The mirror is in front of me but I do not need it anymore. My glance escapes outside the window. It starts raining. The rain is pouring down on the muddy street. The sun is trying to reach out of the cloud and, out of its rays, the water drops on my window and they are shining in the colours of my rainbow – the rainbow of hope. This is the rainbow of the Gypsy girl.
Valkana Iliyanova Kostova
Varshez, Bulgaria, Middle school “Ivan Vasov”, 7th grade
See also the original Bulgarian version and the Italian translation.