^ Vissza Fel

“Feminism”: A distorted word

A few weeks after arriving to Săcueni I experienced a somehow unusual situation. The flat where we are currently living was in the process of being furnished and redecorated so everything was a little messy. One morning, the man who usually helps us with the maintenance of the house came to install a shelving unit in the bathroom and some dust was left behind after using the drill. It is common for the language barrier to cause misunderstanding and so I wrongly handed the man a cleaning brush to sweep-off the dirt. “No, no! Boys strong, girls clean” -he said with his rudimentary English skills. My facial expression instantly showcased confusion and my feminist side fired up when I answered back: “No, no! Boys strong, girls strong, boys clean, girls clean”.

 Expectations were reinforced during an experiment conducted with a 12-year-old boy and girl from the Liceul Teoretic Petőfi Sándor Elméleti Líceum in an attempt to establish whether the gender cleavage had already defined their identity. Having been given the options Girl, Boy and Both I asked the following questions: Who is smarter? Who is better at cooking? Who is better at fixing cars? Who likes pink? Who can be an engineer when they grow up? Even though they seemed dubious when facing some of these questions, they strongly agreed in that girls are better cooks, boys are better at fixing cars and that pink is a girly color. 

Above the clouds

While watching a scientific documentary on the TV, a 10 years old girl asked her parents with a bewildered tone in her voice: “If above the clouds there is the space, where does God live? Where is heaven?”. As the time passed, Imola figured out that God lives amongst us and following the steps of her presbyter father decided to devote her live to the Lord by becoming a priest. Her chosen career path stroked me as a revelation given that in my short life span, I have neither met nor seen a female priest. Even though this fact might sound unearthly to those faithful members of the Protestant church, readers need to acknowledge that for most people around the globe this is a unimageable and distant achievement because most religious institutions still do not allow women to opt for leadership roles. However, this seemed not to have been and an obstacle for Imola Tokar who is currently exercising her duties as an assistant priest for the Protestant church of Săcueni. 

Behind closed doors

 Is student segregation the best solution? 

The fact that the parents of Roma children do not enroll them in the education system until they are 6 to 7 years old, seems to be perpetuating the existing intercultural tension between the distinct ethnicities coexisting in Săcueni. Our interviewee stated that in the past, several projects were implemented at schools with the aim of integrating Roma children into the educational sphere. However, mixed classes have so far turned out to be a struggle for certain members of the community given that 1st grade Romas do not have the learning aptitudes that their Hungarian classmates acquired during kindergarten.  

 It was their limited knowledge of the Hungarian language, coupled with their inability to hold a pencil or write properly what sparked a feeling of frustration and unsuccessfulness amongst the teaching staff. The school average score ended up decreasing because teachers were unable to neither go at the desire paste with the study programme, nor tackle the specific needs of Roma children.  

Old trends in an innovative world

Earlier last year, Ér Hangja Médiacsoport managed to win its first ESC project titled Volunteers for supporting European Cultural Diversity. This amateur hosting organization has been for nearly 10 years the eyes, ears and mouth of Săcueni, which is a small town located in Romania and close to the Hungarian border. Thus, making use of their powerful media influence their aim with this ESC project is to focus on preserving and promoting the cultural heritage of the region as well as incorporating European values.

A flick through time with Nagy Mária

 1940s to 2000s 

“I prayed to God every night so that he allowed my family and I to come back to Săcueni” said Marika Néni as she recounted how her life unfolded under the Socialist Republic of Romania. It was 1964 when this family of four decided to move out of Săcueni and into a coal mining territory, in an attempt to alleviate the precarious living conditions which most people around the country were experiencing. Having returned to their place of origin after a decade, our protagonist noticed that the deterioration of Romania’s political and socio-economic landscape had escalated. 

Where the past meets the future

How much do you really know about your culture, its values and traditions? And, what about the history of the place where you were raised? It is astonishing to note how an increasing percentage of young and middle age people tend to disregard the answers to these seemingly uncomplicated questions. This occurs as a result of cultural heritage preservation being overlooked and neglected by most communities around the world, despite the enormous advantages it can offer both at a socio-cultural and economic level. In an attempt to overcome this issue and encourage more people to become involved in the matter, the EU declared 2018 as the European Year of Cultural Heritage. Given the timelessness and relevance of the topic, it would be stimulating to bring Săcueni locals closer to this initiative while assessing the importance of their participation, and revealing in what ways could the locality obtain benefits from it.