Crina Morteanu is a young Romani woman who was born in a village in the south of Romania in a Roma musician family. During her primary and high school years, due to her ethnicity, Crina faced discrimination from both colleagues and teachers. However, these experiences did not put her down but encouraged her even more to study law in order to be able to defend herself and her family from discrimination. While pursuing her bachelors in law, Crina discovered human rights as a tool to fight against discrimination. As a result, in 2009, Crina completed with honours her Masters of Laws in Human Rights at Central European University in Budapest, Hungary, where her career began to take shape.
Since then, Crina has been focusing her work on Roma rights and as such she collaborated with some of the most prestigious national and international non-governmental organizations as well as European institutions in Europe including the European Roma Rights Centre, the Roma Education Fund, the Open Society Foundations, the Chance for Children Foundation and the European Commission. In 2016, Crina was the Human Rights Counselor of the Romanian Minister of Justice where she managed the portfolio of the Romanian penitentiary system as well as contributed, inter alia, to the implementation of some of the activities comprised within the Romanian Roma Strategy 2015-2020.
Crina believes that education is the key and one of her research interests is to understand how the right to education of Romani children can remain unaffected when thinking of the social and legal challenges that most of them face.
Assen is a Bulgarian Roma, who arrived in the UK in 2012. He has more than 20 years experience of Community Development within the Roma community, not only in Bulgaria but throughout Eastern Europe. He managed the Roma-Lom foundation in Bulgaria for 10 years, a very successful Roma Community based organisation, where they had many significant successes with local Roma communities. Grandfather of 4 (for now!).
He is married to Stephanie and they have three sons. Paul began working with us in September 2016.
Funding arrived in summer 2017 for Paul to begin a second year and to double his hours as our education project continues to develop across Luton.
Paul and Stephanie spent a few years with a foundation which worked with Roma families in Bucharest. Together they worked to encourage a number of marginalised families to enrol their children in school, and as a foundation acted as a link between the parents and the school whilst trying to empower and encourage the parents to take responsibility for their children's education.
As part of this they initially assisted the children in their journey to and from school and helped them with their homework a few days a week. They took part in running a summer school to help the older children remember what they'd been taught the year before, and to help prepare the younger children (who hadn't been to any form of preschool) for starting school.
Alina Petaca is Roma from a large family made up of 6 brothers, from a village in Alba Iulia, Romania.
She worked as a teacher for 6 years, was a member of the Pakiv Association, vice president of the Romano Suno organization and has been RRomani language teacher. She has participated in various projects that have focused on the cultural identity, history, culture and traditions of the Roma people.
Mariana is a Romani woman from Bucharest. She has experience of working with the Roma community in Romania for around 15 years, with a focus on educational projects and social interventions. She believes that Romani youth have the possibility to improve the image of Roma community in UK.
Mariana has a focus on assisting the Roma community in making their applications to the EU Settlement Scheme to obtain their settle or pre-settled status.
Muhammad has been working in the finance and accounting fields since 2017. He Graduated with a Master’s in Accounting and Business finance from the University of Bedfordshire.