Sheffield student’s mission to inspire city’s Roma community

A student at the University of Sheffield wants to encourage and be a role model for Young Roma people to achieve their aspirations and complete their education.

By Gita Juniku
Thursday, 11 July, 2019, 13:43
David Kandrac, pictured. Picture: Marie Caley NSST-08-07-19-Kandrac-1

When David Kandrac was just a child, he dropped out of education after falling victim to bullying and discrimination.

He was eventually kicked out of school after getting into fights with classmates.

David Kandrac, pictured. Picture: Marie Caley NSST-08-07-19-Kandrac-4

But now, at the age of 27, having moved to Sheffield from Slovakia, he is hoping to inspire other Roma children to complete their education.

David said he was segregated and stigmatised in school in Slovakia and Czech republic because he was Roma.

He said: "I was a very capable child. It was not to do with my capabilities of learning, it was more to do with stigmatisation.”

He said his life changed by the time he came to Sheffield in 2007 and started working as a sales assistant at Ellerton Mini Market.

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David Kandrac, pictured. Picture: Marie Caley NSST-08-07-19-Kandrac-3

David said he was greeted and encouraged to return to education by customers.

He said: "At first I thought, ‘Me? Really?’ but I decided to go back to college to study my maths and English. I worked as a teaching assistant for five years at Whiteways Primary school and Limpsfield Junior school. Then came to university in 2017 and been studying Education Culture and Childhood since then.”

“I wanted to prove to myself and prove to my Slovakian teachers wrong. I want to promote education to the Roma people and show them that they can do it too.

“Many teenagers have come to me and said that I have influenced them - they say ‘You were my teacher in primary school now I’m going to college’.” He said.

David plans to do a PhD in education, work part time as a lecturer and motivational speaker. He also aspires to do more research into education and write books.