Insight into the lives of the people in Told

by Porczió Ágnes (former Buvero 2013 participant)

“The girls picked up their cameras at a devastating sight. When they arrived they realized: it is not an overstatement to say, Told is the village of deep poverty.”

On the commission of Romedia Foundation, three Roma girls, (Leila A. Balázs, Fanni Gurbai, Ágnes Porczió), with the help of their mentor (Norbert Szirmai), went to shoot a video in a small village in the county of Hajdu-Bihar, called Told.

Approximately 300 people live here, of which 70% are Roma. Most of the local families live in deep poverty, under terrible circumstances. There are streets that are not connected to the main water supply at all. Some of the houses are in uninhabitable shape, in which families with small children live in lack of an alternative. A number of these houses are not furnished. Many of the gardens don’t even have toilets in them. Most of the parents can’t enroll their children in school, no matter how smart the kid is, because there is no school in the village. The town is completely segregated geographically. They can’t afford to pay the bus ride for their children to the school in the neighboring city. There are many among the middle-aged inhabitants who are illiterate.

House from Told

House from Told

Nóra Ritók, the director of the Igazgyöngy Foundation, is working to mitigate these difficult circumstances. The first stop of the four-member crew was Berettyóújfalu, where they met the director; they got acquainted with the foundation and some of its projects. There they could admire the embroidered objects with patterns based on children’s drawing. Among the objects were cushions, pencil cases, bags, aprons, wall decorations. This project provides employment for several women in Told. They also saw the donations, and got acquainted to the foundation’s employees; Nóra showed them the village, told them about the problems, and about the “successes” achieved so far.

First they visited a house which once was in a terrible shape: the walls were pierced with rat holes, the ceiling soaked with water, no toilets, not even in the garden, and a constant slide hazard endangered the safety of the mother, her five children and her pregnant daughter-in-law who were living here. However, the girls and their mentor couldn’t witness this, they could only imagine by the account of the woman, since the foundation assured the renovation of the house. The renovations are still in progress with the help of the men in the village. The five children and their mother, Mari, sleep on a blanket laid on the floor, and cook on an outside stove in the garden until the renovation of the house is completed.

The next shooting sight was the common garden, which also is the property of the Foundation. They interviewed the manager of the employees working in the garden, he told them that they employed twenty workers, and that the products were distributed among them at harvest. They grew tomatoes, paprika, cucumber, potatoes, corn and a number of other vegetables. On the other side of the yard they are fabricating biomass briquettes; the girls interviewed the chief of the crew, Tücsök (Cricket). He described the work process. He also told them, that he loved is job; and that he provides the warmth in the winter for several families. In the small houses on the premises, young women teach how to maintain a hygienic household and cooking. In the back of the building there is a carpenter’s workshop, also providing employment for many.

Member of the Igazgyöngy Foundation/ helps build houses

Member of the Igazgyöngy Foundation/ helps build houses

The next stop was the community center: this is where the women and girls come to sew and do embroidery. They also have a couple of computers, s that the young people can use the Internet. And some only come to sing and dance. The crew members had the chance to talk to the locals in front of the building. They told them how poor they were, and how there was no work possibility for them, they live from one day to the other. They also told the interviewers how much Nóra was helping them; she is the one bringing light to their dark and hopeless reality, she helps to feed and to dress up the children, she buys them their medication, she encourages them to study, and last but not least, she provides moral support for everyone in the village. One of the women told us: “Nóra is a pure person with the heat of gold, we adore her!” Another young girl said: “I don’t know what would happen to the village if it wasn’t for Nóra”.

The foundation is full of new ideas for future projects. The director draws her strength to accomplish her work from her previous success and from the love of the people.