I am István János Lázi (Benő). Originally from Sajókaza, I come from a family of five children. My father died early, so my mother raised us by herself. She was unable to get a permanent job, but if she could, she would take up seasonal work just so we would have a little money. In addition, we counted on an orphan pension and our family support allowance, which was enough to keep us from starvation, but little to live on. I was lucky because my head teacher looked after me. Once he even asked me what I want to do in life, whether I wanted to just get by, too? Did I want to keep going to moneylenders? Did I want to beg? Did I want to break out of this situation?

I thought about what he said, and I answered his last question with a yes. But I was sure that this was impossible. András Ujlaky, the Director of Phare, and Tibor Derdák and János Orsós, who were working for the further education of the Gypsy children, looked me up, because they were establishing a merit-based dormitory for Roma children in Ózd. They encouraged me to consider applying and learning there. They accepted me to study in Ózd. The dormitory covered our travel expenses, and accommodation and meals were free, so I was able to successfully complete my exit exams. During summer holidays, I was able to attend an intensive language course in Budapest, supported by Peter Felcsuti. Now I work as a pedagogical assistant in Miskolc, so that other disadvantaged young people can pass their exit exams, as I did.