The IOCB Tech Foundation is stepping up to support a scholarship program for Roma students in secondary schools, vocational colleges, and universities. Since 2016, this program by the organization ROMEA has been crucial for Roma students' education. Now, the IOCB Tech Foundation will provide one million crowns over the next two years to help increase the program’s reach. This scholarship program has already helped hundreds of students achieve a better education. 

Last December, representatives from ROMEA and the IOCB Tech Foundation had their first informal meeting to set the stage for this new partnership. The foundation, created in 2022 by IOCB Tech, a subsidiary of the Institute of Organic Chemistry and Biochemistry of the Czech Academy of Sciences, aims to support the development of science and its practical applications, as well as raise public awareness about the importance of scientific research. So far, it has donated over 35 million crowns to various causes.

"ROMEA helps dozens of Roma students get the quality education they wouldn't be able to afford otherwise due to their families' financial struggles. We want to make this assistance even more accessible, so we can see more Roma scientists, architects, or doctors. Our society can't afford to lose so many talents just because of social reasons. That’s why we decided to support this project," says Barbara Eignerová, Chairwoman of the Board of the IOCB Tech Foundation.

The donation from the IOCB Tech Foundation will support not only the scholarships but also tutoring, school supplies, and participation in BARUVAS meetings. 

Štefan Balog, the scholarship program manager, mentioned that the foundation is the first donor from the academic sector and hopes this collaboration will inspire other donors.

"Investing in education is the best investment because it always pays off. We already see successful Roma university graduates today, and I believe the same will be true for the next generation of young Roma who will enter the active workforce immediately after their studies," says Štefan Balog.

Since its start in 2016, the ROMEA scholarship program has given out 605 scholarships to 282 students. However, due to limited funds, the organization can only provide 80 scholarships each year.

"Hopefully, the step taken by the IOCB Tech Foundation will inspire other academic institutions, foundations, companies, and individuals to contribute any amount to improve the chances of young Roma to get a quality education. These young people will become successful professionals and give back to society many times over," added Balog.

The ROMEA scholarship program is funded solely by private contributions from foundations, companies, and individual donors who donate through the portal.