Educating Igor


Released : 2015


A Faction Films Production for Al Jazeera

Al Jazeera documentary follows a young Roma man on his quest to learn and his mission to teach

Educating Igor is an upcoming Al Jazeera documentary which takes a look inside the isolated, impoverished world of Slovakia’s Roma community. Often excluded and derided as ‘gypsies’ this is the story of Igor and his sister, Irma and their efforts to use education to change the future for the children in their community. In a small, converted shipping container, Irma has set up a school house. Working with only a small group of children and with the help of Igor, she is struggling to prepare them for life outside their Roma settlement. Seeing the positive impact of Irma’s work inspires Igor to want to join her as a teacher. Another catalyst, a police raid on the settlement that left several people hurt, including Igor. He realised that without an education he would only ever be perceived as a petty thief and liar.

To achieve this goal he must first finish his own education. After dropping out at 14 to help support his family and then spending years abusing drugs, now, at the age of 26, he is returning to the classroom.

In his pursuit Igor must overcome daunting hurdles, one is language. Though he lives in Slovakia he only understands Hungarian Romani. He must also find a school that will accept him. Finally, using social media, he identifies a Buddhist school in Hungary that works primarily with Roma students. But there is the ongoing reality that as a long marginalised minority, frequently discriminated against and abused by outsiders, instilling in his own community that education can bring change, can alter their future, may be the greatest obstacle. Educating Igor is about finding the passion for creating change and the challenge of risking it all to believe in yourself.

Educating Igor premieres on Sunday 1st November at 2230GMT as part of Al Jazeera’s flagship observational documentary strand, Witness.  Witness films bring global stories to life from insightful and intimate personal perspectives. Igor’s story reveals the daily obstacles faced by isolated and impoverished communities like the Roma.

Available online at

Producer/Director:   Sylvia Stevens

Associate Producer:  Ben Cunningham

Camera:                      Karim Shah