Mária Baranyi

* 1974  

  • As far as I can remember, I always loved going to all the educational institutions since I started nursery. The extra bonus in the nursery was that, unlike home, there were books of tales. The nursery was supplied with everything. That was a great incentive. School, on the other hand, brought success. When mother was taken to hospital, our impression was that it was all very well that our aunt and the others loved us to bits but we were always second to her own children. At school I managed to overwrite this by working hard. I could be the major focus of attention and it didn’t matter that I wasn’t a child of their own. So the attention that I couldn’t get within the family, I could easily get at school by studying hard. I can only piece together now as an adult what might have actually happened and why. So I figured out at school that all I have to do is do my homework and get prepared for the next schoolday and I can be as good as anyone else. It has no relevance whatsoever that I have no books of tales at home, my clothes are not as pretty, my lunch is not as neatly wrapped up as theirs. All these didn’t matter at all. All that matters there are my achievements. It was nice to experience that at school. For me it was an equaliser of opporunities, the way I put it now. K.: Does it mean that you didn’t experience any discrimination at all? V.: Well, I might have been discriminated against but I didn’t notice these incidents. I have no eye for spotting it even today. I may be discrimination blind. There may be some people who don’t like the fact that I am Roma but I just don’t take any notice. And i am indebted for this to father Lajos (Lajos Javorka), a very modern thinking, youthful reverend. He wore jeans, drove a Trabant and he bundled all sorts of kids, Romas and non-Romas into his trunk and I completely believed him that everyone is the same int he eyes of God and all that matters is your heart and your actions. God doesn’t care if you are ill or not, Roma or not. For me it is obvious that I am not worth either more or less than anyone else. That’s how I have lived my life. That’s why I didn’t have any sensitivity for being treated badly. Moreover, it was a mixed school for both the Roma and the non-Roma.We were sitting next to each other behind the same desk. It was not an issue.

  • I can’t exactly remember under what circumstances, but mother was presented with an opportunity, an offer to take a conductor role with the Volan Company. And this was a once in a lifetime opportunity back then. She completed a company training course. I’m not sure whether you remember, but back in those days there were conductors on the boards of buses. And Mother was fairly popular. She was loved by people. And so she had lots of friends. She was enormously popular. And had the looks as well. She went to see the hairdresser on a regular basis, wore skirt suits and she was always neat. And then came the days when she was succumbing to her illness, she could not get about on her own but was not crippled yet, and, I don’t know how but found a new opportunity for herself. Herbs and snails are still collected in villages today, and Mother bacame an intermediary. She bought them and sold them on to the entrepreneur. Mother, rather smartly, could get a small income out of this. This is how I saw her, always making something out of nothing. It was also quite a statement that she was the only one in her family who dared get a divorce. This wasn’t allowd for the Roma, especially not in those days. It is still not encouraged but nowadays many of them do get one. But back then it was unfathomable that she sues for a divorce and gets it. Nonetheless, she did, becoming an avantguardist and a trailblazer in this respect as well.

  • I heard that the Hungarian Radio is about to launch a Roma Media Trainee Program. There was a deluge of applicants. The requirements for the interview were very tough. I self-prepared for it and went for the interview. They took me on. There were the five of us admitted, three to Radio Kossuth and two to the Hungarian Televison. Once the trainee year was over they called to offer me a one year contract. I was over the Moon! One year later I was given a permanent contract and I worked for them for six years. I worked for all sorts of magazine shows that I listened to when I was a child. It was literally a dream that my card opens the door of the Hungarian Radio. It was too good to be true. Also, the way sounds were breathed life into. This dream period lasted for quite long. Eventually, I ended up in 180 Minutes. This was a morning news program. A lot of stress and effort. My speciality was socio-reports, so it was still along the old social worker line. There was no need to start from scratch, I could rely on my previous knowledge an contacts. They tolerated that I had no knowledge or affinity to politics but I was good at social topics and will volunteer to do the onerous part of the workload. I will do the field work and it will be flesh and blood reports that I bring back with more people opening up to the microphone. In return for taking more than my fair share of the work I could establish my own turf. ”If it is a socio-report, Marcsi will go. ‘Superb! Just out of this world!’ I was also highly acclaimed professionally. There was, for example, a campaign called Get closer! about how disabled people are presented in the media. At this contest my report entitled The Blind Boy and His Dog won the first prize.

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    Budapest, Oral History Archive, 07.02.2017

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I know that I can not fall off the palm of God

kislány.jpg (historic)
Mária Baranyi
photo: Baranyi Mária

She was born on May 12, 1974 in Diósjenő. Her father and her mother came from a family of (romungró) Gypsies. Her parents were primary school graduates. Her parents divorced in 1977. Mária with her mother and younger brother moved to a small village in Nógrád county, Alsópetény. Her mother was a ticket inspector, later she organized the collection of medicinal plants and snails. Her father worked in a tile factory in Romhány. Her father committed suicide in 1990.Mária learned in high school health professionals in Vác (adults gained vocational nurses). 1993 she worked in the National Cardiology Institute in Budapest. She learned word processing, then she completed a course in child and youth protection officer. In 1998 she began working in the family support service. In 2000 she began her studies at the János Wesley Theological College. She learned the making of the documentaries Black Box Foundation. She graduated in 2005 (social worker). Between 2009 and 2015 she worked in the Hungarian Radio, she was journalist for the magazine programs. (She has been forgiven in 2015.) After it she attended a mediation training. Since 2016 she works in the family support service as a mediator. She has been active as a volunteer. She directed three short films. (Zsani (2004), Pogácsásjulcsi (2010), Csoki és Vanília (2011.) Her movie (Pogácsásjulcsi) was awarded the Faces of Poverty Film Festival in 2011.