On the steps of the government on behalf of the Moldavian Csángós

Realizing that from national strategic considerations the question of the Moldavian Csángó Hungarians needs a special handling, the Hungarian government pays accentuated attention to this ethnic group.

In 1999 the Government Office for Hungarian Minorities Abroad (GOHMA) initiated a professional consultation, where among the experts of the subject (ethnographers, historians) and the representatives of the government, the delegates of the organization of the Csángó Hungarians were also present. As consequences of the conference they drafted that a gradually built, tendentious supporting mechanism should be developed for the sake of the efficiency of the assistance. Since 1999 there has been an official dealing with the coordination of Csángó matters at GOHMA.

As a result of the consultation, a new supporting system was introduced at the Illyés Public Foundation, which provides a special opportunity for the Csángós to obtain financial aid through applying to the expert committees. For this purpose in 1999 and 2000 each expert committee of the Transylvanian sub-advisory board had to expend 5 % of their budget on supporting Csángó applications, but the sub-advisory board handled these applications with special care in 2001, too. Since 2000 the representatives of the Moldavian Csángós have been present in the expert committees of the Transyvanian sub-advisory board of the Public Foundation.

In 2000-2001 the Illyés Public Foundation, the GOHMA and the Apáczai Public Foundation as well as the Ministry of the National Heritage (MNH) accentuatedly support the promotion of preserving the identity and the language of the Csángós. The MNH lays emphasis on three fields: education, culture and research. This support made the organizing of the summer camps in Külsőrekecsin, Somoska, Pusztina, Frumósza and Magyarfalu possible. It contributed to the re-publishing of Pál Péter Domokos’s book titled “Moldvai Magyarság” (Hungarians in Moldavia) and to the publishing of Imre Harangozó’s “Ott hul éltek vala a magyarok” (Where the Hungarians had lived), as well as to the organizing of extracurricular Hungarian language teaching in Moldavia. The MNH supports many cultural programs, e.g. the tour of the Kaláka Ensemble among the Csángós in Moldavia, Gyimes and Hétfalu (Gyimesfelsőlok, Pusztina, Somoska, Külsőrekecsin), international dance camp in Gyimesközéplok, programs for children, etc. In the field of science the Ministry helped the research programs of the Kriza János Ethnographic Society in Kolozsvár (“Research on the present of the Csángós”) as well as the work of the Hungarian Linguistic Society (“Sociolinguistic and linguistic geographical investigation of the language usage of the Moldavian Csángós”).

As the experience of the last few years shows, education in Hungarian, which is the most important means of preserving the identity and stopping the language loss of the Csángós, cannot be carried out in schools in Moldavia, though paragraph 32 of the Romanian Constitution and a departmental order of the Ministry of National Education (3113/31-01-2000) guarantees the use of minority languages in education. As a compensation, in the term 2000-2001 extracurricular Hungarian language teaching started in two villages in Moldavia (in Klézse and Pusztina) with the participation of almost 150 children.

According to the above, the development of the Szent Erzsébet Liceum in Gyimesfelsőlok into a Csángó educational centre is also supported. Gyimesfelsőlok provides opportunities for primary and secondary schooling of Csángó children not only from Gyimes but also from Moldavia. The Liceum plays a significant role since the whole course of education takes place in Hungarian, while in Moldavia Hungarian is taught as a foreign language, outside school.

The Hungarian Ministry of Education offers ten Csángó students scholarships every year in Hungarian institutions of higher education. The ME also aids the Domokos Pál Péter Foundation, which supports the (Hungarian) schooling of Csángó children in Transylvania.

In January, 2000 a conference was organized by the GOHMA about the questions of worship of the Moldavian Csángós with the participation of the concerned. They considered the possible solutions in the interest of promoting worship in the mother-tongue.

In June, 2000 the Ministry of Education organized the First Csángó Educational Conference in the Apáczai Csere János House of Teachers in Csíkszereda. The topic was the experiences in teaching Hungarian for the Csángós in Transylvania and Hungary, and also the proceeding steps.

In respect of youth matters, the joining of VIA SPEI (the Moldavian Csángó youth organization) in the work of Hungarian youth organizations in Hungary and abroad is a great leap forward. At the Hungarian Youth Conference (organized by the Ministry of Youth and Sports) there are three representatives of the Moldavian Csángós at present.

The visit of Zsolt Németh, the political secretary of state in the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, and Tibor Szabó, the president of GOHMA, to the Csángós’ land shows that the issue of the Csángós is important for Hungarian politics. During the visit Zsolt Németh pointed out that the start of teaching Hungarian (Hungarian as a foreign language) in the Csángó villages would be really significant.

A report made by a Finnish representative, Tytti Isohookana Asunmaa for the Cultural, Scientific and Educational Committee of the Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe calls the attention of the international organizations to the Csángó Hungarian culture. Report No. 9078, accepted by the Committee and complemented with Recommendation No. 1521 by the Standing Committee of the Council of Europe, will be discussed by the Committee of Ministers.

Report on the Csángós
Tytti Isohookana-Asunmaa: Csango Minority Culture in Romania 

(4 May 2001 – Committee on Culture, Science and Education – Doc. 9078)