In the 21st century, the most numerous minority from Europe, that of Gypsies, continues to have problems, suffering from discrimination and the extremepoverty: 10 times bigger than of the surrounding populations.
Migrating from Northern India to West, the number of Gypsies from Europe is now about 10 million. According to statistics, there is at least 1 million Gypsies in France, over 800 000 in Spain, over 300 000 in Great Britain, more than 300 000 in Greece, and in Bulgaria, Serbia, Turkey and Slovakia, the percentage of Romany population reaches 5%.
Officially, in Romania live approximately 535 250 Roma men, according to the census from 2002. Unofficially, their number rises to almost 2 million, in the opinion of NGOs. Gypsies are documentary established on the Romanian territory since 1385, but their status was that of a slave. On September 12th 1782, the King Iosif the Second settled the status of Gypsies in Transylvania. If they were caught speaking their own language, they were punished with 24 whip strokes. They had been forbidden to live in their tents, to beg and they had been asked to come to church and to work in agriculture. A turning point in their agitated history occurred in 1942, when began the first transportation in Transnistria, where 36000 Gypsies died. In the Romanian Communist Party’s documents, the existence of the Romany ethnicity was not even mentioned.
A report of UNDP - The UN-program for development - from 2003- warns that Gypsies from Central and Eastern Europe live in similar conditions to people from African sub-Sahara.
The report states that one out of six Gypsies is in a permanent starvation and a Gypsy child out of three doesn’t graduate the elementary school.
Another report from April 2007 of Soros Organization reveals that Romany population continues to confront with extreme poverty and the social problems deriving from it. According to the study, the death rate and the incidence of diseases inside the Gypsy community is much bigger than inside of the left population.
The reasons which lead to the precarious health condition of Romany people are usually the consequences of poverty, of discrimination and of cultural misunderstandings. Frequently, Gypsies live in isolated settlements, without easy access to medical units or hospitals.
Thus, the life expectancy inside the Gypsy community is with 10 years lower than for the rest of the population and the incidence of TBC, AIDS and viral hepatitis cases is disproportionately high for the Gypsies from central and Eastern Europe.
Numerous social, economic and cultural causes follow the avoidance of joining school or the scholar abandonment of Romany children. One of five children lacks literacy (he can neither write, nor read); a Gypsy person having higher studies is a rarity, as only 4% of the whole population is in possession of a university degree. The lack of material potential is invoked for it, but the early marriages and discrimination in schools are other facts which contribute to decrease of Gypsies’ interest for studies, as well as the vast distance that some children have to overcome to the school.
The low level of Gypsies’ education causes difficulties in economic integration for the representatives of this ethnicity. The bad qualification and the employment in jobs with a low income are brought about by the insufficient education and professional qualifications. In the case of Gypsies, the unemployment rate is twice as high as for the non-Romany. These problems keep the population in poverty and lead to a slow social integration.
After all this, can you get along with a Gypsy’s destiny, which is prescribed from birth to have a life under constant discrimination? Often, a closer look and some more details about their culture can help us understand how they really are. A lot of things you have known about them until now are only unjust prejudices. Discrimination rules their life and it is our and your task to stand up against this …