Romanian Roma community has a population of 80 people. The number of members of this community and social structure fluctuates.
The first representatives of this community arrived in Wrocław in late 90s as a result of systemic changes of the Eastern Bloc countries. These changes enabled them to move around the European Union.
The group which lives in Wrocław consists of multi-generational families and 70% of this community are children. I keep in constant touch with this group for several months.
We visit the places where they live, assist passing through the administrative and legal procedures, during court trials and during the intervention of public officers. We accompany them during visits to hospitals. We organize emergency aid such as clothing or food.
We get to know each other and during subsequent meetings more openly talk about the situation and problems of this group. The initial diagnosis shows that the main problems of Romanian Roma living in Wroclaw are:
1. Homelessness – gazebos where they live in are on the premises of the Municipality of Wrocław. They can be removed from this place at any moment what in fact makes this group homeless.
2. Lack of access to the labor market – on the one hand associated with the stereotypical perception of the community and complex formal and legal situation, and on the other hand ignorance of the members of this group of their rights and obligations arising from the fact of being European Union citizens.
3. Lack of access to medical care – following the lack of Polish citizenship and access to employment the members of the group do not have insurance. The group includes children with disabilities, for whom the only chance is rehabilitation.
4. Lack of access to legal assistance – a poor knowledge of Polish by some members of this group sprevents them from getting oriented in their legal situation and translators are not hired by the courts in case of trials of Romanian Romas.
5. Lack of access to education – parents repeatedly expressed the wish and the need to educate their children, that with great enthusiasm participate in activities organized by us themselves.
In response to these needs from mid-February we organize educational activities for children (physical activities, art, learning the alphabet). Classes are carried by a group of volunteers – teachers, artists, physical therapists. In March we began to teach the Polish language the adult members of the group. Several women were included gynecological care.
We are in constant contact with the Lower Silesian Governor’s representative for National Minorities and Ethnic Minorities, as well as specialists and Romas experts from Wroclaw and Krakow (Prom Foundation, Angelus Silesius Meeting House, field assistant of Roma Education Assistants Association in Kamienna Góra and a long-term employee of the Ethnographic Museum in Tarnów).
We realize that effective aid of this group requires long-term systemic actions and institutional cooperation. Needed are both action-oriented practical purposes-and thus to improve the quality of life of the ad hoc community – as well as strategic actions aimed at implementing lasting change.
According to the report of the evaluation program of the Roma, the actions on the group fit in with the idea of supporting new and unusual groups previously not benefiting from the aid. They are also consistent with the guidelines of the Union, speaking on the prevention of multiple discrimination. If this group the discrimination is based on ethnicity, homelessness and disability (in the group are people with disabilities).
It should be remembered that the term “integration” implies recognition and acceptance of a minority group by the majority group and vice versa. To achieve this state of affairs activities are needed to be taken in both communities, and thus educational and non-discrimination actions among citizens of Wroclaw.
Meanwhile, city authorities and local governments do not perceive the problems of Romanian Roma community as important for the local government and community management in terms of taking care of the quality of life of the community. Getting involved in solving problems of the Roma community is not the subject willingly undertaken by local governments. The only policy pursued in this group is to remove them from the occupied territories and try to make them less visible on the streets of Wroclaw.
We as Nomada Association do not agree with this state of affairs. If you want to support us you can sign the petition to the authorities of the city of Wroclaw
Here you can print it and deliver it to our office or the Falanster cafe.
If you are from outside of Wroclaw, here you can sign it online:
You can see the matter through articles appearing recently in Wrocław Gazeta Wyborcza:
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