About the Roma

Today, the Roma is Europes largerst minority found in many of the European countries. Their history is, seen from a social and humnaitarian perspective a dark one, that they also share with the jewish people. During the holocaust many roma vere sent to the nazi concentration camps and labour camps. A widely used estimate for the number of Roma killed during World War II is 500,000. Social exclusion and intolerance is has been norm durig many years. At various times Roma have been subjected to expulsion or arrest solely on the basis of their ethnicity.

As an ethnic group they originate from the nothern parts of India. But by the early part of the first millenia they, for unknown reasons, migrated from the northern parts of what is today known as India, towards Europe. They are known under many different names; Gipsys, that they, misstakingly originated for Egypt, or Tsigan, a degrading name. Today they are commonly know under the name Roma.

The situation of the Roma today
In recent years, their situation has become increasingly more difficult. Even though the Roma are spread throughout Europe, Romania together with Bulgaria has Europe’s largest population of Romans. In Romania, with a population of 22 million, the Romans make up 2.5% (el. 535,000) of the population. But an unofficial estimate claims that they are more than that, figures between 8.3 – 11.5% of the population, which corresponds to a number between 1,800,000 – 2,500,000 Roma. But it is difficult to have these figures confirmed.

The proportion of poor people in Roma is three times higher than the average proportion of poor in Romania. Poverty among the country’s Roma is complex and multidimensional. It is related to a number of different factors, including poor health and educational status. Limited opportunities in the labor market and discrimination, all of which give birth to a vicious cycle of poverty and segregation, resulting in unemployment and social exclusion. A downward spiral that is difficult to get out of. The Romans, as a ethnic group, depend to a large extent on the help of the community to survive.

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