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Community-level support

Community-level support for Roma across emerging Europe needs to be matched with the political will to ensure that the region’s most discriminated people are no longer marginalised by society.

12 april 2021

Given more prominence than usual, April 8 marked International Romani Day, which celebrates Romani culture and raises awareness about this oft-discriminated European minority.

And yet despite many campaigns across the emerging Europe region by NGOs, and despite the European Union’s inclusion initiatives, Romani people remain disproportionately poor, live in tough conditions, and are exposed to racist violence.

According to European Commission’s Fundamental Rights Agency around 80 per cent of Roma are at risk of poverty.

In the article by Emerging Europe, entitled “Political will is needed to end discrimination of Roma in CEE”, published on April 9th, 2021, Ms. Donka Panayotova explains that NGO Organization Drom is one of the oldest NGOs in Bulgaria. Over time, they have deployed a model for school desegregation, which has been followed in other CEE countries.

“Thus, we estimate we supported over 4,000 Roma children, providing them access to quality education, and we have over 200 young Roma who have successfully graduated from colleges and universities in the country and abroad,” she says.

But, the government ended up not having the political will to carry these reforms through to the end. Had they done so, Ms Panayotova says the issue of school segregation could have been solved once and for all.

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