A LITTLE ABOUT THE ROMA PEOPLE
Roma refers to many different subgroups of people across Europe. Roma
share a common language, Rromanes, which has a number of dialects.
Historians think the Roma's first ancestors arrived in Europe from
Northern India. From the 9th century they could be found across
the whole of Europe. Traditionally, Roma travelled from place to place,
although the majority are now settled in various countries. In many
regions, Roma were forced into slavery. In the 1930s the Nazis in
Germany saw Roma as "racially inferior" and murdered hundreds and
thousands of them during World War II.
After the war, discrimination continued especially in the Soviet Union. The word "gypsy" is considered insulting and "Roma" became the accepted global term in 1971 when representatives adopted a flag, anthem and international day (8 April).
Today, two-thirds of Roma people live in central and eastern
Europe, with the largest population in Romania.
Millions of Roma live in slums, often without running water or electricity. They struggle to access health care, and many live with the daily threat of eviction, police harassment and violent attacks.
Children suffer segregation in schools and receive a lower standard of education. The Roma situation is not simply the result of poverty, it has been brought about through centuries of prejudice and discrimination.
Their plight may seem hopeless, but as Pastor Misho in Ognyanovo village, Bulgaria, says, "Our hope is in Jesus, and we
are bringing that hope to this community."