“Agence France-Presse reports that expert analyses on the situation of Romani people in Romania say their lot is improving step by step thanks to projects run by NGOs and Romani elites. It will take a long time, however, for the vicious circle of poverty to be broken in the community.
According to official data, 620 000 Romani people live in Romania, which is one of the poorest European Union countries. NGOs, however, estimate their numbers at two million.
“Almost 500 years of slavery have significantly left their mark on the fact that there is no equal opportunity here. Romani people were not emancipated until 1856,” says Magda Matache, a politically engaged representative of the Romani community. Matache, who previously directed the Romani Criss organization, the main NGO protecting Romani people’s rights in Romania, recently won a stipend to study at Harvard University.”