What is the SASTIPEN Network?







The Rom peoples (and their different groups: sinti, manuches, calós, lovara, calderas – which go by a number of different names: gitano, zingaro, gypsy, cigano, zigeuner, tsigane...) make up an ethnic and cultural minority which dates back to the 12th century in Europe. By the 15th century, these people had established settlements in every European country and now total an estimated 8 million.

They comprise a very heterogeneous community with a set of linguistic and social organisation characteristics and values which give them a common identity. These people are proud to call themselves "Gypsies" and would like to be recognised as such.

For the Rom peoples, as well as for any other group of people, health standards are a significant indicator of inequality, quality of life and degree of active involvement in society as full-fledged citizens. Unfavourable socio-economic conditions, educational deficit, difficult access to the labour market, health-care deficiencies and a low standard of living, are a few of the aspects responsible for the Gypsy people being among the most disadvantaged and problem-ridden ethnic groups in Europe.

Drug addiction and HIV/AIDS are two of the most devastating health problems affecting the Gypsy communities in our countries and add to the existing social stigma making it even harder for a Gypsy individual to get ahead.

The policy currently being implemented in Europe is having an ever greater effect on the problem through its support and promotion of initiatives that facilitate synergies among the different entities that intervene on behalf of the Gypsy population in Europe. This explicit support which grew out of an understanding of this group’s peculiarities, has led to the creation and implementation of this informal network comprised of national organisations from different countries (ASGG – Spain, UNISAT – France, REAPN – Portugal and CNCA – Italy) that do social intervention work with and have a deep understanding of the Gypsy peoples.

What the SASTIPEN network offers is a space in which to meet, reflect and exchange ideas and experiences. It is a springboard from which initiatives can be launched to raise the Rom community’s standard of living mainly through drug addiction and HIV/AIDS intervention.



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