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8th April, International Roma Day 2020 [editar]

On this International Roma Day 2020, we wish to highlight the inequality which continues to afflict the lives of many Roma girls and boys, and which has worsened under the current lockdown


 8th April, International Roma Day 2020

Now more than ever Sastipen thaj Mestipen (Health and Freedom)

On 8th April, International Roma Day is celebrated across the world, to remind us of the story of the Roma people and to pay homage to Roma victims of various forms of persecution through the centuries. The date was chosen to commemorate the World Romani Congress held in London on 8th April 1971, at which the Roma flag and anthem were first instituted.

This year, the celebration coincides with the Covid-19 pandemic and with a public health crisis in Spain which is severely affecting many Roma families, combining with the grave situation of poverty and exclusion which many of them already face. 86% live below the poverty threshold, with 46% of households living in extreme poverty. At the Fundación Secretariado Gitano we have insisted since the crisis began that the public authorities must take urgent measures to protect the most vulnerable, to ensure that no one is left behind.

This 8th April, we also wish to highlight the situation of Roma girls and boys and their right to education under equal conditions with the rest of the population. With a child poverty rate as high as 89% (with 51% in extreme child poverty), measures must be taken urgently to close the gap in conditions, which the lockdown is currently making even wider for Roma children. A lack of resources causes additional difficulties in receiving online education. 79% of Roma homes do not have a computer, and many do not have internet access either. This has repercussions for the children’s ability to acquire digital skills, knowledge and abilities. The existing inequality is thus increased and puts Roma girls and boys at a disadvantage in their education, worsening conditions and narrowing their opportunities. Their lack of technical resources and technological knowledge exacerbates the situation of social emergency in the vulnerable neighbourhoods where many of these families live.

We have adapted a video from our Roma School Desk campaign (launched in 2019), highlighting the barriers which Roma children face, and which explain the fact that six out of ten of these boys and girls fail to complete secondary education. To these barriers (inequality, lack of support, segregation, etc), we can now add the digital divide.

At the Fundación Secretariado Gitano, we demand that the public authorities urgently provide protection to girls and boys in vulnerable neighbourhoods, guaranteeing that they will be adequately fed, that they will receive support to carry on their schoolwork, and that they will not be put in any other situation of risk.

The FSG regional teams and its more-than 256 educational professionals have been working harder than ever to meet the needs of the Roma population, particularly those of Roma girls and boys, by providing educational advice and support among other things, and by searching for different ways to close the digital divide.

The Roma School Desk. 8th April 2020