August 03


The Lottery of Birth

The Lottery of Birth

Birth is a lottery. Where, when and to whom you are born and the society into which you are born will influence your life chances.

Last week I spent 3 days in beautiful places in the East part of Slovakia. My colleagues and I visited Poprad, Preshow and Kosice. Actually the aim of our trip was visiting Roma settlements near those cities.

Population in Slovakia.  According to the census by the Statistical Office SR by 31.12.2011 the total population of Slovakia was 5 404 322 inhabitants.  Roma population is  402 840, (those who are generally considered as being Roma) – thus the share of Roma is 7,45 %

Till this trip I considered that Roma are very free and very colorful  nation with authentic music and culture. Now I know that they are very free and colorful but they live in terrible conditions.

First of all we stopped in town Svinia. In this town live 2000 people and 1400 of them Roma people… And 600 of them children.. All this people live without water, electricity, without roads without past and future and without hope… They 273have no house, because that huts they live in you can’t called house… They live in shacks… Actually I did not see adults there, but there were lots of children, the crowds of children. They were everywhere: in dirty and ragged garments. But they were happy with the smile on faces. Maybe because they don’t know about other normal life… The only thing they wanted me to photograph them, they ran after me and asked to photograph them.. That’swhy I have a lot of photo with Svinia Roma children…

Then were couple other settlements and they were not so terrible, one was good enough with church in the middle of town, with nice houses with water and electricity. I was in Roma house there. Hostess were cooking pirohy  (national dish) and a small child was playing on the bed with laptop.  So Roma people can live in normal conditions we just have to help them…

And the last one impressed me a lot – the ghetto near Kosice –  Lunik 9

The big segregated settlement with population more then 7000 of Roma people.

They live in blocks of flats without sewage and heating systems. And just only 300 adult people have a job… And all this town looked like after the some kind of apocalypses : buildings with black walls without windows and doors and a little boy was playing football with a broken ball..

People are living in each of these villages I saw and in all the others settlements. There are lots of such settlements in Slovakia. The same people as we are. But they  have not pulled the lucky ticket in this lottery.  And all of them live a very different life, as we are, despite the fact that they live in the heart of Europe!

So, the Birth is a lottery, and in our force be patient and helpful for those who lost 255in this…