Roma Children in Ukraine: Photo Essay
In Ukraine live over 130 nationalities. According to the 2001 census, 47,917 persons are ethnically Roma. However, unofficial sources estimate the number of Roma to be up to 400,000 persons in country. They face similar problems as Roma in other countries in Europe: limited access to the quality healthcare and education, high level of unemployment, deplorable living conditions, discrimination and exclusion.
Most Roma families have many children, who live in extremely poor conditions suffering from TB and other infectious diseases. Access to education and health care for this group is limited due to various factors such as language, segregation, discrimination and stigmatisation. Speaking only Romani language and entering pre-school and school, Roma children do not understand teacher’s instructions and very soon become “diagnosed” as mentally disabled. Instruction in Romani language is available only in few special “Sunday schools”. There are no examples of information and education materials for mothers and families regarding safe motherhood, child health, nutrition, care and development, vaccination, HIV and TB prevention in Romani language.
To address the needs of the Roma population, the Council of Europe initiated development of the National Plan for Roma in Ukraine with involvement of the UNICEF to develop programmes aimed at improving access to quality mother and child health care and ensuring early child development.
View photo essay "Roma Children in Ukraine”.