First day of school in Bulgaria – Junio

Bulgarian Gypsies are an ethnic group with strong historical ties to other European Gypsy groups. They have played significant economic and cultural roles in Bulgarian society since their arrival at least 600 years ago. In the 1970s, as part of the socialist  government’s assimilation campaign, the ethnic category “Gypsy” was abolished, and the word has begun to disappear from print. Despite the official denial of the existence of Gypsies, they are a growing population with a complex relationship to the socialist government. With the current retreat from one-party domination and the demand for democracy, it will be interesting to follow the fate of the Gypsies. Long-standing discrimination is not likely to disappear.

A number of Gypsy groups have been sedentary in Bulgaria for centuries, while others have been forced to settle more recently. The abolition of nomadism has been a goal of virtually every European government: an 1886 Bulgarian decree prohibited nomadism and the entry of Gypsies from abroad. Gypsies prefer to live in their own neighborhoods, but since the 1950s the socialist government has implemented a policy of integrated resettlement of Sofia Gypsies, tearing down many old neighborhoods and assigning housing in new apartment complexes.

Our Knowledge about Gypsy is made of stereotypes and one of these is that they are work-shy, lack education, and aspire to live on benefits. If you search for “Gypsy” or “Roma” on some websites, you’ll find story after story that perpetuates the myth that this community is ridden with crime, tax avoidance and voluntary unemployment.

Their problem is not dissimilar to that of the unemployed in the UK, who attend low achieving schools, have a high rate of non-attendance and academic failure, have higher rates of association with crime and often live on council run housing estates, where the average Brit would never set foot. British buyers in Bulgaria are also renowned for wanting to know about the number of gypsies in the village before they buy a property and many are guilty of the same prejudice as some of the local population. Many expats also choose to send their children to private Bulgarian schools for fear that their children’s education will be disadvantaged by the inclusion of the children of gypsies in the Bulgarian education system.

I don’t know if this is true or not bur after having visited the school, then, which is my opinion about the Gypsy communities? that we must perhaps stop judging a community for the actions of a small  amount of criminals and start to consider them only for what they are: people like as us.

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