A brief description of the communities...


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A brief description of the communities...

  1. 1. Brief introduction to the Roma and Travellers in the UK
  2. 2. Between 120 00 and 300,000 Gypsies and Travellers are estimated to live in Britain today (it makes the population of Gypsies and Travellers as large as the Bangladeshi community).
  3. 3. Travellers can be divided into two groups: Ethnic Groups Non ethnic Travellers Romani Gypsies New Travellers Irish Travellers Showmen Scottish Travellers Roma immigrants (they have come to Britain from long-settled communities in Eastern Europe) French Manush Gypsies
  4. 4. The Nomadic lifestyle Around half of Gypsies and Travellers nowadays live in houses. The other half live in caravans on private caravan sites, public (council) caravan sites and on unauthorized encampments wherever they can find land that is suitable.
  5. 5. The Culture There is no one Gypsy and Traveller culture, just as there is no single Gypsy and Traveller community. But most Gypsies and Travellers have certain cultural things in common, which have evolved over time in response to the conditions created by life on the road ( the characteristic of being a minority or being oppressed by a dominant group within a large community.
  6. 6. Myths and Truths about Roma
  7. 7. Myth: Truth: Gypsies are foreign. Much Gypsies and Travellers have been media coverage talks of Gypsies part of British society for over 500 years. and Travellers “invading” places.
  8. 8. Myth: Truth: Gypsies are dirty. Gypsy culture is built upon strict codes of cleanliness learnt over centuries of life on the road. Concepts such as mokadi and mahrime place strict guidelines, for example, on what objects can be washed in what bowls. Gypsies view gorgias (non-Gypsies) as unclean because of the way they live. For example, Gypsies and Travellers rarely let animals inside their homes, because they believe them to be carriers of disease.
  9. 9. Myth: Truth: Gypsies are criminal. Members of the Gypsy Roma Travellers communities are statistically under represented in the main stream prison population. Just as in any other ethnic minority, some Roma are involved in crime. But Roma and Travellers say they have been criminalized by laws created to curtail their traditional lifestyle.
  10. 10. Myth: Truth: All Gypsies live in caravans 90% of Gypsies across the world now live in houses. Being nomadic is more common in Western Europe. But even here only 50% of Gypsies live in caravans.
  11. 11. Myth: Truth: Gypsies do not pay tax. Traditionally many Gypsies Roma and Travellers are self-employed and pay tax like anybody else.
  12. 12. Myth: Truth: Gypsies and Travellers are work shy. There is a strong work ethic in the Gypsy culture, based on the need to survive. Gypsy and Traveller often start work younger. Tradional skills are passed down to the next generation.
  13. 13. Problems faced by the Roma and Travellers communities
  14. 14. Accomodation Traditionally, Travellers were able to stop on commons and green verges, which are commonly know as ‘traditional stopping places.’ But most of these traditional stopping places have now been closed off through ditching, gating and bunding (creating large earth embankments). This forces Travellers onto less suitable pieces of land such as parks and playing fields and brings them into conflict with people in houses.
  15. 15. Sites -There are a significant number of Travellers who have no legal place to stay - perhaps as many as 15-20,000 people (made up of about 10,000 Traditional Travellers and 3,000 new Travellers). -A third of the nomadic Roma and Traveller population is homeless (Under the Housing Act 1996, a Gypsy or Traveller is homeless if s/he does not have a lawful place to put his or her caravan or living vehicle.) -90% of planning applications by Travellers are rejected, compared to a national average of 20% overall -No access to permanent pitches on authorised sites can lead Travellers to move into houses
  16. 16. Houses A lot of Travellers view housing as a last resort and a desperate measure brought about by the high levels of stress that are often experienced by members of this community. -A move into house can lead to severe depressions -Moving in a house can engender victimisation, discrimination and harassment from the neighbourhood. -Moving in a house means isolation from the highly supportive and secure extended family groups and communities.
  17. 17. Economy/ work A difficulty to adapt: Roma and Traveller communities were once a crucial and vibrant part of The agricultural economy. However, it is now largely mechanised or dependant on cheap Eastern European labour. Activities such as old trades like knife grinding and horse-dealing have very little relevance to the modern information economy.
  18. 18. Health -Life expectancy: It is significantly lower than average; a Traveller man’s life expectancy is around 10 years less than a man in the Settled population; a Traveller woman’s life expectancy is reduced by around 12 years. -Health Problems: Health problems amongst Gypsy Travellers are between two and five times more common than the settled community. They have the poorest health outcomes even among the other minority groups in England Gypsy Travellers are more likely to be anxious, have breathing problems and chest pain. They are also more likely to suffer from miscarriages, still births, the death of young babies and older children.
  19. 19. The reasons -The blatant discrimination, bad communication with and ignorance about Gypsies and Travellers within the healthcare system -Traveller’s attitudes to health including a traditional belief in relying on your self or family, suspicion of health services and a belief that treatment won’t do any good anyway. -The effect that lack of access to education and decent accommodation has on Gypsy and Traveller health.
  20. 20. Education - Roma and Traveller is the ethnic minority which suffers from the highest rates of illiteracy. -Traveller children are most at risk of failure by the Education System: In 2003, 23% of Roma Gypsy pupils and 42% of Irish Traveller pupils in England obtained five or more A*-C GCSEs, compared with an overall average of 51%.
  21. 21. The reasons -Discrimination: they are bullied by pupils and staff. -Fear: The parents of today’s young Gypsies and Travellers (many of whom received little or no schooling) are suspicious of what comes with education. They see school as a source of what can only be described as ”gorgification” ( becoming like a non-Gypsy): a process that weakens Gypsy and Traveller identity and values. -Cultural reasons: Gypsies and Travellers do not value formalised education as highly as the settled population because they expect to be discriminated against in the labour market and so, they value forms of self-employment much more highly than formal education and employment. -Economic reasons: teenage Traveller girls are often expected to help at home or with caring for their younger siblings and teenage Traveller boys are often expected to be working with their fathers receiving in effect an apprenticeship in how to earn a living.
  22. 22. Racial prejudice -Media Headlines: Winning the war against travellers Knife wielding youths attack gypsies in Hyde Park Beware of working travellers warning Travellers need to clear off Police warn landowners over travellers
  23. 23. On the other hand…
  24. 24. Accomodation The sedentary population always expresses a lot of fear before the installation of a site in the neighborhood. However, this is often due to a lack of knowledge. Once sites have been established, many of the fears expressed by the sedentary neighbors dissipate and their experience of problems or conflicts are far fewer than they had anticipated.
  25. 25. Work -Gypsies and Travellers already with a tradition of setting their own business took advantage of the mobile phone technology to develop businesses such as fixing houses, plumbing etc -Some of the traditional works are still relevant today such as collecting and selling scrap metal.
  26. 26. Health Health has always been important to Gypsies and Travellers. An old Gypsy proverb says Gypsies value three things: freedom, health and love, for without freedom there can be no health and without health love cannot be enjoyed. Not having access to public health services has led Gypsies and Travellers to develop strict rules of conduct around cleanliness.
  27. 27. Environment A traveller has a carbon footprint six times less than settled individuals.