8 April, 2014

I am a Romani woman… I have a dream…

Category: Discrimination, European Action Day, Guest writer, Roma
Community Manager
8 am

roma girl paintingBy Denis Samkova

I am a Romani woman. I am a Slovak woman and I am a European woman. It is not just the geographical location why do I call myself Romani, or Slovak, or European. There is a lot more that goes beyond that and I would like to start with this connection. I call myself a Romani, because I am attached to our people, our history, values and traditions as long as freedom and respect of rights of others is respected. It is a part of my identity, also as being Slovak and European.

Today I can proudly proclaim that I am a Romani. It was not always like this and I went through a long period of thinking who I am. It is difficult to be a young Romani in Slovakia as everywhere else I think. You always meet with wrong presumption of others, concluding that you are not much educated, probably having already 5 children in my age, 23. I still experience when I meet people I do not know, they would never think I am a Romani, because in their stereotypes, I do not “look like” a Romani. When I graduated a bilingual high school with English as a primary language I continued at university in Bratislava, program European studies and International Relations. I worked as an English teacher at a private language school for three years and since October 2013 I am doing civil service in France until June 2014, which is very similar to European voluntary service. When I return to my country I want to continue studying law at University and become a human rights lawyer.

I have a dream. I wish that every young Roma, or it does not matter what minority or nationality they claim to have, I mean every young person, would totally embrace their personality with everything that belongs to it. I know how it is when you feel forced to hide part of your identity, because you are afraid of being somehow excluded. I believe that we, young people have all the tools to change and motivate others to join our dynamic movement. It is necessary that we express our opinion and take part in activities or events that can improve our situation.  We need to be one voice when it comes to hate speech, hate crimes and any kind of discrimination, which is getting more and more force and unfortunately it seems to be accepted by many people. The society needs to condemn such practices, and we need to raise awareness how dangerous it can be.

It scares me that people known for this kind of practices are now being elected and having political power.  We are afraid in our own countries and this is not right.

On the occasion of International day of Roma I would like to tell you “Thank you”. I am thankful that I have met so many inspiring Romani people coming from all over the world. I am thankful that we are so many fighting for the same values.  There is much work to be done, but we, young Roma from all over the world have the potential to change, to motivate, to challenge and to speak. Let’s move on!

I see a light rising in the distance

We have that power to make a difference

Our people always looking for a hope

Shooting and cries, hate replacing love

We do not want this kind of world

Many expect from us not to say a word

Opre Roma! Hate should not have a place

We want peace for all people no matter of what kind of race

The time has come for us to act

We will move and be loud

There is much work to be done, so let’s go out!


  1. Lidia

    I highly relate to what you’ve said and dealt with throughout these years, it is truly difficult for us to reveal our identity and hiding it just worsens it, I’ve never been able to truly connect with the people around me, school mates were always kept aquintances and never brought them to my house for fear that my mom would make some grammatical errors in her speach or that I might be forced to reveal my past, financial situation, reasons for moving to several schools, the jobs of my parents, their culture and beliefs, etc. I feel like they won’t understand and pity is what I fear to receive from them. As I grew up I became more conscious about the treatment Romani people receive, I’ve been there, I’ve seen it happen to others, it’s a feeling of shame, of hurt and avoidance. It hurts to be bullied and made fun because of your ethnicity, to hear their mean comments about people like you or to be ignored and judged. Seeing the people like you facing poverty, poor access to education, racism, humiliation and underestimation fills you up with rage and anger towards those fully developed countries who still haven’t figured out how to integrate them in society. This makes it hard to integrate and blend in with people, the culture and others. I deeply appreciate those few who’ve made it, who’ve somehow figured a way out of this loop hole, but as I’ve said they’re only a few who have made successful stories out of their not so successful past, hence it’s hard to reveal your identity. I am 19, born and bred in Romania, of Romani ethnicity and an immigrant in the UK. I try to get out of this loop hole, still in education, got top grades and recently I’ve been elected student governor, but it’s hard to be true to myself and to others, my identity is a curse and a blessing: I always failed at making connections with people but was always determined to prove that I can do better than them, it closed and opened doors for me, if I’d tell them about it, they’d probably never believe it, they’d say that I don’t look like it or act like it. That’s just how it is, I wish that in the future I’ll be acceptant of my roots and that others would be less ignorant and more tolerant to other cultures and backgrounds.


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