Colombia: Romani Residents Embrace Their New and Traditional Identities
The Romani people in Colombia are proud of their government for fostering a culture of acceptance within the community. In 2005 the number of Romani residents in Colombia was estimated at 5000 people, but has now grown to more than 8000 people within the last decade. Many of the Romani people in Colombia do not fear persecution, and enjoy several social benefits.
According to the China Global Television Network: America, “In 1999, the Colombian government officially recognized the Roma people as one of the country’s ethnic minority groups, so they can access educational, health and legal benefits.” CGTN America reports that the official recognition is viewed as a beautiful act by Roma who are not originally from Colombia, but are still accepted into Colombian culture.
Many of the Roma in Colombia balance their Roma and Colombian identities by speaking Spanish in public and the Romani language at home. Though a new generation of Romani community members pursue higher education and fresh careers, family units still strive to preserve their Romani culture.
CGTN America reports, “At cultural events they share food, music and palm readings. They live a patriarchal family life, and try to pass on oral traditions including Roma code and laws.” Romani people are choosing to settle down in Colombia and learn to balance integration into a rich Colombian culture, while maintaining their own rich traditions.
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