Austria takes part in international effort to help Roma
Project directors and social workers from Roma aid programs in five Eastern European countries have been meeting this week in Ostrava, in the Czech Republic.
The gathering came due to an initiative by the Erste Foundation and Caritas international and participants discussed plans to improve the future of the most marginalized ethnic group in Europe.
The immediate goal is an international Roma conference in Hungary at the end of September.
Representatives from the Czech Republic, Hungary, Romania, Bulgaria, and Austria attended the conference. They will in turn be joined by counterparts from Ukraine, Moldova, Serbia, Croatia, and Slovakia at the meeting to be held in Esztergom in Hungary from September 24th to 26th.
Estimates put the number of Roma in Europe as between eight and 10 million. Of these, three million live in Romania, around a million in Bulgaria, and half a million in Slovakia. The majority have no access to education or work, live in ghettos or far-off villages without sanitation, clean water, or electricity.
The governments of the relevant countries are working to improve the conditions of Roma, which have deteriorated over the past twenty years.
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