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June 26, 2022



Czech civil society representatives from the Grand Initiative: We couldn't ignore the inhumane conditions in which the Romani children and women fleeing the war are living in Brno

11.6.2022 9:47
Kristina Studená (left) and Anna Demčuk (right) of the Grand Initiative in Brno, Czech Republic. (June 2022)(PHOTO: Jarmila Balážová)
Kristina Studená (left) and Anna Demčuk (right) of the Grand Initiative in Brno, Czech Republic. (June 2022)(PHOTO: Jarmila Balážová)

According to representatives of Brno's Grand Initiative, children and their mothers of Romani origin who are refugees from Ukraine in Brno have been living in conditions that are inhumane  and it was no longer possible for them to idly watch how the city has refused to provide them aid. The representatives described what they have observed in an interview for ROMEA TV.

"It is terribly undignified and if you compare how much aid the white refugees from Ukraine are receiving, it is incomparable. Actually, the Roma do not receive any assistance," Anna Demčuk said in the interview.

They named the initiative after the Grand Hotel, because the City of Brno engineered the relocation of the Romani Ukrainian children and women from the railway station onto land near that building. "A lot of people from the circles of different nonprofits, but also individuals who are interested in doing something about this situation have joined the initiative and we began to coordinate aid for the Romani refugees," Kristina Studená told ROMEA TV.

"One person began looking for material things - strollers, diapers, hygiene supplies - another began looking for food, others then dealt with their medical care. We have been doing our best to improve the conditions here on the spot, so we came up with the idea that there should be a screened-off area where there could be a shower and we brought one," Studená said, adding that the Grand Initiative is coordinating the aid with Brno Team, a Romani initiative that regularly delivered food to the refugees when they were living in the railway station and currently is assisting the Romani women who are living in the tents pitched near the Grand Hotel. 

The children and women of Romani origin who have fled the war in Ukraine were relocated by the City of Brno a week ago from the railway station where they had been living for weeks. The city then fenced off the outdoor space in front of the station where they had originally been sleeping.

Jarmila Balážová, Zdeněk Ryšavý, translated by Gwendolyn Albert
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