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Slovak President: The Romani issue is one of society's most pressing problems

12.4.2015 2:14
On the occasion of International Romani Day, 8 April 2015, Slovak President Andrej Kiska visited several places where Romani people live. This photo shows him at a primary school in Spišský Hrhov. (PHOTO:  www.prezident.sk)
On the occasion of International Romani Day, 8 April 2015, Slovak President Andrej Kiska visited several places where Romani people live. This photo shows him at a primary school in Spišský Hrhov. (PHOTO: www.prezident.sk)

The President of the Slovak Republic has issued the following press release:

On the occasion of International Romani Day, Slovak President Andrej Kiska visited several places where Romani people live. He began his visit in the municipality of Spišský Hrhov, where Romani people work, take exemplary care of their families, and are a credit to their own community and the village itself.

Kiska spoke with Mayor Vladimír Ledecký and with representatives of the Romani community about what lies behind their successful integration story there. The mayor said it took 15 years for the situation of Romani people to significantly improve in the village, thanks to coordinated solutions to the questions of education, employment and housing.

Employment increased through the establishment of a municipally-owned company, and the municipality motivated Romani residents to rebuild their homes by providing them with inexpensive building materials and technology, on the condition that ownership of the land be settled. The President also visited the local primary school, which provides a system of all-day education for children from excluded communities.    

According to Kiska, it is very important to show such positive cases and inform others of them. "The Romani issue is one of the most pressing problems our society faces. Today I decided to visit places where the situation is improving. We can't just keep saying that it doesn't work, that nothing is succeeding," he emphasized.

"This is always about individuals - the mayors, the school directors, and the employers," the President said. "There are no rapid solutions, the problem is a long-term one, and there is a need to work on it honestly."

The President also visited the headquarters of the Passel firm in Poprad, saying that is a credit to the term "social responsibility". One-fifth of the employees there are Romani.

The Romani employees' names and skin color were immaterial when they applied for jobs there. The firm primarily saw them as people who could create value if given the chance.

press release of the President of the Slovak Republic, translated by Gwendolyn Albert
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integration, International Roma Day, Slovakia, Zaměstnanost



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