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May 25, 2022



Roma in the Czech Republic and Slovakia join aid efforts for victims of Russian aggression in Ukraine

27.2.2022 12:39
At the Chanov housing estate in the Czech Republic, Romani people are loading up material aid for the victims of the war in Ukraine. (2022) (PHOTO:  Aver Roma Chanov)
At the Chanov housing estate in the Czech Republic, Romani people are loading up material aid for the victims of the war in Ukraine. (2022) (PHOTO: Aver Roma Chanov)

Roma in Slovakia and the Czech Republic are involved in helping people fleeing Ukraine, which was attacked by the Russian Army early on Thursday, February 24. Material collections in the Czech Republic are being organized, for example, by Roma from Chanov, by the Khamoro organization from Chodov, and by the Roma Luma political party. 

In Slovakia, Romani organizations are helping with the transportation and accommodation of refugees from the border with Ukraine. The Czech Interior Ministry estimates that between 1 000 and 2 000 Ukrainians have arrived in the Czech Republic so far. 

More than 10 000 refugees crossed from Ukraine into Slovakia from Friday to Saturday. According to the Office of the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR), at least 150 000 people have fled to neighboring countries from Ukraine.

"We thank the people of Chanov for their quick response to the collection of clothes and food for children from Ukraine," the Aver Roma organization from Chanov posted to Facebook along with photos. The organization later added that the collection is ongoing and will not just aid Romani refugees from Ukraine.

"Folks, the collection for Ukrainian refugees and especially for children will continue today. We just have to warn all those who want to contribute to Romani refugees only that they have to contribute elsewhere. There are activists, churches, and foundations offering this opportunity to all people without distinction," the association posted this morning.

The Khamoro Association is also co-organizing the collection of aid for Ukraine. A delivery van filled with material aid should go to Ukraine on Tuesday.

The Roma Luma political party has also announced a financial and material fundraiser to help the victims of the war in Ukraine. It is organized together with the HK association.

Many Czech citizens are involved in helping the victims of the war in Ukraine. For example, people can bring medicines and medical supplies, sleeping bags, mats, blankets, shoes (size 42) and charged power banks to the Scout's Institute, located on Prague's Old Town Square, until 22:00 today.

"We launched the collection on Friday and now we have an entire floor filled with items," spokesperson Jakub Ambrozek described to the Czech News Agency on Saturday afternoon. "People took us by storm," he said, adding that the reality far exceeded their expectations.

Romani organizations also help on the Slovak-Ukrainian border

Right on the Slovak-Ukrainian border, the Romano jilo organization is helping refugees and has transferred 65 Ukrainian refugees to a charity house in Dolní Smokovec in recent days. According to Czech Radio's Radiožurnál station, which runs the program "O Roma Vakeren", the refugees are in a very bad mental state, according to the director of the organization, Marek Pišta.

"I'm personally very sorry - I see their weeping, their sadness, I see what they had to go through. [They fled] just with what they had on their backs. They have nothing, neither clothes nor money. We are trying to reach out to sponsors to donate clothes, it is very difficult," said Pišta in an interview with "O Roma vakeren".

The Ternipe Roma Community Center helps in Snina near the border with Ukraine. Together with volunteers, they have already transported 25 Romani women and children from Ukraine.

"The Roma have a very bad experience with war, so they decided to leave. It was depressing that the men had to stay in Ukraine. Only the women and children who were saving their lives were allowed to go to the border," said Jarmila Kotlárová, director of the community center, in an interview with "O Roma vakeren".

ryz, translated by Gwendolyn Albert
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