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June 26, 2022



Slovak President Zuzana Čaputová met with Roma students on the occasion of World Roma Day

8.4.2022 12:58

On 8 April 2022, the President of Slovakia, Zuzana Čaputová, met with Roma students on the occasion of World Roma Day. "It has been a great pleasure to meet our promising doctor, chess player, lawyer, ecologist, economist, social worker, boxer and ice hockey player. They told me about their successes, the competitions they have won... These successful young people are full of energy and in addition to engaging in their education and recreational hobbies or sports, they are involved as volunteers in helping others," she said in her remarks.

In her view, however, these students are also united by the fact that they are not always assessed by others according to who they are as individuals and what they have actually done. "They also face mistrust, prejudice, and obstacles that most of their peers may not even be able to imagine. The chances of a child born to a Romani parent in a poor environment getting to college are less than one per cent," Čaputová added.

The reason entire generations of Roma have yet to enter higher education is not because of a lack of effort on their part, but because of the vicious circle of exclusion, generational poverty and prejudices that prevent Romani children from succeeding and from having the opportunity to live in dignity. "Today is World Roma Day, which is primarily about equality. In my view, equality is about having the same chance and opportunity to succeed. We see that this is not a reality for everyone. It is these successful, passionate young people who show how different that could have been," Čaputová said.

Medical student Eva Adamová emphasized that compared to the past, there are more Romani people in Slovakia today who are graduating from university and are involved in various fields of work. "Not all Romani children are doing so well and given such an opportunity. Not everyone has managed to overcome the barriers, whether that means poverty, prejudice, or the often almost automatic enrollment [of Roma] into special schools," said the student, who also wants Slovak society to reach the stage where it will not be a surprise for Romani young people to become doctors, economists, lawyers or successful athletes. 

ryz, translated by Gwendolyn Albert
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