Gypsy community calls for political engagement

By TPN/Lusa, in News · 20-03-2019 07:35:00 · 0 Comments
Gypsy community calls for political engagement

Gypsies in Portugal say they want to be more engaged in politics and say they can make a difference, calling for better housing policies, education and professional training.

Several representatives of the gypsy community, as well as organisations working with gypsies, were heard at parliament at a hearing in the framework of a report on racism, xenophobia and ethnic-racial discrimination being prepared, which will be presented by the end of the current legislature.

Most of the members present defended the need to create a Sociocultural Mediator Statute, with Luis Romão, a school mediator, saying this was "extremely important for the success of the gypsy community in education."

Romão recalled how over 17 years working as a school mediator he had helped increase the number of gypsy children in pre-school and primary-school and called for more funding from the ministry of education to invest in mediators.

Maria José from the Anti-Poverty European Network called for education for health and the need for mediators in health centres, not only to bring the gypsy communities closer to healthcare but also to help raise awareness among doctors and nurses about this community.

Housing was another issue raised, with the head of the Association of Mediators, Prudêncio Canhoto, noted the terrible living conditions of gypsy communities in the area of Beja, in southern Portugal, with no access to sanitation or drinking water.


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