This year for International Roma Day we are asking Roma community members what makes them proud to be Roma?

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Gina Cirpaci

My name is Gina. I was born in Romania. I’ve been in Ireland for sixteen years. I am training to be a nurse so I can help people.

Why are you proud to be Roma?

I am proud to be Roma because our ancestors have made a name in this world. Our Roma ancestors have done some great things in their time and I would love to make a difference in the world of today to show there is more to us Roma. We can achieve great things and make a change for the future and to be treated equally.

I think that it’s important to celebrate International Roma Day because it’s a tradition passed on from our ancestors and it’s full of great, important memories that we should pass on to our newer generations so that they won’t be forgotten. It is also important to show others all about Roma and to show everyone how each and every Roma is unique and different from everybody and that no one should be judged by their appearance. There more to a book than just the cover!

Gabi Muntean

Gabi Muntean

My name is Gabi. I am a community worker at Pavee Point. I work to promote human rights for the Roma community. I have lived in Ireland for 17 years. I am an Irish citizen and I belong to Ireland.

Why are you proud to be Roma?

I am proud to be a Roma woman, mother, wife and activist. Through my work at Pavee Point I want to make a change for the Roma community, especially the Roma women. I want to see Roma women and girls to stand up for themselves and their rights. I want them to have this courage. It is important to celebrate International Roma Day for who we are, what we have passed through, and the generation before us. Roma people passed through slavery, the Holocaust, starvation and injustice. It is important for people to recognize what has happened to the Roma community. It is important for the generation coming after me to know what has happened to our people and to not allow this to happen again. It is important to live in solidarity with others and to have the courage to say we are the Roma.

Alex

Alex Petrovics

My name is Alex and I am proud to be called Roma.

Why are you proud to be Roma?

It is not about having something special than other people, it is just who I am.

I am a 26 years old man working in Enniscorthy Co. Wexford in a positive and creative environment. I am working with the Roma Community in Co. Wexford and every day I can see other people that are feeling proud to be Roma.

For me, every day is Roma International Day. Every day it’s a new opportunity to be proud.

 

 

 

Delia Danila

Delia Danila

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My name is Delia and I have been living in Ireland for 19 years. I finished school and went to college in Ireland where I studied travel and tourism. I absolutely loved educating myself, it was a wonderful experience. Now I have a one year old baby boy named Jacob to love and educate.

Why are you proud to be Roma?

I am very proud to be Roma for so many different reasons. For example, our culture and our Roma language (that we can communicate with different Roma throughout Europe). I’m proud of our traditions which have such a big impact upon our children and families. If I wasn’t Roma, I wouldn’t be the person I am today. I am proud of my family for allowing me to get an education and have more knowledge and by letting me be my own person.
I think it is very important to celebrate International Roma Day so that people learn about us and our traditions and to familiarise people with our culture.

 

Joseph Duna

Joseph Duna

My name is Joseph. I come from the Czech Republic. I came to Ireland in 2006 to my brother who was working here.

Why are you proud to be Roma?

I’m proud to be Roma because I love our culture and tradition.  I think it’s important not only for Roma but for all the people in all the world to celebrate International Roma Day and to understand Roma history. I first learned about what happened to the Roma communities during the Holocaust when I was 9 or 10 when I saw the tattoo on my grandmother’s hand. She then told me stories of what happened to her in the concentration camp when she was only 12 years old. Roma were separated into “Gypsy” camps. We should never forget what happened.

 

 

 

 

Tica Muntean

Tica Muntean

My name is Tica. I work with Pavee Point as a community worker. I am a pastor in Emmanuel church and a leader in our community. My hobbies are soccer and helping people.

What makes you proud to be Roma?

I was born Roma and I am proud of my origin. I don’t know any other way to be than Roma. I would like other people to learn about our culture and community since we are part of Ireland.

 

 

 

 

©Photo by Derek Speirs

©Photo by Derek Speirs

©Photo by Derek Speirs

©Photo by Derek Speirs

What is International Traveller and Roma Day?

International Traveller and Roma Day is celebrated on April 8th. This marks the day of the first World Roma Congress in 1971. The green and blue flag was adopted as the official flag for Romani people and Roma was identified as the preferred term to describe members of Roma communities across Europe (Roma, Sinti, Kale, Travellers, Dom, Lom and related groups). It also marks the day on which the song “Gelem Gelem” was officially recognised as the national anthem of Romani people. This day was officially designated as International Roma Day at the fourth congress of the International Romani Union in 1990.