We are launching a new project for Roma seniors

Mrs. Emilia Čurejová from the Roma settlement of Stará Ľubovňa – Podsadek, who will be 82 years old this year, remembers in the book, Andal o dživipen (2011): “We debated a lot, they advised me, we met with a nurse, went on trips…it made our lives more fun.” She talked about the project for seniors that ETP Slovakia realized over ten years ago. ETP reimbursed the costs of medicines and medical aids as well as organized educational and social activities for elderly people in Roma settlements. Not only grandmother and great grandmother, Emília, has been remembering this project for many years but also many of her peers have such fond recollections as well. Many times they have asked our staff whether we might, again, have something for them.

Now we have good news. As of today, February 1st, we are launching a project for Roma seniors. The project will last almost two years. It will not be as large as the previous project but we are sure that it will help. We are implementing it in Eastern Slovakia with the support of Remembrance, Responsibility and Future Foundation (EVZ Stiftung – Erinnerung, Verantwortung, Zukunft) headquartered in Germany.

For the benefit of up to two hundred elderly Roma born before May 8, 1945, we will provide social assistance, healthcare and medical aids which are not covered by the public health care system. Children and young people will prepare creative events for Roma seniors that will raise awareness about Roma genocide. Those earliest events will be on the occasion of International Roma Day (8 April).

Unfortunately, not all of our clients from previous projects, who numbered in the thousands, are still with us to enjoy this new project. It is well known that Roma in Slovakia live, on average, many fewer years than people from the non-Roma majority. Roma people generally live in very poor living conditions, resulting in higher morbidity rates.

Even grandmother Emilia is no longer a spring chick. She suffers from a serious illness and her family members often have to take her to the hospital. Without a doubt, a contribution to cover the costs of medication will be a great help to her.

The aim of the project is to help people who, directly or indirectly, have experienced persecution by the Nazi regime and still suffer from discrimination, social exclusion and life in poverty.

The first, very demanding stage of the project implementation is to identify clients who were born before the end of the Second World War. We will work in partnership with towns and cities and their local field social workers. The most difficult challenge, which we have already been experiencing, will be to find clients in big cities.

As far as we know now, the oldest client is Mrs Helena from Stará Ľubovňa, who was born in 1929.