A new program in support of the Donegal Travellers Project (DTP) has been warmly welcomed by Roma community members living in the county.
More than 100 people from a wide range of organisations and walks of life recently attended the standing-room-only launch of the DTP Roma Project.
There was also a new Roma “Cultural Information Pack” produced by the Project with funding from the Irish Human Rights and Equality Commission.
The programme was launched last week by David Stanton, T.D., Minister of State for Equality, Immigration, and Integration at the Department of Justice and Equality.
The Project’s part-time Roma Community Development and Advocacy Worker, Joleen Kuyper, offers Roma assistance in accessing public services, accommodation, and English language learning.
The project worker also develops workshops to raise awareness of Roma culture among public service providers.
She said: “We’re working to create a strong, solid relationship with members of the Roma community in Donegal, ensuring that they feel this project is something they can participate in and become a part of.”
George Cirpaci, a Roma community member who lives in Letterkenny, expressed appreciation for the assistance he has received from Joleen Kuyper.
“She tells us, ‘Any problems, I come and help.’ She helps me. I find her very helpful. I want to thank her for her help.”
The DTP Roma Project is one of six community-based projects nationwide which the Department of Justice and Equality is funding for three years as a means of promoting the social inclusion of the Roma community.
Education, training, and employment programmes are also being developed by the government in response to a recent report that documented high levels of poverty and discrimination experienced by the Roma community in Ireland.
“I can’t emphasise it enough, education, education, education,” Minister Stanton said.
“Keep getting kids in school, and keep them in school as long as possible. I’m fighting for that all the time.”
He continued: “The government is committed to ensuring that Ireland remains a welcoming and warm place for all the communities, including for Roma who‘ve made your home here.
“In Ireland, Roma have the same rights and responsibilities as any other European Union citizens.
“I think President Higgins summed it up well in his speech in Dublin Castle two weeks ago when he spoke of the importance of equality and strong, sustainable communities.”Tags: