Money Alone Can’t Solve Roma Problems

The European Union is willing to spend millions of Euros in an effort to improve the lives of Roma children in Slovakia and the Czech Republic. Educational opportunities undoubtedly are a key component of dealing with issues of prejudice and bigotry, but money in itself spent in school improvement is not sufficient for the tasks that lie ahead. An estimated 300,000-500,000 Romas live in Slovakia and a large number inhabit settlements which lack running water or electricity. Roma children do not succeed in school which places them at a disadvantage in seeking decent paying jobs or even securing modern housing.

The story in America of dealing with poverty and discrimination is the importance of simultaneously confronting education, housing, and jobs as well as undertaking programs for adult education. Spending another hundred or two hundred million Euros will not result in much difference unless it also addresses other issues. There is also need for an extensive program dealing with multiculturalism for children in Slovakia and the Czech Republic.

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