Roma Helpers Can Be Unhelpful!

The Finnish Ministry of the Interior has helped create the job of “Roma liaisons” whose task is ostensibly to assist Roma immigrants in the nation to secure housing and jobs. However, the Finnish Minority Ombudsman, Johanna Suurpaa, believes there is evidence the liaisons quite frequently interfere with efforts by Romas to live in certain communities. For example, in the Roma culture, two people whose families are at odds, might be prevented from obtaining housing in an area in which his “enemies” currently live. A Roma who is moving to another location must consult with a liaison.

Undoubtedly, Roma immigrants to Finland are in a strange country and do need assistance. The issue, most probably, is how to provide assistance that empowers people to make their own decisions.