All children are first and foremost children. But in practice there is a prejudice against Roma children
Svitlana Yakimelina, Head of the Children’s Service of the Zakarpattia Regional State Administration, spoke about the difficulties in educating children due to ethnicity during a round table.
“In our work, we do not divide children on any grounds, including nationality. They are all children. But in practice we do have some difficulties with adoption or other issues, depending on whether it is a Roma child or not.
Currently, Roma children make up 62% of the Roma population in Transcarpathia. That’s a lot. Our region ranks first in Ukraine in terms of the share of children in the total population – 24%. In Ukraine, this percentage is 17 – a maximum of 20. No region has such a large number of children in the total population. Although, I will note, we have a large number of large families not only among the Roma population, “says Svitlana Yakimelina.
If we talk about the most acute problems that should be addressed, then, according to the head of the service for children, it is primarily education, responsible parenting and timely processing of documents and registration of persons.
“We still have situations when a child is taken away from the parents, and the mother does not have documents confirming that it is her child. In this case, there is no reason to give the child to this mother. In Poroshkovo now the situation is that they do not know how many children go to 1st grade. Because the children are not registered in the village. Fortunately, there are almost no such problems in Uzhhorod. ”
There are also difficulties with the adoption of Roma children: “Non-Roma citizens do not really want to adopt Roma children aged 6-7. And in order for a child to be adopted by a Roma family, there must be appropriate sanitary conditions and a sufficient salary. So we need to talk to the Roma about the fact that it is possible and necessary to adopt children from orphanages. ”
It will be recalled that within the framework of the Project for Support of Early Development and Socialization of Children of the Roma Community of Zakarpattia we help to develop and implement grant projects that will help change the life of the Roma community of the region.