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Gypsy, Roma Traveller History Month

Celebrating the culturally diverse and sadly much misrepresented Gypsy, Roma and Traveller people

Every June, the gypsy and traveller communities around the United Kingdom come together to celebrate the culturally diverse and sadly much misrepresented Gypsy, Roma and Traveller people, for Gypsy, Roma, Traveller History Month.

BASW Cymru has been involving itself in a number of campaigns and lobbying efforts aimed at connecting social workers with improving the quality of life for Gypsy, Roma and Traveller people as well as doing the important work of reversing still existing and damaging stereotypes surrounding these often vulnerable people in our county and around the world.

Allison Hulmes, BASW Cymru National Director and of Welsh Romany heritage said: “ It is vitally important for social workers to understand the unique and distinct cultural needs and challenges still faced by Gypsy, Roma and Traveller communities in Wales. Social workers must ensure they are working collaboratively, acknowledging Gypsy, Roma and Traveller communities as the experts.

BASW Cymru will be supporting Travelling Ahead – the Gypsy and Traveller advocacy project, in delivering cultural competence training to social work students at Cardiff University later this month. It would be good to see this training extended across all social work programmes in Wales.”

Advocacy Groups in the UK have been lobbying for a National month of celebrations Gypsy, Roma and Traveller culture since around 2004, Lord Adonis Parliamentary Under Secretary of State for Schools approved plans in 2007, before the month finally became a national event celebrated every June across the UK in 2008.

The month is also a time of remembrance and reflection for the cruel injustices acted out upon the Roma and Sinti people of Europe by the Nazi regime, which are too often forgotten about in the discussions of the holocaust. 200,000 Roma and Sinti were inhumanely murdered in an attempted act of complete genocide.

Dr Adrian Marsh, researcher in Romani Studies at the Institute of Istanbul, said: “Gypsy, Roma, Traveller History Month is the opportunity to acknowledge the extraordinary genius of Romani and traveller communities I’m all the rich diversity and their contribution to Welsh, and more broadly, British society, in the face of almost overwhelming prejudice and intolerance

“The history month is a chance to rediscover the contribution to the last and present that Romani and Traveller people have made and recognise that our history has been hidden”.