The Roma Gypsy Project: Romania
Roma is a term for various groups who have migrated across Europe for centuries and are now the biggest ethnic minority in the European Union, most of them from countries like Romania, Bulgaria and the Czech Republic.
There are an estimated 10 million across Europe and one in five lives in Romania.
Since their arrival in Europe from India some 700 years ago, they have been politically, socially, culturally and economically marginalised by the dominant population, who have consistently shown negative social attitudes towards them. The vast majority live on the margins of society in abject poverty, which makes them easy targets in troubled times. Since the enlargement of the EU many more have moved legally to the UK to find work, equal opportunities and a good education for their children and to escape racism and discrimination. (Source: Equality UK)
See It From Her decided we needed to work with woman and girls from some of these most deprived slums in Romania, as we felt they particularly need the chance to represent themselves.
We ran the workshops in the Pirita Slum in Baia Mare. When we first met the girls they were really interested in the project and immediately wanted to get involved.On the first day we introduced ourselves and why we were there and talked about the purpose of photography.
We showed them different photographer's work, talked about composition and different styles of photography and discussed how they could make their project.
After teaching them basic camera skills on the camera's we brought they wanted to take photographs of their lives, so they took us around their homes and introduced us to their families and friends.
The first thing we noticed about the girls was how intelligent, interested and kind they were. We spent 7 hours getting to know them on the first day. They were so keen to learn and so warm towards us, they made us feel like family straight away.