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Mild winter a boon to some

If anyone is happy that this winter has been mild so far, it is homeless people and the ethnic Roma, many of whom live in poor conditions in makeshift shelters.

photo: Pavol Vitko

If anyone is happy that this winter has been mild so far, it is homeless people and the ethnic Roma, many of whom live in poor conditions in makeshift shelters.

Even in winter, it is not uncommon to see Roma children outside barefoot or naked, such as in the eastern Slovak village of Vrbnica pictured above.

Incidentally, this village, not far from the town of Michalovce, is an example of the incredible growth of the Roma population in Slovakia. The first three Roma to come to this village were weavers and arrived in 1910. In 1947, 380 people lived in Vrbnica, 72 of whom were Roma. Today the Roma make up 65 percent of the village's roughly 800 inhabitants. Almost all are unemployed.


Pavol Vitko

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