roma children

The other day, I was walking in the Old Town when a small Roma girl rushed up to me.  As I tried to move away, she just kept coming closer, as if she wanted to smell my jacket. She was, I am sure trying to see if she could pick my pockets.  I had to push her away. This is the first time I have been rushed like this.  Three days later, I still find this very upsetting. 

Upsetting to see these children with nothing by begging in their future. All day, they beg. Beg from store owners. Beg from tourists. Beg from locals. No school. No intellectual or creative stimuli. 

I do see some play but then they are often back on task, begging. And despised and psuhed away and cursed at by others. 

As a teacher, I find this scenario hard to accept. My understanding is that many Roma have no official papers, and therefore, no access to state resources.  But do they want those resources? While I understand that the Roma feel they have a rich culture, it seems to limit choice, especially for women. But if you don’t have choice, then can you miss it?  

The situation of the Roma here puzzles me, and saddens me. When you see a small child, barefoot in the freezing rain, or children digging through a dumpster for toys and foods, you can’t help but be moved. But when that same child rushes you, trying to pick your pocket, then are you still moved?  Is your sympathy still in place or are you angry that this child would be such a criminal? Does she know better? How can she? What can you do? What should you do?

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