Saturday, November 27, 2010
The City of Helsinki is repatriating scores of Roma camping at the city's fish harbour to their homes in eastern Europe. They will be given ferry tickets and a lump cash sum.
On Friday, some 40 Roma will each receive 300 euros for fuel as well as 25 euros to cover the cost of the ferry trip.
Jarmo Räihä, a senior official with the city's social services department, said the cold weather has created life threatening risks for the group. He added that the exit was negotiated with members of the local Roma community.
Räihä said the only way to help eastern Europe’s Roma was for them to receive concrete aid in their countries of origin. He headed a delegation from the City of Helsinki on a recent visit to Romania and Bulgaria. The group also included representatives from the Helsinki Police.
“We visited a Roma village, met with local officials as well as with Roma and state officials. Their problems can only be solved at home where their culture and families are,” Räihä says.
It was critical to see how work and education can be provided as well as improvements to living conditions, he noted.
Räihä admitted that the Roma--and the related panhandling problem--will reappear in the future. He hoped that changes in the countries of origin would address the problem.
Posted by Morgan at 1:38 PM