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Roma People Living in Transylvania

Photographer: Zoltan Balogh


Roma is an ethnic group whose origins come from several states of India. Traditionally nomads, they now mostly live in Europe and North and South America. According to the Council of Europe’s Roma and Travellers Division, the ten countries in Europe with the highest Roma populations are Turkey, Romania, Russia, Bulgaria, Spain, Hungary, Serbia, Slovakia, France and Greece.


The largest Roma community of Transylvania lives in the Orko settlement of Sfantu Gheorghe, Covasna County in Romania, where the nomadic Roma people began to settle by the end of the 20th century. Despite their Gypsy origin, their common language is Hungarian and most of them are deeply Christian believers. The number of illiterates is high among them as is the unemployment rate, especially in the Orko settlement.


From 01 January 2014 Romanian citizens are free to work throughout the European Union, so the labor migration is very high in this region. In most Roma families there are those who work in Western Europe or in Hungary. Those family members who stay at home live from casual jobs as street sweeping and logging, while the poorest ones make their living mainly through begging and benefits.


Roma people's integration has become an issue in recent years in EU countries, which are now developing comprehensive plans to ensure a better lifestyle through improved education, affordable housing, healthcare and jobs.