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International Social Work: Gypsies (Romani) Raul Tosity 04/13/2011.

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Presentation on theme: "International Social Work: Gypsies (Romani) Raul Tosity 04/13/2011."— Presentation transcript:

1 International Social Work: Gypsies (Romani) Raul Tosity 04/13/2011

2 Background Background Language Language Worldview/Religious Beliefs Worldview/Religious Beliefs Health Beliefs/Practices Health Beliefs/Practices Male-Female/Kinship/Social Relationships Male-Female/Kinship/Social Relationships Birth/Children Birth/Children Death Death Client Teaching/Dietary Considerations. Client Teaching/Dietary Considerations. Source: Gypsies – Cultural, Ethnic, and Religious Reference Manual, 1995-2005 Source: Gypsies – Cultural, Ethnic, and Religious Reference Manual, 1995-2005

3 Background Originated in Northern India. They migrated all over the world. Originated in Northern India. They migrated all over the world. One group migrated south through Persia and Armenia are the ancestors of European Gypsies. They called themselves Rom(a). When the group entered Western Europe, they represented themselves as Egyptians, thus the word “Gypsy”. One group migrated south through Persia and Armenia are the ancestors of European Gypsies. They called themselves Rom(a). When the group entered Western Europe, they represented themselves as Egyptians, thus the word “Gypsy”. Suffered severe discrimination (Nazi Germany). Suffered severe discrimination (Nazi Germany). Worldwide, around 12 million Roma. Worldwide, around 12 million Roma. Each Romani has four loyalties: tribe/nation (natsia); kumpania, vista and extended family. Each Romani has four loyalties: tribe/nation (natsia); kumpania, vista and extended family. Kumpanias= groups of extended families that occupy a specific geographic area and travel together. Kumpanias= groups of extended families that occupy a specific geographic area and travel together. Each kumpania has a leader. Each kumpania has a leader. Kumpanias are further divided into vistas, which are groups of extended patrilinear families (it can have over 200 families). Kumpanias are further divided into vistas, which are groups of extended patrilinear families (it can have over 200 families).

4 Background contd. Romani have their own system of law Romani have their own system of law Romani pay little attention to the mainstream justice system Romani pay little attention to the mainstream justice system Infractions are handled by 2-5 adult males selected for their status Infractions are handled by 2-5 adult males selected for their status Romani do not register with the military service Romani do not register with the military service Most have no birth certificates or marriage licenses Most have no birth certificates or marriage licenses Mortality and morbidity rates are much higher than the general population. Mortality and morbidity rates are much higher than the general population. Poverty, poor nutrition, infectious diseases and avoidance of health care facilities. Poverty, poor nutrition, infectious diseases and avoidance of health care facilities. High rate of illiteracy. High rate of illiteracy. Mainly Romany speak their own language and the language of the country where they reside Mainly Romany speak their own language and the language of the country where they reside

5 Worldview/Religious Beliefs Romani way of life directed by rules known as Romaniya. Romani way of life directed by rules known as Romaniya. Interaction with non-Romanies drains one’s spiritual energy and must be restored by spending time within an all-Romani envt. Interaction with non-Romanies drains one’s spiritual energy and must be restored by spending time within an all-Romani envt. One God is worshiped, called Del. The Devil is recognized as O’Bengh. One God is worshiped, called Del. The Devil is recognized as O’Bengh. The world is viewed from a dual perspective: Del vs. O’Bengh, good vs. evil, pure vs. polluted, childhood vs. adulthood. The world is viewed from a dual perspective: Del vs. O’Bengh, good vs. evil, pure vs. polluted, childhood vs. adulthood. Old age defined by inability to no longer bear children. Old age defined by inability to no longer bear children. Strong beliefs in supernatural powers and ancestor spirits. Strong beliefs in supernatural powers and ancestor spirits. Belief that nothing happens by chance. Belief that nothing happens by chance. Living things are to only be killed for food. Living things are to only be killed for food. Pain is highly expressed. Pain is highly expressed.

6 Health Beliefs/Practices Dominant health belief of pollution and rejection (concept of marime). Dominant health belief of pollution and rejection (concept of marime). Human body divided into two halves: upper half (clean) vs. lower half (dirty). Human body divided into two halves: upper half (clean) vs. lower half (dirty). All non-Romani are impure and disease-prone. All non-Romani are impure and disease-prone. Public restrooms, offices, hospitals are sources of disease. Public restrooms, offices, hospitals are sources of disease. Little modesty regarding the upper body. Little modesty regarding the upper body. In the home, furniture may be covered in plastic and at least one chair may be reserved for seating non-Romani visitors. In the home, furniture may be covered in plastic and at least one chair may be reserved for seating non-Romani visitors. Non-Romani visitor will only be allowed in the front of the home. Non-Romani visitor will only be allowed in the front of the home. Clothing from the upper and lower body should be placed in separate bags and never washed together. Clothing from the upper and lower body should be placed in separate bags and never washed together. Men’s and women’s clothing should never be washed together. Men’s and women’s clothing should never be washed together. Romani only come to hospitals for childbirth or critical health problems. Romani only come to hospitals for childbirth or critical health problems. Color red associated with good health/happiness. Color red associated with good health/happiness. An overweight person is considered healthy/fortunate. Thin individuals are considered ill or poor. An overweight person is considered healthy/fortunate. Thin individuals are considered ill or poor.

7 Male-Female/Kinship/Social Relationships Romani usually carries more than one name Romani usually carries more than one name Adult men called “rom” Adult men called “rom” Married women usually wear head scarfs Married women usually wear head scarfs Families share expenses Families share expenses Massive numbers of relatives, friends, etc. likely to visit others in hospital. Massive numbers of relatives, friends, etc. likely to visit others in hospital. Generally distrustful of non-Romanies Generally distrustful of non-Romanies Elders have a high status and respect Elders have a high status and respect Family members care for elders Family members care for elders Teen marriages are common. Youngest son obligated to care for his parents until their death. Teen marriages are common. Youngest son obligated to care for his parents until their death. Unmarried males and females sleep separately. Unmarried males and females sleep separately. Women must have lower half of the body covered. Women must have lower half of the body covered. Provide same sex caregivers if at all possible. Provide same sex caregivers if at all possible.

8 Birth/Children Children are loved; believed to bring good luck. Children are loved; believed to bring good luck. Families have several children. Families have several children. Boys are preferred. Boys are preferred. Attend public schools up ton 10 or 11 years of age. After, they are removed to be fully educated in Romani activities. Attend public schools up ton 10 or 11 years of age. After, they are removed to be fully educated in Romani activities. Fear of Romani children being influenced by other children in public schools. Fear of Romani children being influenced by other children in public schools. During pregnancy, the woman is cared for by other women. During pregnancy, the woman is cared for by other women. Births cannot take place in a Romani’s home (seen as unclean). Most opt to deliver at a hospital. Births cannot take place in a Romani’s home (seen as unclean). Most opt to deliver at a hospital. Saliva may be placed on the shoulder of a woman in labor to ease pain. Saliva may be placed on the shoulder of a woman in labor to ease pain. Newborns considered unclean until they are baptized after 6-8 weeks. Newborns considered unclean until they are baptized after 6-8 weeks. Photographs of baby are not permitted. Photographs of baby are not permitted. Red ribbons placed on infant’s wrist to protect against the evil eye. Red ribbons placed on infant’s wrist to protect against the evil eye.

9 Death Death of a baby is considered bad luck. Death of a baby is considered bad luck. A dying Romani must spend time with family and friends; must be shown compassion. The fear is that if compassion is not shown, their spirit will be angered and will cause illness to survivors. A dying Romani must spend time with family and friends; must be shown compassion. The fear is that if compassion is not shown, their spirit will be angered and will cause illness to survivors. Strong emotions may be shown when a young person dies. Strong emotions may be shown when a young person dies. Prefer to die outside or near a window with a candle lit under the bed. This allows their spirit to be shown the way to Heaven. Prefer to die outside or near a window with a candle lit under the bed. This allows their spirit to be shown the way to Heaven. All possessions of deceased must be sold to non-Romanies or destroyed. All possessions of deceased must be sold to non-Romanies or destroyed. Use of a deceased person’s name is to be avoided as a sign of respect. Use of a deceased person’s name is to be avoided as a sign of respect.

10 Death contd. At death, close relatives demonstrate mourning by not washing their face, hands or body for three days. They will also not comb their hair or shave or change clothing for three days. On 3 rd day, will wash themselves. At death, close relatives demonstrate mourning by not washing their face, hands or body for three days. They will also not comb their hair or shave or change clothing for three days. On 3 rd day, will wash themselves. The mourning period lasts for 12 months. The mourning period lasts for 12 months. Relatives may refuse to allow the deceased’s body to be taken out of morgue. Relatives may refuse to allow the deceased’s body to be taken out of morgue. Autopsies not permitted as is organ donation. Autopsies not permitted as is organ donation.

11 Client Teaching/Dietary Considerations Diet high in salt, sugar, carbohydrates and fat. Diet high in salt, sugar, carbohydrates and fat. High intake of strong coffee. High intake of strong coffee. Two meals per day with no lunch. Two meals per day with no lunch. Fast on Fridays as a cleansing act. Fast on Fridays as a cleansing act. More comfortable using disposable eating utensils if hospitalized. More comfortable using disposable eating utensils if hospitalized. Family will want to bring food to hospitalized individual. Family will want to bring food to hospitalized individual. Many older Romanies cannot read. Many older Romanies cannot read. Teaching should be geared towards oral or visual learning. Teaching should be geared towards oral or visual learning.

12 Thank you! Source: Cultural, Ethnic, and Religious Reference Manual, 1995-2005, pp. 119-127.


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