Sandrine Hermand-Grisel

Photo Editor - Photographer
All About Photo
    All About Photo presents ‘The Roma Princesses’ by Manuela Federl by All About Photo  
All About Photo presents ‘The Roma Princesses’ by Manuela Federl
Location: San Diego, CA
Nationality: French
Biography: Sandrine Hermand-Grisel is a professional photographer who specializes in Fine Art Photography and Printmaking. She grew up in Paris, France and in London, UK before she moved to the United States with her family in 2006. She decided to use her... MORE
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All About Photo presents ‘The Roma Princesses’ by Manuela Federl
all about photo
Jan 10, 2024
Summary
All About Photo is pleased to present ‘The Roma Princesses’ by Manuela Federl

Part of the exclusive online showroom developed by All About Photo, this exhibition is on view for the month of January 2024 and includes twenty photographs from the series ‘The Roma Princesses'
Part of the exclusive online showroom developed by All About Photo, this exhibition is on view for the month of January 2024 and includes twenty photographs from the series ‘The Roma Princesses'

The Roma Princesses
''Once upon a time there was a princess in the Roma ghetto. Society's racism and discrimination trapped her in the slum. Nevertheless, a brave prince tried to free her from the clutches of poverty and place the world at her feet.'' A dream that many girls in the Roma settlements probably have.

The girl from this fairy tale lives in Trebišov, one of the largest Roma ghettos in Slovakia. Around 7,000 people live here under precarious conditions in cobbled-together barracks or run-down tenements. Most apartments have no sewage system, no showers, no toilets and no kitchen. There is one single well for all residents. Trebišov, in eastern Slovakia, is one of around 800 settlements that exist, according to the 2019 Atlas of Roma Communities.

Around 450,000 Roma live in Slovakia. At around ten per cent, they are the largest minority in the country. But already children have a difficult start. According to a 2022 study by the European Union, 2/3 of Roma children go to schools where only Roma are taught. The girl from the fairy tale also attends an all-Roma school in the settlement. The children often speak Romani, the language of the Roma, with their parents at home. Since there are no kindergartens for them, their Slovak language is often poor when they start school. They are enrolled in special schools that only Roma attend. The school material in nine years corresponds to the content that Slovak children learn in four years. Because of this, attending secondary school is almost impossible.

Discrimination and poor access to education prevent young Roma from breaking the vicious circle of poverty. According to the Slovak Interior Ministry, 48 per cent of Roma are unemployed. Mostly they get day labour jobs. They have no regular routine and no hope for improvement. These prospects make life difficult to bear. Hopelessness has led many young people to become addicted to alcohol or drugs. No population group in Europe has to live in more inhumane conditions. On average, they die ten years earlier than other Slovaks.

The bitter truth for the girls in the Trebišov Roma ghetto is that most princesses do not have a high school diploma, they have their first child before they are of age, they never leave the settlement and struggle to survive their entire lives.
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