Introduction / History
There are 2 groups of Gypsies in Greece: the ones travelling and working as merchants and the ones who have settled and live in Gypsy communities. They speak Romani and Greek and have been in Greece for almost 700 years, originally coming out of India between 900-1100. Although they are officially Greek citizens they are highly discriminated against by the Greek population.
Where Are they Located?
The Gypsies who travel usually live in tents or in their vans and often sleep in a different village or city every night. The settled ones mostly live in communities outside of the cities, especially Athens and Thessaloniki. Katerini, Sofades, Larissa and other cities also have big Gypsy communities.
What Are Their Lives Like?
Many Gypsy communities are located on the outskirts of cities on property that doesn't belong to them. They build houses with what people throw away. Only some of the houses have a bathroom and they often lack the basic infrastructure like clean water, electricity, etc. The bad infrastructure causes many to have bad health conditions. Most Gypsies have not been to school or have only attended for a short time and therefore the illiteracy rate is quite high. Teenagers often are married at age 13 to15 and at age 18 usually already have several children. Most men drive their trucks through the cities and gather old metal from the trash to resell it for recycling. Sometimes they work in the fields during harvest time. Their income is very low and makes it hard to provide for their big families. Music and dancing plays a big part in the Gypsy culture.
What Are Their Beliefs?
Most of them are Greek Orthodox according to their papers. Some are Catholics, Mormons and Evangelicals. But there are also still many traditions with worshiping spirits and occult rituals mixed in their culture.
What Are Their Needs?
Education for the children and young people; jobs for the men to provide for their families; teachings on health, education, relationships, the Bible; health (doctors and dentists); basic infrastructure (water, electricity and heating); property and houses that belongs to them.
* Strength for missionaries who work with the Gypsies.
* That they will see their value and destiny.
* Community development programs to take place.
* That the small percentage of Gypsy believers would have an impact in the communities would help break the strongholds.
* That God will rise up young leaders out of the Gypsy communities.
|Profile Source: Anonymous|