BACKGROUND AND HISTORY
OF ROMANIA AND THE ROMA PEOPLE
The History of Romania
Romania is located in Southeastern and Central Europe within and outside the Carpathian arch, bordering on the Black sea. A scenic country rich in history and culture, Romania has a haunting past that it’s still trying to overcome. After being under communism for 40 years, the people of Romania stood up for themselves and revolted against its cruel leaders. The fall of communism in 1989 started a series of political and economic reformations, which led to Romania joining the European Union on January 1, 2007.
At the end of World War II, parts of the countries territories remained occupied by the USSR and Romania became a socialist republic.
In 1965, Nicolae Ceausescu came to power. Running a neo-Stalinist police state from 1967–1989, Nicolae Ceausescu pulled the iron curtain tightly around Romania, turning a moderately prosperous country into one at the brink of starvation. To repay his $10 billion foreign debt in 1982, he ransacked the Romanian economy of everything that could be exported, leaving the country with desperate shortages of food, fuel, and other essentials. An army-assisted rebellion in Dec. 1989 led to Ceausescu’s overthrow, trial, and execution.
During Ceausescu’s reign the Romanian people suffered greatly. From the number of children each family was required to have, to what time the lights were turned off at night, citizens were extremely limited and controlled in regards to everyday living. This harsh governance led to many problems, and to this day the Romanian people are recovering and rebuilding a new life of freedom.
After the Iron Curtain fell in 1989, orphanages filled with children were discovered. The children were found in inhuman conditions. Neglected by their care takers and the State, children were found wrapped in rags and covered in their own feces. Tied down to their beds, these children had suffered tremendous physical and emotional abuse. As news of this discovery spread all over the world many people came to help.
Even though things have changed and the government is working to prevent abandonment, according to UNICEF, at least 9,000 babies are still being abandoned each year. “Generally, mothers abandon their children because they cannot afford to raise them”. To this day Romania is still searching for new solutions to help these children grow up in a safe, healthy and loving environment.
THE ROMA PEOPLE
WHO ARE THE ROMA?
The Roma are the largest and fastest growing ethnic minority across Europe. Originally from India, the Roma people immigrated to Europe and Romania has the largest population of this people group. They have a rich and diverse culture, but unfortunately, many Roma still live in poverty on the margins of European societies and suffer from discrimination and prejudice. To learn more about the history and culture of Roma people in Romania, click the link below.