Volunteer opportunities with Rom people – Photo by Antoni Kozakiewicz (1841–1929) – Kunsthaus Lempertz via ARCADJA auction results with the Title Die Kartenschlägerin, Public Domain, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=20348625
This page features volunteer opportunities with Rom people/Romani/ Roma people – around the world
Life and Culture of the Roma people
Gypsies use the term Rom to describe themselves (plural: Roma). It means man, although during their migration to the West in the late Middle Ages (14th-15th centuries) they preferred the term Sinti. Some Gypsies, however, (such as those from Iran) do not know the name Roma, those from Spain prefer to be called Kalo and those from Armenia use the term Lom. Sinti and Roma occupied a low position in society, which explains why between the 5th and 11th centuries, famine and wars drove them to leave their land for Persia and Armenia. About 70,000 gipsies currently live in Italy, but the estimate is not reliable.
Gipsy roots come from in India. There are many common elements with the Dravidian culture, civilisation and languages, i.e. the populations that arrived in India before 3500 BC and settled in the Deccan and Panjab regions. The Roma and Sinti people have many influences in their culture, as they have come into contact with many other peoples and have partly adopted their customs and traditions. Common cultural elements are the sense of independence, the rejection of war, the concern for children, paternal authority and the subordinate role of women, and the love of music.
In the texts of gipsy literature, there are many references to good or bad spirits intervening in people’s lives. Gipsies also believe in metempsychosis, i.e. that the soul of a human being at the moment of death is transferred either into an object, an animal or another human being; spirits that can be pure or impure.
In order to understand the importance of religion for Roma and Sinti, we must go back to the origins. There are great differences between the different groups of gipsies: some are Muslim, other Orthodox Christian, others Catholic or Lutheran. Some celebrate Christmas and Easter, others celebrate Bajram and Kurban Bairam. Some elements of Indian origin are common, although they have been joined by values belonging to the religions of the host countries. Common to all Gypsies is the belief in the spirits of the dead and the belief in Destiny (luck). There are also some “saints” common to both Roma and Sinti, both Christian and Muslim, in particular Bibi (or Sara) the Black and St George.
For Roma and Sinti, the family is the fundamental element of their social life. The bond with the family and the clan is very strong because it is these institutions that guarantee protection and security. For Sinti and Roma there are no old people’s homes; no one would ever abandon an old person who is a member of the family. Women are subservient to men even though they are often the ones who take care of the family and work hard to find the money with which to support all the members of the family. They are the ones who go around asking for charity, reading hands, selling flowers or other handicrafts.
For many centuries, the Sinti and Roma had no schooling. They learned by living in their families and clans. In this way, they learned everything that was useful and important for survival. Young people knew the history of their people from the stories of the old people who passed on the gipsy culture only orally.
This way of learning has come into crisis in recent centuries after the industrial revolution imposed new economic and cultural models.
How to use this page.
Click on the announcement you are interested in. Check the date of the publication (some volunteering opportunities might be already out of date). If the announcement is still valid, look for the ‘contact details‘ section. There you can find free ways to get in touch with the hosts (website, e-mail, phone numbers, application form). Send the host/organization a message and wait for a reply.
Volunteer opportunities with Rom
This page is new, help us expand this section! Are you looking for volunteer acro yoga experts? Do you need helpers for your alternative projects that have some relations with acro yoga? Feel free Add your listing!