“We feel a part of this city. We have nowhere to go.” A letter from Wrocław, Poland

A group of Romani families are on the point of facing a forced eviction by the authorities in Wrocław, Poland. Now, their voice is  being heard. Members of the community have written a moving open letter to the Mayor of Wrocław, asking him to reconsider this eviction, which will leave them homeless. The letter has been re-published in a national newspaper and we at Amnesty International hope their message will reach further by publishing it here:

Dear Mayor,

We are asking for your help and understanding in this serious situation. We received notices to vacate the land at Kamienskiego Street but it’s the centre of our life:  these are the only homes we have. We have been living in Poland for a few years, some of us for many. Most of our children have been born here, the majority in Wrocław itself. We hardly speak Romanian, we speak Polish and Romani. A few NGOs organize classes for children twice a week where they learn to read and write– we would like them to go to regular school also.

We feel a part of this city. We have nowhere to go. Can we ask you to let us settle somewhere else in the city?

We are aware that some of our neighbours on Kamienskiego Street might be upset because there are many of us and we often ask them for help. However, we have a place to stay and our children are not left hungry thanks to the help we received from other people.

We are asking for help because our situation is very difficult, we can’t go back, there is no chance to have a normal life back in Romania. We really doesn’t want to live in that way, but we also don’t have any education, work, property, so we go begging to have money for food, medicines and other necessities to survive. Some people say we have expensive cars; in fact a few families have old cars,  that help them to move from one place to another, but that’s all they have.

If you have a job to offer, we want to take it. We want to work for the development of the city of Wrocław. Please, give us a chance. We want to stay here and integrate with society in the city.

Yours sincerely,

Ita Stoica, Nicolai Stoica, Ion Ciurar acting as representatives of the Romanian Roma community