|New Realities for the Dom Community of Gaza|
May 2015 Update
The 2014 wars in Gaza have brought about harsh, new realities for the Dom community there. In the aftermath of that period of conflict, the struggles
of every day life have increased for people like the Dom. While the price of food has increased, the supply of clean drinking water has decreased. During the
war merchants in the markets would extend credit to the poor so that they could get bread, lentils, rice and other dietary staples. As time passed and
jobs continued to be scare, the loans became delinquent and merchants had to stop extending credit. Hunger is now a reality on a new scale.
The statistics for the number of deaths and injuries among the Dom has also changed. During the war the hospitals were open to everyone for emergency
care, but since the hostilites ended no follow up care for injuries is provided if you cannot pay. Without follow up care complications to injuries have led to
infections, amputations, and even to deaths. The death count among the Dom has risen to 39 dead. This includes 6 children, 7 women, and 26 men and young people.
Of the 248 wounded individuals in the Dom community, 153 people have suffered amputations. Many of the wounded are in need of long-term care and medications,
neither of which is available to them.
The shortage of housing continues to be a problem. The romanticized nomadic Gypsy lifestyle characterized by tents has returned out of necessity. The tents
can be seen beside piles of concrete rubble that were once small homes. None of the Dom can afford to rebuild, so they erect plastic tents next to the rubble. Hours
are spent searching through the rubble in hopes of finding pans, clothing, toys, or any other useful item. The light-weight tents have done little to protect
the people from the winter rains. Most of the tents collapsed under the weight of the downpours. Many homes that survived the bombings during the war,
have been damaged by the winter rains. There are numerous situations where three or four Dom families are sharing a small apartment with little hope for finding
adequate housing in the near future.
Several individuals and groups have made contributions to the relief fund facilitated by the Dom Research Center. As of May 2015 thirty thousand US dollars has been given
to buy food and medicine. While donors have been generous, this amount represents only about $4 (USD) of assistance for each Dom person.
While development efforts are being put in place so that the community can become more self-reliant, continued relief assistance is needed. Please consider making a contribution to
this important effort. There are no fees on the contributions; 100% of your contribution will be used to purchase food and medicines. If you are
interested in donating, send a check (US dollars only) to the following address. Be sure to indicate on the check or in an accompanying
note that the contribution is for the Gaza Relief Fund.
Updates on the fund will be posted to our Facebook page and on this site.
Send your contribution to:
Dom Research Center
P.O. Box 121
McComb, MS 39649
Or click on the link below to make a donation to the Gaza Relief Fund by credit card or PayPal account.
|A Gypsy Dreaming in Jerusalem, by Amoun Sleem
Working with author Virginia McGee Butler, Amoun Sleem has written a book in which she shares about her life as a Dom child in Jerusalem,
her family, her dreams for her community, and the establishment of the Domari Society of Gypsies in Jerusalem.
Anat Hoffman, chairperson of the Domari Society, spoke about Amoun saying, "Amoun and the Domari are proof that miracles can still happen in Jerusalem. Against all odds,
she is able to become teacher, leader, mentor. Without the benefit of any female leadership role model she invented a unique path and
walked it with courage. She pays the highest price for her struggle for her people--she is usually alone on the front lines. Amoun's spirit
is a force of nature. She has not succumbed to pressures from all sides 'to be normal,' bend her head, and accept a marginal role. Amoun can't
help following her vocation to lift her people from the bottom strata of Jerusalem society. Amoun is one of the bravest people I know. As long
as there are Miracles like her in the world one can believe that leadership is a divine gift."
Order your copy today from the Dom Research Center by clicking on the PayPal button below. The book costs $9.99 (plus $3.00 for shipping).
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|Updated May 25, 2015