Romani are the largest national minority in Bosnia and Herzegovina
At the same time they are the most vulnerable minority, according to all social, scientific and technical criteria and parameters to be taken into account when assessing the social status of a community or a social group.
No other national minority in Bosnia and Herzegovina, out of 17, which is how many of them were registered in the census of 1991 is in a social situation which is as difficult and problematic compared to the situation of the Romani minority.
There are no exact figures on the size of the Romani population.
According to unofficial data from the Romani NGOs, that number is about 100,000, however, it is generally accepted that the figure is somewhere between 60,000 and 70,000 Romani, spread over 275 settlements in 67 municipalities in Bosnia and Herzegovina.
Of this number, most of the Romani population is concentrated in Tuzla Canton, where, according to unofficial data, there are about 15,000 inhabitants spread over 76 settlements in 12 municipalities, while in the City of Tuzla itself there are over 5000 inhabitants, living in 25 settlements.
The socio-economic status of Romani living in the City of Tuzla, and the rest of the region, is very bad.
Unemployment is over 99 percent, the majority of the population does not have access to health insurance and a huge number of people live in settlements with inadequate infrastructure.
At the federal level of government the big improvement has been made in securing the rights for health care of Romani children. Now, they are entitled to health care from the day they were born until the age of 18 if they are included in the regular educational system. Verification is done through written documents provided to students from the school they attend. With the termination of regular schooling up to the age of 18, they lose their right to health insurance.
Overview of the socio-economic situation of the Romani population in the City of Tuzla
According to preliminary data we collected during the mapping, out of the sample of
1069 inhabitants, 470 residents are of working age. Of this number, only 33 people are employed, which is 7 percent of the working population and only 3 percent of the total Romani population listed. Of the other 473 working-age population, all of which are currently registered with the employment bureau, it was documented that 118 people have an alternative source of financing, with which they feed their families: 33 deal with the collection and resale of secondary materials, 32 people work at the market/sell used goods and 20 people receive social aid.
This information best demonstrates the very poor current economic situation of the Romani population.
The housing situation is much better, because has a number of facilities for the housing of the Romani population have been built over the years through various non-governmental initiatives. According to our preliminary data, 206 families live in private houses, 36 families live as tenants and 26 families live in temporary accommodation facilities in the Romani settlements Bankerova and Mihatovići.
Overview of the migratory trends of the Romani population in the City of Tuzla
According to unofficial data, the number of Romani population in the City of Tuzla amounts to over 5000. This estimate is high mainly because of the perceived tendency of Romani population from municipalities in the Republic of Srpska, who upon returning from seeking asylum, decide to return to the area of Tuzla Canton, primarily Tuzla.
According to our preliminary research, the number of Romani in the Tuzla area is much smaller and amounts to about 2920.
From this total number of the Romani population, we have listed a sample of 1069 inhabitants. Please note, that these results are preliminary and unofficial, and that the actual population can vary greatly.
However, to our knowledge, we can come to a conclusion, that over 60 percent of the population are now either absent from their homes or refusing to declare themselves as members of the Romani minority.
According to our estimates, the number of families from the City of Tuzla, which are currently outside the country as asylum seekers, is about 320, which is an extremely large number.
Overview of Education
According to official data, received from the Ministry of Education, Science, Culture and Sports of Tuzla Canton and the Pedagogical Institute Tuzla, in the City of Tuzla there are 291 Romani pupils in 15 primary schools and in 2 centers for special education.
Number of students in schools is as follows:
- Primary School Kiseljak: 91 pupils
- Primary School Kreka: 62 pupils
- Primary School Bukinje: 7 pupils
- Primary School . Miladije: 12 pupils
- Primary School Husino: 6 pupils
- Primary School Mejdan: 24 pupils
- Primary School Podrinje-Mihatovici: 27 pupils
- Primary School Sjenjak: 4 pupils
- Primary School Pazar: 15 pupils
- Primary School Centar: 10 pupils
- Primary School Solina: 6 pupils
- Primary School Mramor: 5 pupils
- Primary School Novi Grad: 10 pupils
- Primary School Tušanj: 3 pupils
- Primary School Jala: 3 pupils
- Public Institution Institute for the education of persons with psychological and physical development problems of Tuzla: 4 pupils.
- Public Institution Centre for education and rehabilitation of hearing and speech Tuzla: 2 pupils
In the remaining 9 elementary schools in the City of Tuzla currently no Romani pupils.
It should be taken into account that the actual number of pupils is almost certainly higher because a large number of children refuse to declare themselves as members of the Romani population out of shame or fear of abuse by other children.
According to unofficial data, which we collected from other Romani NGOs in Tuzla Canton,
the number of children in secondary schools at the cantonal level is around 50.
Also, there have been limited available data collected on the number of students in secondary schools in the City of Tuzla. They are indicating that the current secondary education covers 17 students which are attending following schools:
- Secondary School of Chemistry: 2 pupils
- Secondary School of Mechanical Engineering: 2 pupils
- Secondary Mining School: 3 pupils
- Secondary Traffic School: 8 pupils
- Secondary School of Tourism: 1 pupil
- Secondary Medical School: 1 pupil
And here it should also be noted that the actual number of students in secondary schools is significantly higher than specified, and that it needs a lot detailed research in order to come to the actual number of students.
The same applies to university education, where we have information on only 3 students, one student at each of the following faculties: Faculty of Economics, Faculty of Medicine, Faculty of Physical Education.
All presented data related to mapping are collected in cooperation with Romani NGO “Sa E Roma”.