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Issues » 2014/2 - Social Work and Families with Children in Poverty »

Jiří Frýbert, Alena Pařízková

Do We Work with Roma People? Research of Ethnicity and Nationality of Outreach Program Clients


Non-profit organizations which define target group in their projects, very often do so based on the ethnicity of their clients. The clients of a significant number of organizations are defined primarily as Roma. The purpose of this text is to confront the perspective of organizations, which often automatically categorize their clients on the basis of certain features, with the view of the actual clients and their own definition of their ethnicity. Thus we are interested in whether the clients perceive themselves the same way they are perceived by us, as being Roma or not. During the years 2009 and 2010 we conducted research among clients of our organization (an outreach program for drug users and persons who rely on prostitution to make a living); we were inquiring about their subjective view of themselves through a questionnaire. We received over 400 responses which show the complexity and ambiguousness of the issue. The definition of a client based on certain stereotypically used physiognomic features does not have to be, and often is not, in accordance with their own identity.


social work, identity, Roma, skin colour, indiference

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