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 Post subject: Gypsies yet trying to be abreast with the world
 Post Posted: Sat Apr 23, 2005 2:23 am 
Gypsies yet trying to be abreast with the world

DM / 23APR2005

A community of 25 gypsy families with a population of about 100 persons speaking Thelingu language has encamped on the banks of the Mahakanadarawa tank at Mihintale during the New Year season. Their homes cannot be called houses, huts or tents but something beyond that.

In addition to their traditional belongings of cobras in cases, peacock feathers, they have television sets at some places indicating their strong desire to get rid of the clan's traditional life style and to fall in line with society..

" Sir, we also like to dress like you, and live in beautiful houses," they said.

They complained that no one liked them boarding a bus or to give them employment at least as wage earners. They expressed their willingness to own a land, and make a living and mingle with the society. But it is still a nightmare for them.

After they shifted from Halmillakulama at Nochchiyagama, to their new habitat at Mahakanadarawa, Divisional Health Services Centre has provided birth certificates and maternity and child care facilities to the Gypsy community.

Public Health Inspector A.S.Seneviratne has made arrangements to admit 18 gypsy children to school. Gypsy women, who wear frocks, skirts and blouses, have the opportunity to travel by buses with others. Their men also prefer to work instead of fishing.

However the gypsies who do not have a fixed abode are not entitled to any subsidy or assistance from the government. They have appealed to the Divisional Secretary and Deputy Minister of Social Services S.M.Chandrasena in this regard.


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