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Hana Peskova
Hana Peskova
Hana Peskova

Hana Peskova

Country: Czech Republic
Birth: 1967

Hanka Peskova - passionate self-taught photographer whose journey began at the renowned Skola Kreativni Fotografie in Prague. In 2021, she was honored with the prestigious International Title of Excellence FIAP (EFIAP) by the FIAP (Artiste de la Fédération Internationale de l'Art Photographique), a testament to her artistic prowess and dedication to the craft.

Nestled in the picturesque town of Cesky Krumlov, Czech Republic, she has turned the globe into her canvas, capturing the ephemeral beauty and indescribable energy of moments and people. Her work transcends the mere act of memory preservation to unveil the essence of life itself, through the eye of her camera. As a freelance photographer, her lens has intimately explored the vibrancy of street and documentary photography for years. With a focus on the tapestry of social life, her work dives deep into the heart of ordinary life, cultural narratives, and contemporary issues. She possesses a unique attraction to the narratives of old, the allure of isolated places, and the stories of people living beyond the limelight.

Her photography is not just a window to the world but an invitation to view it through her unique perspective. Capturing not only the bustling life on the streets and the untouched facets of nature, she also ventures into the realm of creative photography. Each frame is a story, a whisper of the past or a shout of the present, always aiming to evoke emotion and provoke thought.

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James Van Der Zee
United States
1886 | † 1983
James Van Der Zee was an American photographer best known for his portraits of black New Yorkers. He was a leading figure in the Harlem Renaissance. Aside from the artistic merits of his work, Van Der Zee produced the most comprehensive documentation of the period. Among his most famous subjects during this time were Marcus Garvey, Bill "Bojangles" Robinson and Countee Cullen. Born in Lenox, Massachusetts, Van Der Zee demonstrated an early gift for music and was initially aspired to a career as a professional violinist. Van Der Zee's second interest was in photography. He bought his first camera when he was a teenager, and improvised a darkroom in his parents' home. He took hundreds of photographs of his family as well as his hometown of Lenox. Van Der Zee was one of the first people to provide early documentation of his community life in small-town New England. In 1906, he moved with his father and brother to Harlem in New York City, where he worked as a waiter and elevator operator. By now Van Der Zee was a skilled pianist and aspiring professional violinist. He would become the primary creator and one of the five performers in a group known as the Harlem Orchestra. In March 1907, Van Der Zee married Kate L. Brown and they moved back to Lenox to have their daughter, Rachel, born in September. Soon after, they moved to Phoebus, Virginia. In 1908, their son, Emile, was born but died within a year from pneumonia. In 1915, he moved to Newark, New Jersey, where he took a job in a portrait studio, first as a darkroom assistant and then as a portraitist. That same year, he converted to Catholicism and began taking assignments from the Church. He returned to Harlem the following year, just as large numbers of Black immigrants and migrants were arriving in that part of the city. He set up a studio at the Toussaint Conservatory of Art and Music with his sister, Jennie Louise Van de Zee, also known as Madame E Toussaint, who had founded the conservatory in 1911. In 1916, Van Der Zee and Gaynella Greenlee launched the Guarantee Photo Studio on West 125th Street in Harlem. They married in 1918. His business boomed during World War I, and the portraits he shot from this period until 1945 have demanded the majority of critical attention. In 1919, he photographed the victory parade of the returning 369th Infantry Regiment, a predominantly African American unit sometimes called the "Harlem Hellfighters." During the 1920s and 1930s, he produced hundreds of photographs recording Harlem's growing middle class. Its residents entrusted the visual documentation of their weddings, funerals, celebrities and sports stars, and social life to his carefully composed images. Quickly Van Der Zee became the most successful photographer in Harlem. Among his many renowned subjects were poet Countee Cullen, dancer Bill ("Bojangles") Robinson, Charles M. "Daddy" Grace, Joe Louis, Florence Mills, and black nationalist leader Marcus Garvey. By the early 1930s, Van Der Zee found it harder to make an income from his work in photography, partly because of the strained economic circumstances of many of his customers and partly because the growing popularity of personal cameras reduced the need for professional photography. Van Der Zee worked predominantly in the studio and used a variety of props, including architectural elements, backdrops, and costumes, to achieve stylized tableaux vivant in keeping with late Victorian and Edwardian visual traditions. Sitters often copied celebrities of the 1920s and 1930s in their poses and expressions, and he retouched negatives and prints heavily to achieve an aura of glamour. He also created funeral photographs between the wars. These works were later collected in The Harlem Book of the Dead (1978), with a foreword by Toni Morrison. In 1982, at age 96, Van Der Zee photographed 21-year-old painter Jean-Michel Basquiat for the January 1983 issue of Interview magazine. Van Der Zee died in Washington, D.C. on May 15, 1983. Ten years later the National Portrait Gallery exhibited his work as a posthumous tribute. In 1984 Van Der Zee was inducted into the International Photography Hall of Fame and Museum. It’s a hard job to get the camera to see it like you see it. Sometimes you have it just the way you want it, and then you look in the camera and you don’t have the balance. The main thing is to get the camera to see it the way you see it. -- James Van Der Zee Works by Van Der Zee are artistic as well as technically proficient. His work was in high demand, in part due to his experimentation and skill in double exposures and in retouching negatives of children. One theme that recurs in his photographs was the emergent black middle class, which he captured using traditional techniques in often idealistic images. Negatives were retouched to show glamor and an aura of perfection. This affected the likeness of the person photographed, but he felt each photo should transcend the subject. His carefully posed family portraits reveal that the family unit was an important aspect of Van Der Zee's life. "I tried to see that every picture was better-looking than the person ... I had one woman come to me and say 'Mr. VanDerZee my friends tell that's a nice picture, but it doesn't look like you.' That was my style", said VanDerZee. Van Der Zee sometimes combined several photos in one image, for example by adding a ghostly child to an image of a wedding to suggest the couple's future, or by superimposing a funeral image upon a photograph of a dead woman to give the feeling of her eerie presence. Van Der Zee said, "I wanted to make the camera take what I thought should be there." Van Der Zee was a working photographer who supported himself through portraiture, and he devoted time to his professional work before his more artistic compositions. Many famous residents of Harlem were among his subjects. In addition to portraits, Van Der Zee photographed organizations, events, and other businesses.Source: Wikipedia
Rohina Hoffman
United States
1968
Rohina is a fine art photographer whose practice uses portraiture and the natural world to investigate themes of identity, home, adolescence and the female experience. Born in India and raised in New Jersey, Rohina grew up in a family of doctors spanning three generations. While an undergraduate at Brown University, Rohina also studied photography at the Rhode Island School of Design and she was a staff photographer for the Brown Daily Herald. A graduate of Brown University Medical School and resident at UCLA Medical Center, her training led to a career as a neurologist. A skilled observer of her patients, Rohina was instilled with a deep and unique appreciation of the human experience. Her ability to forge the sacred trust between doctor and patient has been instrumental in fostering a parallel connection between photographer and subject. Rohina published her first monograph Hair Stories with Damiani Editore (February 2019) accompanied by a solo exhibition at Brown University’s Alpert Medical School. Hair Stories is held in many notable public collections including the Metropolitan Museum of Art, Getty Research Institute, Cleveland Institute of Art, and over 25 university libraries. Her second monograph, Embrace, with Schilt Publishing was released October 2022 (Europe) and January 2023 (U.S.) with a solo show of this work at the Griffin Museum of Photography (April 2023). In 2021, she was the winner of the Purchase Award with Atlanta Photography Group and several of her prints from her Generation 1.75 project were acquired by the High Museum of Art in Atlanta, Georgia. Her photographs have been exhibited in juried group shows both nationally and internationally in venues such as The Center for Fine Art Photography, Griffin Museum, Atlanta Photography Group, Colorado Photographic Arts Center, Los Angeles Center for Photography, Photo LA, and A. Smith Gallery. She has received numerous awards and has been published in Marie Claire Italia, F-Stop Magazine, Lenscratch, Shots Magazine, Dodho Magazine and Aesthetica Magazine among others.
Jean-Pierre Laffont
Jean-Pierre Laffont attended the School of Graphic Art in Vevey, Switzerland, where he graduated with a Master's Degree in Photography. He was a founding member of the Gamma USA and Sygma Photo News agencies. For more than five decades, Laffont traveled the globe, covering the news, the people, and the social and economic issues of his time. His photos were published in the world's leading news magazines, including Le Figaro, London Sunday Times, Newsweek, Paris Match, Stern, and Time. He was named one of the one hundred most important people in photography. Among the numerous awards Laffont has received are the Overseas Press Club of America's Madeline Dane Ross Award, the World Press Photo General Picture Award, University of Missouri's World Understanding Award and First Prize from the New York Newspaper Guild. In 1996 he was honored with the National French Order of Chevalier des Arts et des Lettres (a Knight in the National French Order of Arts and Letters). In 2016 Jean Pierre was named International Photographer of the Year of the Pingyao Photo Festival in China. In 2020 he received The Lucie Award for Achievement in Photojournalism and The Visa D'Or Award du Figaro Magazine for Lifetime Achievement. Laffont resides in New York with his wife Eliane, his daughter and his two granddaughters. Awards and Honors: 1962: Cross for Military Valor for his humanitarian acts during the Algerian War 1979: First Prize: New York Newspaper Guild, for "Child Labor"; Overseas Press Club: Madeline Dane Ross award, for originating the use of photography to raise awareness of child labor conditions around the world. 1980: World Press: First Prize, General Picture category; University of Missouri, School of Journalism: First Prize, World Understanding Award 1996: French National Order of Merit: named Chevalier de l'Ordre des Arts et des Lettres 2016: International Photographer of the year of The Pingyao Photo Festival; China. 2020: Lucie Award for Achievement in Photojournalism. 2020: Visa D'Or Award du Figaro Magazine for Lifetime Achievement. Bibliography: Contribution to the A Day in the Life Series (HarperCollins): 1983: A day in the life of Hawaii 1984: A day in the life of Canada 1985: A day in the life of Japan 1986: A day in the life of United States 1987: A day in the life of Spain 1987: A day in the life of USSR 1989: A day in the life of China 1990: A day in the life of Italy 1991: A day in the life of Ireland 1992: A day in the life of Hollywood Other Selected Publications: 1986: The Long March (Intercontinental Press); in commemoration of the 50th anniversary of Mao Zedong's historical Long March 1989: Trois Jour en France (Nathan/France) 1992: America Then and Now (Cohen/HarperCollins) 1999: Les 100 photos du Siècle (Editions du Chêne) 2003: America 24/7 in Manhattan (NY State) 2011: The New York Times Magazine: Photographs (Aperture Foundation) 2013: 40 ans de Photojournalisme: Generation Sygma (Editions de La Martinière/France) Monographs: 1976: CB Bible, Porter Bibb (Doubleday) 1981: Women of Iron (Playboy) 2008: Jean-Pierre Laffont Foreign Correspondent (Editions C.D.P/France) 2014: Photographer's Paradise: Turbulent America 1960-1990: (Glitterati) named best picture book by The Lucie Awards 2017: New York City Up and Down: (Glitterati) 2019: Nos Stars en Amèrique Cartes postales de Jean Pierre Laffont: (Editions de La Martinière) For special print requests please contact us directly.
Philip Jones Griffiths
Wales
1936 | † 2008
Born in Rhuddlan, Wales, Philip Jones Griffiths studied pharmacy in Liverpool and worked in London while photographing part-time for the Manchester Guardian. In 1961 he became a full-time freelancer for the London-based Observer. He covered the Algerian War in 1962, then moved to Central Africa. From there he moved to Asia, photographing in Vietnam from 1966 to 1971. His book on the war, Vietnam Inc., crystallized public opinion and gave form to Western misgivings about American involvement in Vietnam. One of the most detailed surveys of any conflict, Vietnam Inc. is also an in-depth document of Vietnamese culture under attack. An associate member of Magnum since 1966, Griffiths became a member in 1971. In 1973 he covered the Yom Kippur War and then worked in Cambodia between 1973 and 1975. In 1977 he covered Asia from his base in Thailand. In 1980 Griffiths moved to New York to assume the presidency of Magnum, a post he held for a record five years. Griffiths' assignments, often self-engineered, took him to more than 120 countries. He continued to work for major publications such as Life and Geo on stories such as Buddhism in Cambodia, droughts in India, poverty in Texas, the re-greening of Vietnam, and the legacy of the Gulf War in Kuwait. His continued revisiting of Vietnam, examining the legacy of the war, lead to his two further books ‘Agent Orange’ and ‘Vietnam at Peace’. Griffiths' work reflects on the unequal relationship between technology and humanity, summed up in his book Dark Odyssey. Human foolishness always attracted Griffiths' eye, but, faithful to the ethics of the Magnum founders, he believed in human dignity and in the capacity for improvement. Philip Jones Griffiths died at home in West London on 19th March 2008From en.wikipedia.orgJones Griffiths was born in Rhuddlan, to Joseph Griffiths, who supervised the local trucking service of the London, Midland and Scottish Railway, and Catherine Jones, Rhuddlan's district nurse, who ran a small maternity clinic at home. He studied pharmacy in Liverpool and worked in London as the night manager at the Piccadilly branch of Boots, while also working as a part-time photographer for the Manchester Guardian. His first photograph was of a friend, taken with the family Brownie in a rowboat off Holyhead. Jones Griffiths never married, saying it was a "bourgeois" notion, but that he had had "significant" relationships. Survived by Fanella Ferrato and Katherine Holden, his daughters from long-term relationships with Donna Ferrato and Heather Holden. He died from cancer on March 19, 2008. Journalist John Pilger wrote in tribute to Griffiths soon after his death: "I never met a foreigner who cared as wisely for the Vietnamese, or about ordinary people everywhere under the heel of great power, as Philip Jones Griffiths. He was the greatest photographer and one of the finest journalists of my lifetime, and a humanitarian to match…. His photographs of ordinary people, from his beloved Wales to Vietnam and the shadows of Cambodia, make you realise who the true heroes are. He was one of them." Griffiths started work as a full-time freelance photographer in 1961 for the Observer, travelling to Algeria in 1962. He arrived in Vietnam in 1966, working for the Magnum agency. Magnum found his images difficult to sell to American magazines, as they concentrated on the suffering of the Vietnamese people and reflected his view of the war as an episode in the continuing decolonisation of former European possessions. However, he was eventually able to get a scoop that the American outlets liked: photographs of Jackie Kennedy vacationing with a male friend in Cambodia. The proceeds from these photos enabled him to continue his coverage of Vietnam and to publish Vietnam Inc. in 1971. Vietnam Inc. had a major influence on American perceptions of the war, and became a classic of photojournalism. The book was the result of Griffiths' three years work in the country and it stands as one of the most detailed surveys of any conflict, including descriptions of the horrors of the war as well as a study of Vietnamese rural life and views from serving American soldiers. Probably one of its most quoted passages is of a US army source discussing napalm: ‘We sure are pleased with those backroom boys at Dow. The original product wasn’t so hot - if the gooks were quick they could scrape it off. So the boys started adding polystyrene - now it sticks like shit to a blanket. But if the gooks jumped under water it stopped burning, so they started adding Willie Peter (white phosphorus) so’s to make it burn better. And just one drop is enough, it’ll keep on burning right down to the bone so they die anyway from phosphorus poisoning.’ The South Vietnamese president, Nguyen Van Thieu, criticized Griffiths' work, remarking "Let me tell you there are many people I don't want back in my country, but I can assure you Mr. Griffiths name is at the top of the list." In 1973, Griffiths covered the Yom Kippur War. He then worked in Cambodia from 1973 to 1975. In 1980, he became the president of Magnum, a position he then held for five years. In 2001 Vietnam Inc. was reprinted with a foreword by Noam Chomsky. Subsequent books have included Dark Odyssey, a collection of his best pictures, and Agent Orange, dealing with the impact of the US defoliant Agent Orange on postwar generations in Vietnam. After becoming aware of his terminal condition, Jones Griffiths launched a foundation to preserve his archives. His daughters helm the foundation, which as of July 2008 lacked a permanent home. Source: www.magnumphotos.com
Karl Struss
United States
1886 | † 1921
Karl Struss, was a notable figure in American visual arts, renowned for his contributions as both a photographer and a cinematographer spanning from the early 1900s to the 1950s. Notably, he played a significant role in the advancement of 3-D filmmaking techniques during his career. His portfolio boasts a diverse range of projects, including iconic films like F.W. Murnau's Sunrise: A Song of Two Humans and Charlie Chaplin's The Great Dictator and Limelight. Beyond his cinematic endeavors, Struss also lent his expertise to television productions, notably serving as a cinematographer for the series Broken Arrow and capturing the essence of 19 episodes of My Friend Flicka through his lens. Born in New York City in 1886, Karl Struss's early life took an unexpected turn when an illness sidelined him from high school. His father, Henry, made the decision to withdraw him from formal education, placing him as a labor operator at Seybel & Struss bonnet wire factory. However, this diversion ignited a passion within Karl for photography. He delved into the craft, experimenting with an 8x10 camera and immersing himself in the art through Clarence H. White's evening photography course at Teachers College, Columbia University, starting in 1908 and concluding in 1912. During his formative years of study, Struss's fascination with camera lenses led him to invent the Struss Pictorial Lens in 1909, which he aimed to patent as a soft-focus lens. This innovation garnered attention and popularity among pictorial photographers of the era, ultimately becoming the first soft-focus lens embraced by the motion picture industry in 1916. Struss's breakthrough in the world of photography came when Alfred Stieglitz selected 12 of his pictorial works for the Albright Art Gallery International Exhibition of Pictorial Photography in 1910, marking the culmination of the Photo-Secession movement. His reputation continued to flourish, as evidenced by his inclusion in the prestigious exhibition "What the Camera Does in the Hand of the Artist" at the Newark Art Museum in April 1911. This success led to an invitation from Teacher's College for Struss to curate a solo exhibition showcasing his depictions of New York City and to temporarily assume teaching responsibilities for White's course during the summer of 1912. Further recognition came when Stieglitz invited Struss to join the Photo-Secession in 1912, facilitating the publication of his work in the group's magazine, Camera Work. In 1913, Struss collaborated with Edward Dickson, Clarence White, Alvin Langdon Coburn, and Paul Anderson to establish Platinum Print, a publication aimed at promoting photographic artistry. By 1914, Struss fully embraced his identity as a professional photographer, resigning from the family business and taking over Clarence White's former studio space, marking a pivotal moment in his career trajectory. At the suggestion of Coburn, Struss took the initiative to submit prints to the American Invitational Section of the Royal Photographic Society's annual exhibition in London, marking the beginning of a recurring practice that would extend well into the 1920s. Alongside this, he actively participated in various exhibitions organized by photography clubs and associations, such as the Pittsburgh Salon of National Photographic Art and the annual photography showcase hosted by the Philadelphia department store Wanamaker's. While engaging in these exhibitions and handling specialized commissions, Struss concurrently pursued commercial photography for esteemed magazines like Vogue, Vanity Fair, and Harper's Bazaar. It's noteworthy that he maintained a distinction, adamantly asserting that his work didn't fall under the category of fashion photography. However, the trajectory of his photographic career was interrupted by the outbreak of World War I. In 1917, he fulfilled his patriotic duty by registering for the draft and subsequently enlisting with the intention of serving his country through photography. Initially trained for aerial photography instruction, Struss encountered complications when his German connections came under scrutiny by the Military Intelligence Department. This led to his demotion from sergeant to private and a period of confinement in Ithaca, New York, where he was originally stationed to teach at the School of Military Aeronautics. Eventually, he was transferred to Fort Leavenworth, where his duties shifted to serving as a prison guard and later as a file clerk. In this latter role, he reignited his passion for photography, documenting the lives of the prisoners. Towards the end of the war, in a bid to dispel any lingering suspicions of anti-American sentiment, Struss sought to clear his name by applying and being accepted into Officer's Training Camp, attaining the rank of corporal. Despite receiving an honorable discharge eventually, the fallout from the military investigation likely left him hesitant to resume his previous endeavors in New York, as many of his professional relationships had been strained or fractured as a result. In 1919, following his military discharge, he relocated to Los Angeles, where he secured a position as a cameraman under Cecil B. DeMille's direction. His first assignment was on the set of the film For Better, For Worse, featuring Gloria Swanson, which paved the way for subsequent collaborations on projects like Male and Female. This successful partnership led to a lucrative two-year contract with the studio. Early in 1921, Struss tied the knot with Ethel Wall, whose support enabled him to pursue independent photographic ventures alongside his studio obligations, notably capturing scenic views across California. Throughout the 1920s, his cinematic expertise graced notable productions including Ben-Hur and F.W. Murnau's Sunrise: A Song of Two Humans. By 1927, he transitioned to United Artists, collaborating with luminaries such as D.W. Griffith on projects like Drums of Love and pioneering Mary Pickford's inaugural sound film, Coquette. Continuously innovative, Struss delved into experimental camera technology, inventing the "Lupe Light" and devising a novel bracket system for the Bell & Howell camera. From 1931 to 1945, Struss contributed his talents as a cameraman to Paramount, engaging in diverse projects featuring prominent figures like Mae West, Bing Crosby, and Dorothy Lamour. He also made significant contributions to the field through his written work, exemplified by his 1934 article "Photographic Modernism and the Cinematographer" published in American Cinematographer. Recognized for his expertise, he gained membership in esteemed organizations such as the American Society of Cinematographers and played a pivotal role as a founding member of the Academy of Motion Picture Arts. In 1949, while working independently, Struss embarked on pioneering endeavors in stereo cinematography, positioning himself as a trailblazer in this emerging art form. Regrettably, most of his 3-D film ventures took place overseas in Italy, with none of his productions receiving 3-D releases in the United States. In addition to his illustrious career in photography and cinematography, Struss pursued a passion for philately, particularly focusing on the inaugural transpacific airmail flights. He meticulously crafted commemorative covers for significant events such as the first San Francisco to Honolulu flight in November 1935, showcasing his dedication to this specialized hobby. His personal collection, including exhibition prints, film stills, negatives, and papers, is housed at the Amon Carter Museum of American Art in Fort Worth, Texas.
Shawn Theodore
United States
1970
Shawn Theodore (b. 1970, Germany) is an award-winning photographer whose work opens broad conversations regarding the role of the photographer in the shaping of agency and imagery, engages in new forms of storytelling, and impacts the trajectory of the collective black consciousness. Theodore has participated in exhibitions at various institutions, galleries and fairs, including the African American Museum in Philadelphia (2017, 2018), Mennello Museum of American Art (2018), The Barnes Foundation (2017, 2018, 2019), Steven Kasher Gallery (2018), AIPAD (2018, 2019), Hudson Valley Community College (2018), Catherine Edelman Gallery (2017), The Bakalar & Paine Galleries at MassArt (2017), Snap! Orlando (2018), Richard Beavers Gallery (2018), PRIZM Art Fair, Scope Art Fair, Philadelphia Photo Arts Center, Rush Arts Gallery (2017, 2018), and the University of the Arts (2019). His commercial projects include works for Apple, Showtime Networks, RocNation, PAPER Magazine, New York Magazine, Smithsonian Magazine, The Atlantic, The New York Times, PDN and others. Theodore was awarded the prestigious PDN’s 30 New & Emerging Photographers to Watch (2019), the Getty Images / ARRAY ‘Where We Stand’ (2018) grant and a grant from the Knight Foundation for ‘A Dream Deferred’ (2018). He is a two-time nominee of The Pew Center for Arts & Heritage Fellowship, and a nominee of the Magnum Foundation Fund. Theodore earned his BA in JPRA (Journalism, Public Relations and Advertising) from Temple University. He currently attends the MFA for Photography program at Savannah College of Art and Design (SCAD Atlanta). Theodore is a current trustee of the Rush Philanthropic Arts Foundation and the Philadelphia Photo Arts Center. Source: www.shawntheodo.re
Manuela Federl
Germany
1981
Manuela Federl has worked as a journalist for more than 15 years. She studied languages, economics and cultural area studies with a focus on Romance studies at the University of Passau in Germany and the Universidad de Concepción in Chile. Her Thesis about the indigenous people in Chile Mapuche. Gente de la tierra sin tierra is also available as a book. After graduating, she worked as a journalist for an private broadcaster for five years. In 2016, she founded her company bergjournalisten. Since then she has been working as an independent documentary film director and journalist for different TV stations and for cinemas. In 2016, she received the Short Plus Award for her feature film "100 Hours of Lesbos". In 2021 she got several prices for her documentary "THE GAME. Gambling between life and death" about the situation of refugees at the EU border. Since two years she is travelling through different countries to document in picture and text social topics. The Roma Princesses ''Once upon a time there was a princess in the Roma ghetto. Society's racism and discrimination trapped her in the slum. Nevertheless, a brave prince tried to free her from the clutches of poverty and place the world at her feet.'' A dream that many girls in the Roma settlements probably have. The girl from this fairy tale lives in Trebišov, one of the largest Roma ghettos in Slovakia. Around 7,000 people live here under precarious conditions in cobbled-together barracks or run-down tenements. Most apartments have no sewage system, no showers, no toilets and no kitchen. There is one single well for all residents. Trebišov, in eastern Slovakia, is one of around 800 settlements that exist, according to the 2019 Atlas of Roma Communities. Around 450,000 Roma live in Slovakia. At around ten per cent, they are the largest minority in the country. But already children have a difficult start. According to a 2022 study by the European Union, 2/3 of Roma children go to schools where only Roma are taught. The girl from the fairy tale also attends an all-Roma school in the settlement. The children often speak Romani, the language of the Roma, with their parents at home. Since there are no kindergartens for them, their Slovak language is often poor when they start school. They are enrolled in special schools that only Roma attend. The school material in nine years corresponds to the content that Slovak children learn in four years. Because of this, attending secondary school is almost impossible. Discrimination and poor access to education prevent young Roma from breaking the vicious circle of poverty. According to the Slovak Interior Ministry, 48 per cent of Roma are unemployed. Mostly they get day labour jobs. They have no regular routine and no hope for improvement. These prospects make life difficult to bear. Hopelessness has led many young people to become addicted to alcohol or drugs. No population group in Europe has to live in more inhumane conditions. On average, they die ten years earlier than other Slovaks.(...)
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