A home from home

2004

A Home from Home

Walking along Westmoreland or Allison Streets today is for many like being back home in their old village. This is nothing new – at one time it would have been a place in Lithuania, or Ireland or Punjab. Today it is Slovakia or Romania. Since 2004 Govanhill has been the main point of arrival for Roma from these countries, often from specific villages such Pavloce in Eastern Slovakia. The attraction is work and Govanhill’s stock of easy access private rented housing.

All migrant groups bring over their families and then tell their friends to come and begin to form a little home from home, before spreading out across the city. Standing around chatting at the street corner on a cold Glasgow day may not be ideal – but it is what people do at home (and as
yet there is no Roma community centre).

Roma (meaning ‘men’ or ‘people’), like the other migrants to Govanhill in the past have come for a better life, to work, get a better education and often to escape discrimination. There are now about 4,000. Roma are the biggest single minority ethnic group in Europe with a 1000 year old
language (Romani), but are just a likely to identify as Slovakian or Romanian, but also now as Scottish.