BOGOTA, COLOMBIA, July 11, 2017 (CGTN America): According to some estimates, 11 million people worldwide consider themselves of the ethnic group known as "Roma." [The Roma or Gypsies are originally from India.] In Colombia the Roma are trying to preserve their culture and traditions as they make their home there. According to a 2005 government census, there are nearly 5,000 Roma living in Colombia. The Colombian Roma organization said that number has exceeded 8,000. In 1999, the Colombian government officially recognized the Roma people as one of the country's ethnic minority groups, so they can access educational, health and legal benefits.
Sixty-eight-year-old Jairo Demetrio, vice president of Union Romani, and his family are Roma living in Colombia. His parents came here from Russia and Greece in the 1940s, fleeing persecution in Nazi Germany. A humble and simple life is how the Demetrio family defines Roma life. They are artisans who work with metals and coppers. At home they speak the Romani language (related to Hindi). Jairo said the majority of the Roma people living in Colombia no longer lead the nomadic life for which they're known. While a new generation pursues higher education and new careers, these families try to keep Roma traditions alive.
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