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Raising kids in Slovakia

Hello everyone,

How is raising kids in Slovakia different from raising kids in your home country?

What are the activities that your kids seem to enjoy the most in Slovakia?

Do you feel that the country is "family-friendly"?

Do you recommend Slovakia as a good place to raise kids? Why or why not?

Thank you for sharing your experience.

Priscilla

The picture for your account shows you to have a darker Indian looking complexion. There is a good chance you, and any children with similar complexion, would be wrongly identified as gypsies in Slovakia, who also have a darker Indian looking complexion.

Gypsies are often the butt of Slovak jokes and have a very bad reputation in the country. I have witnessed this first hand from Slovak's I know. And so, I would not personally live in Slovakia if I thought there was a good chance people would think I am a gypsy.

An article" target="_blank" rel="nofollow">http://www.aljazeera.com/indepth/featur … ml]article covering some of this:

"...Growing up in Jarovnice, he [a Gypsy] says his childhood was punctuated with racist insults and systemic discrimination. "When I used to travel to school on the bus, they [white Slovaks] would call us smelly. When we go to the store, they watch us like we're going to steal," he says, shaking his head."

"...According to the European Roma Rights Centre (ERRC), Roma in Slovakia endure racism in the job market, housing and education fields and are often subjected to forced evictions, vigilante intimidation, disproportionate levels of police brutality and more subtle forms of discrimination."

"...there has been a general increase in anti-Roma hate crimes since 2008 and that segregation has continually worsened, alluding to at least eight segregation walls dividing Roma and non-Roma communities in the eastern city of Kosice alone.

And discriminatory rhetoric is as prevalent among liberal and centrist politicians as it is on the far-right, he says, explaining: "Roma are a popular scapegoat for politicians in Bratislava to gain votes while playing to a deeply prejudiced society."

Hi Sak Falco,

Hi everyone,

Priscilla is from the Expat.com team. We launched this topic to have interesting and constructive information in order to help families who want to live in Slovakia.

We would appreciate that expat living there could share their experience and answers  Priscilla's questions.

Thank you in advance for your contribution.
Christine
Expat.com

Christine :

Hi Sak Falco,

Hi everyone,

Priscilla is from the Expat.com team. We launched this topic to have interesting and constructive information in order to help families who want to live in Slovakia.

We would appreciate that expat living there could share their experience and answers  Priscilla's questions.

Thank you in advance for your contribution.
Christine
Expat.com

Also, the topic was about raising kids, not about Roma racial issues.  A little more attention to the post/topic instead of the avatar might be a good idea.

Romaniac
Expat.com Experts Team

"Priscilla is from the Expat.com team. We launched this topic to have interesting and constructive information in order to help families who want to live in Slovakia. "

Ah, okay, I did not realise Priscilla was a member of the team and this was not a conversation with a person with a real interest in raising her children in Slovakia, but instead an attempt to start a conversation. Obviously, given that, my comment is of no relevance to Priscilla. Which is good, as I thought it rather sad to think she might have her hopes of a good life in Slovakia dashed by my response.

Still, it is relevant to anybody thinking about going to Slovakia with children who do have an Indian skin complexion. And I assume more people than just myself are expected to read this page.

"Also, the topic was about raising kids, not about Roma racial issues. "

Indeed, it was about raising kids in Slovakia. Obviously, issues that don't depend on the wider context, preparing food for your child and such, are not relevant as they only depend on what you as a private individual do in your own home with your own child.

What matters are the context dependent issues. What issues will my child face living in, growing up in, and possibly then living in Slovakia as an adult (living in a country as an adult a common end result of being raised in a country). So, to the question: "Do you recommend Slovakia as a good place to raise kids?", when asked by someone of Indian skin complexion the contextual issues that matter VERY MUCH include the racial discrimination the child might face.

If it was the era before the US civil rights act and a black lady asked me how her children would fare in a locality that enforced Jim Crow laws I would warn her about the legal and cultural issues with segregation and racism. I certainly wouldn't just pretend they don't exist and let her take her children to somewhere where she is suddenly surprised her most precious loved ones are on the wrong side of some horrible injustice.

"A little more attention to the post/topic instead of the avatar might be a good idea."

So, perhaps a little more attention to the answer and why it is given rather than dismissing people, who make an honest mistake about a user's reason for asking a question, in a haughty and dismissive fashion might be a good idea.

Sak Falco :

So, perhaps a little more attention to the answer and why it is given rather than dismissing people, who make an honest mistake about a user's reason for asking a question, in a haughty and dismissive fashion might be a good idea.

It seemed pretty clear the reason for your answer.  You used the basis of someone's appearance as an opportunity to post an activist message about Romani discrimination, and you largely disregarded the actual questions that were asked.  Those questions apply to any expat, not only those of "Indian" complexion.  If you can answer any of them based on your own experiences, that might be more helpful.

As a black person living in Slovkia I agree 100% with Sak Falco.

Upon reading Priscilla's question (and before reading any replies) my gut reaction was to answer in a similar fashion to Sak, as one cannot help but take her complexion into account. The reason is two-fold:

1) She phrased the question in a way that made it appear as if she was asking for personal advice

2) With that in mind it and taking her avatar into account, it would simply be pure ignorance not to advise her of the realities she's likely to face on a very frequent basis. This is simply a fact of life here.

Had Priscilla chosen a default avatar without her photo then I pretty much guarantee 99.9% of us would have assumed she's Caucasian and responded in the 'normal' way without even raising the subject of racial discrimination. Likewise, we would also respond in a similar way if this forum was based in London, the N.Y., Amsterdam, Paris or any other multi-cultural city where her complexion would raise no concern.

However, the fact is, this is not England. It's Slovakia and it would be foolish to think you would not be subject to some sort of discrimination. If you are not Caucasian then you will face discrimination. Period. The frequency and magnitude will vary but it will be present. There's no getting around this. I should know as I speak from personal experience. However, in my case it is slightly different as I have a darker complexion than Indians so I am not 'categorized' as a 'Gypsy' so to speak.

Despite this, I would say Slovakia is very family friendly and from that perspective is a great place to raise your children. It seems like a country very much geared towards family life (e.g. up to 3 yr paternity leave for mums).

Since moving here we've also noticed we do maybe 2-3 times more activities as a family than we did in the UK. Maybe because everything is closer and more accessible (School & nursery around 3 minutes walk). The weather also helps tremendously (proper summers & winters). Yes, the overall standard of facilities might not be that great compared to other parts of Europe but that's not important.

Our kids are thriving and doing so many activities. They love it! They say they're happier here than in the UK and that's what matters to me.

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