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A Momentous Moment - Ethnic Recognition for Irish Travellers

Michele Zousmer | Ireland

Organization: Michele Zoumser Photography for Social Change

Twins - irish Travellers

March 2017 - The Republic of Ireland declares Irish Travellers an ethnic group! 50 years of official policy overturned!

The Irish Travellers are a marginilized group of people in Ireland who are very traditional and gender-based, with a strong love of family, lifelong bonds and God. Also known as Gypsies or Tinkers, they live in very poor conditions, often without running water, electricity or toilets, infested with rats, rocks, potholes . These conditions are not by choice but because local officials have refused to provide basic sanitation and other faciltites.  

I was immediately taken by the role of the females. Illiterate women having many children, living lives of hardship and poverty. Girls sexualized at early ages. Research shows 81%  domestic violence and a 6% higher incidence of suicide in this women's group.                                                                                                                                                It is very difficult to get ahead if you live in a world where you are looked down upon. No one should be made to feel less then. Some younger women are wanting change.  I am advocating for change. It is coming! 

I am a humanitarian photographer and visual advocate.  I believe a photographic image is a powerful tool that can create curiosity, caring, compassion and a sense of humanity. When I witness things which I feel 'unfair' or 'wrong' It is my duty to bring awareness of this injustice to the world. I give voice to the voiceless.  I hope to create conversation on diversity in our global world.  We all matter!

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