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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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