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Sat Sep 9, 2017, 12:09 PM

Slovak Village Prospers in Partnership With Roma Residents It Once Shunned.

SPISSKY HRHOV, Slovakia — In a part of eastern Slovakia where other villages are withering, Spissky Hrhov shows signs of surprising prosperity. The houses are solid and well-tended. There is running water and electricity. A former distillery has been turned into an art space, its facade decorated with a colorful mosaic.

But there is something even more striking about this place. About 350 of the 1,800 residents are Roma, a group commonly shunted aside, impoverished, undereducated and widely disparaged across Europe.

“Twenty years ago, this village nearly disappeared,” said Vladimir Ledecky, 51, who has been mayor for 18 of those years.

“We were down to 700 residents, half of them Roma,” he explained. “The problem for Slovak villages is that when the population becomes half Roma, the other half tends to move out.”'>>>


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