I'm in Hungary right now working with a friend on a video project and I'm posting updates on a facebook group (it's able to be viewed even if you're not on facebook). If you care to follow along, the link is here: http://www.facebook.com/group.php?v=wall&gid=114152325266572
I'll try to give a brief summary, but apologize for the length... My friend moved here about 3 years ago to form relationships with the Roma (Gypsy) people, trying to help them overcome their obstacles by teaching music and English to high school students at the Gandhi School, located in Pecs, Hungary. I was here in 2008 for a week to work alongside him and met many wonderful Roma students and new friends. The Gandhi School was created specifically for the Roma students because they have very little opportunity for a good and fair education elsewhere in the Hungarian education system due to discrimination. Many Roma students are often segregated into classes together or placed into classes for those with learning disabilities.
This is an over-simplified explanation, but the Gypsy people, if you are not familiar, have traditionally been a nomadic group with a reputation of stealing whatever they need. Their dilemma is that, because most of the common population labels them that way, they are not trusted or offered work. But even the most noble person, if not given an opportunity to work, will eventually be forced to steal what they need in order to survive. It's a destructive cycle. They are simply not trusted as a general rule, and not given opportunity to be trusted, which is as unfair to them now as it was to blacks in America prior to the Civil Rights movement.
Yesterday evening I had the extremely rare opportunity to sit and eat in with a Gypsy family in their home, and was given some additional perspective by the father who told us how, when communism came into place here, Hungarian citizens with more than one home had one of their homes taken and given to a Gypsy family. You can understand that as an added source of resentment from the people here. Then when communism fell and work was no longer guaranteed, the Gypsies had no more work, which equals no more money, no more home, plus no more education, and ultimately no more opportunity. The father, when asked what life was like under communism, did not hesitate in saying it was far better for them.
Anyway, follow along with the link above if you like. And if you care for a shocking story of how these people can be treated...