There were poor parents, they had a son Liu and a daughter Li. Once the conqueror came to the country, the parents fled and lost children in the confusion. Orphaned Liu and Li went to look for them - each chose his own way. A few years later they met and, not recognizing each other, got married. When the truth opened, the mullah cursed the couple, and since then this curse has haunted her descendants, who are called Lyuli.
This is one of the legends that can be heard from old people from an unusual group of Roma-Lyuli living in Kyrgyzstan only in the south, in the Osh region. It attempts to explain not only the origin of the word Lyuli, who does not have a translation from any language, but also emphasizes the isolation of the community living apart from the surrounding population.
The settlement of southern gypsies Lyuli was located outside the regional center of Osh. Citizens do not dare to look here, visits of representatives of the authorities are rare. Every few years a variety of motorcade makes a difference, causing indescribable delight in children. This happens during the election campaign, when the next candidate for deputy needs urgently to get votes ...
The mini-state, consisting of residents of one village “Yangi-makhallya” and numbering about two and a half thousand people, reminds of its existence with crowds of women and children on the streets of the regional center. Some are guessing, others are begging, and others are selling fragrant smoke of the grass of the ysryk, supposedly scaring evil spirits. Rumor has it that this type of fishing has helped many of them to put together large states and build villas.
“These are just conversations,” deny the head of the Lyuli public foundation, Bahadirzhan Narmirzayev. - We have the lowest standard of living in the republic. More than half of families lead a beggarly existence, surviving at the expense of handouts, the collection of recycled materials in landfills.
The village is located on the territory of the former collective farm named after Lenin, who fed the Roma in the Soviet era. Former farm workers got eight hectares of land. But, Gypsy families, as a rule, have many children, and they lack these allotments. Of the entire diaspora, only 5% are considered affluent. Today, 30% of the families of the community are classified as poor and 40% are poor.
- Representatives of this social group live in houses that require major repairs with clay floors and windows that are not glazed. No furniture, bed linen, people sleep on dirty and torn mattresses. Children do not attend school, earning a living by begging.
“The menu in such families consists of tea and bread, meat and dairy products are very rare,” say experts at the El-Pikir Public Opinion Research Center, who for the first time seriously examined the living conditions of southern Lyuli. The main problems of the community are unemployment, illiteracy, high levels of tuberculosis, poor sanitary conditions of dwellings, and lack of clean drinking water.
According to Arsen Ambaryan, executive director of the public association “Our Rights”, this people remains out of sight of state authorities, which creates prerequisites for violation of their constitutional rights.
- Pensions, benefits, land tenure remain actual problems in the life of Gypsies Lyuli. They still cannot claim legal rights to land shares due to the lack of documents. Taking advantage of this, they are shamelessly deceived by officials who are obliged to help out. The Gypsy diaspora has the highest unemployment rate, pushing them into begging, stealing, and drug trafficking. Liuli by social position at the lowest level.
Early marriages have become common, girls are married at the age of 14-15, child and maternal mortality is high. Medical assistance to the villagers is not available, they often have no money even for transportation to get to the nearest polyclinic, not to mention the purchase of necessary medicines, Arsen Hambarian notes.
The interlocutor shows a typewritten certificate to certify the identity of the person. Law enforcement agencies do not consider this piece of paper issued in a village government a document and are refused to issue passports.
“As a result, people find themselves in a vicious circle: they cannot register their marriage, receive birth certificates of children and, accordingly, school graduates lose their education certificates,” says the vis-a-vis. - There are families where several generations do not have any documents proving their identity, or live on a Soviet-style passport.
The public association “Our Rights” set out to solve the problem of issuing documents to Roma families. They started with young residents of the village: 52 children who did not have birth certificates were identified in the local school. Appeals to the appropriate authorities to contribute to the receipt of this document are ineffectual so far: officials are impenetrable. However, the lawyers of the non-governmental organization are determined: they intend to attract the attention of deputies of the parliament of the republic, officials of the Ministry of Justice to this problem.
“We will strive for the notary office workers to take a step towards those who need their help, come to the school and begin work on documenting the children,” says Arsen Hambarian.
The future of any nation depends on the realization of the rights to education. And in this area, representatives of a small ethnic group are subject to discrimination. It is difficult to call the “temple of knowledge” the only school in the south of the republic where children of Gypsy nationality study. The incomplete secondary school is a one-story building of a barrack type with small classes and a small courtyard replacing the sports ground. Officially, the school has over 400 children. Half attends classes. Poverty, one of the reasons for the lack of interest in learning, is difficult to fight: weak material base, lack of textbooks, technical aids, laboratory equipment. In addition, children are forced to skip classes due to the lack of shoes and clothing.
Nevertheless, teaching in a foreign language is considered the main obstacle to gaining knowledge in the diaspora. At home, children speak their native language; at school, instruction is conducted in Uzbek. Difficult to overcome language barrier leads to a lack of interest in learning. And this fact worries adults.
“Children drop out of school without seeing prospects,” says community leader Bahadirzhan Narmirzayev. “In secondary special and higher educational institutions of the republic, classes are conducted in Russian and Kyrgyz, which the younger generation does not know.
In his opinion, the way out is seen in the translation of the school into the state language with the introduction of Russian and native languages. With such a request, a group of parents for several years applied to the local government - the village government. Last school year, finally, two classes were opened with instruction in the Kyrgyz language, but many children and their parents are not satisfied with the quality of teaching.
The Lyuli Society is developing a proposal to open a Sunday school to study the language of its people, its culture and history.