Wednesday, 21 April 2021

Irish Travellers Photographed by Michele Zousmer

"My project gives insight into the everyday life and values of Ireland’s largest minority group. They are a beautiful group of people living traditional gender roles with great importance placed on family, lifelong bonds and God. For many there seems to be a daily struggle for survival. Most live without running water, electricity and proper sanitation. Some have become more ‘settled’ living in encampments set up by the government. I was very taken with the role of the young girls. They are sexualized at very young ages, marry in their mid-teens, and have 10 babies on average. These women lead lives full of hardship and poverty. Domestic violence and suicide is very high. I would love to see them value their education more , marry later in life and have smaller families, but I must respect the life they lead."

"This is an ongoing project. Irish Travellers continue to be the subject of political and cultural abuse. Recognized as an ethnic group they are refused services in shops, hotels, and pubs. Equality in education was offered years ago but continues to be inferior. The settled community does not want them in their neighborhood, concerned their property values will go down.
The 'Settled' and the 'Irish Travellers' need to come together to address longtime misconceptions. I hope this project creates awareness and the start of the conversation. No one should be denied basic human rights."
Michele Zousmer, humanitarian photographer

photographs by Michele Zousmer via