When Oscar-winning composer Hans Zimmer heard about the expulsion of the Roma in France and Italy last year, he did not stand idly by.
The Roma, more commonly called "gypsies," make up the fastest growing ethnic group in Europe. They also are one of the most marginalized.
Hans wanted to help raise awareness about the issues the Roma face. (Photo: WireImage)
Bonnie Abaunza, the executive in charge of Hans' philanthropy division said, "He called me and said what are we going to do about this. This is terrible."
Bonnie and Hans came together with the National Democratic Institute—a nonprofit, nonpartisan, nongovernmental organization that supports democratic institutions and practices—on a PSA titled 'Who Are the Roma?' Hans composed the music with the hope of bringing greater awareness to the issue.
The National Democratic Institute reports that the Roma are routinely denied basic human rights and lack access to health care and education. This results in a highly illiterate population that struggles with poverty and violence.
Over the last two years, France expelled well over 10,000 Roma, sending them to Romania and Bulgaria, countries where they face even worse discrimination.
Catherine Pajic, NDI's Deputy Regional Director for Central and Eastern Europe, spoke to TakePart about Hans' involvement in the campaign to help the Roma find their political voice:
"It's been refreshing to see Hans get personally involved and offer his own perspectives based on his experiences in Germany. He seems to instinctively understand what is a very complex and politically sensitive set of issues. We couldn't be more thrilled about his willingness to get involved, particularly in such a creative way.
Here is the video, "Who Are the Roma?"
Recently, Hans and Lorne Balfe composed the music for a powerful video celebrating the 50th anniversary of human rights organization, Amnesty International. You can view that video here.