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Last update 03/10/2016
Alesd is a small city located in Bihor County in Romania, part of the North West Development Region of Romania. It is the administrative centre for 4 localities - Alesd, Pestis, Tinaud and Pădurea Neagră. According to the latest census information, 12% of the total population of Alesd (10066 persons) are Roma (1213 persons), from the Calderasi and Geambash groups. The local estimates are slightly higher - of around 1500 Roma persons in the municipality of Alesd - most of them living in the Obor Neighbourhood. Beside Roma, other minorities live in Alesd among which Hungarians and Slovaks.
After the fall of communism in December 1989, the industrial sector in Alesd suffered a strong decline, until 1998 when Alesd was declared “deprived area”. This attracted foreign investment and allowed the creation of around 1,500 jobs, notably in the textile and construction material industries. A large segment of the working age Roma are employed in these industries, while another significant share is involved in agriculture.
Roma citizens living in the Obor community face issues related to education, housing and infrastructure as well as employment and health. Their most important needs were formulated as priorities by the Community Action Group (CAG) formed through the ROMACT process, described below.
Alesd joined the ROMACT Programme in October 2015 through the signature of the Letter of Commitment by the Mayor of the municipality, Mr Zeno Tipter. Within three months of its inception, the process led to the agreement between the CAG and the Local Authorities on a Local Action Plan which was afterwards approved by the Municipal Council through an official Decision on the 27th of January 2016. The Community Action Group started by formulating their short-term priorities:
|Short-term priorities of the CAG||Objective 1||Objective 2||Objective 3|
|Education||Re-initiate the “Second Chance” education programme for adults||Ensure the means of transportation for children living far away from the school||Increase the work time of the school mediator|
|Infrastructure||Repair the roads deteriorated by the works on the sewerage system||Connect to the water and electricity networks houses lacking them in the Roma neighborhood|
|Housing||Solve the legal issues around land and house ownership in the Roma community|
|Health||Employ an additional health mediator|
|Other||Train the staff of the Multifunctional Centre on Roma culture and traditions||Organise regular CAG meetings||Organise activities promoting and preserving Roma culture; organize celebrations for the 8th of April|
The long-term priorities of the CAG are:
|Long-term priorities of the CAG||Objective 1||Objective 2||Objective 3||Objective 4|
|Employment||Create more work opportunities for Roma|
|Housing||Provide land plots for new houses for the Roma community||Build social housing|
|Education||Take measure to decrease the school dropout rates of Roma children||Support young Roma in high-school so as to avoid dropout||Organise awareness campaigns for Roma parents on the importance of education|
|Infrastructure||Replace the pipelines of the water network in the Roma community||Build a protection wall against floodings in the proximity of the Cris river|
The Local Action Plan – drafted jointly by the CAG and Local Authorities and adopted by Municipal Council decision includes the following measures, in response to most of the priorities set by the Community Action Group:
|Objectives included in the JAP||Objective 1||Objective 2||Objective 3||Objective 4||Objective 5||Objective 6|
|Education||Re-initiate the “Second Chance” education programme for adults||Increase the work time of the school mediator||Expand the after school programme||Organize activities to prevent school dropout of Roma children||Ensure the means of transportation for children living far away from the school||Organise awareness campaigns for Roma parents on the importance of education|
|Housing||Create a support programme for the most deprived Roma families||Equip the multifunctional day center from the Roma community with furniture and other needed equipment|
|Health||Employ a health mediator||Monitor the implementation of the national health programme||Organize periodical meetings with the doctors from the city to discuss the health problems Roma face|
|Infrastructure||Repair the roads deteriorated by the works on the sewerage system||Connect to the water and electricity networks houses lacking them in the Roma neighborhood||Replace the pipelines of the water network in the Roma community||Provide land plots for new houses for the Roma community||Build social housing||Build a protection wall against floodings in the proximity of the Cris river|
|Employment||Organize periodical meetings with the companies in the area||Organize trainings for the members of the Roma community|
|Other||Organise intercultural and Roma culture trainings for teachers||Organise activities promoting and preserving Roma culture; organize celebrations for the 8th of April||Solve the legal issues around land and house ownership in the Roma community||Solve the issues related to Identity documents for all the community members|
In order to facilitate the implementation of the Action Plan, ROMACT supports the municipality staff members through coaching and expertise on applying for EU funds and EU project management.
In addition to the short-term priorities described above, in September 2016 the Community Action Group from Alesd - Obor put forth the idea of a fundraising campaign for a Roma citizen living in the same neighborhood in very precarious conditions together with her four children. A campaign was thus initiated under the name of "A home for Simona" which aims to gather resources for the reconstruction of the house of Ms Simona Csonka, and refurbish it with the necessary items for more decent living conditions. The Community Action Group contributes with the search for donations and through volunteering on the construction site, while the municipality of Alesd offered services related to the proper connection of the house to electricity and other ammenities. More on this story here.