*Disclaimer: The information and views set out in this page do not necessarily reflect the official opinion of the Council of Europe and/or the European Commission. Neither the Council of Europe, the European Commission nor any person acting on their behalf may be held responsible for the use which may be made of the information contained therein.
Last update 11/10/2016
Barcea is a commune in Galați County in Romania, with a population of 4957 people according to the latest census. The Roma population represents close to 16,5% of the population of Barcea, although local estimates go as high as 20% (5% of the population during the last census did not declare its ethnicity). Most of them live in the Podoleni village of the municipality, an area with a high level of unemployment and serious infrastructure problems. The municipality is largely rural, with agriculture as a main subsistence activity, along with scarce opportunities in industry, education, health and food industry. Traditionally, many Roma men from Podoleni are musicians.
Among the most urgent issues affecting Roma in Barcea, the lack of property documents for their households is particularly problematic as it affects their access to utilities and public services and prevents the municipality from implementing infrastructure projects in the area. There are around 15 houses (30 families) built in a flood plain which makes their legalization difficult (as per National Water Company regulations). The area is also the only possible location for young Roma families to settle, as the municipality has little building plots available. Efforts at the County and municipal levels are in progress both for the legalization of the area and the protection of the houses from flood risks. Also from a housing point of view, Roma families with relatives working abroad have a generally better housing situation than the rest of the Roma population.
There are no reported cases of lack of identification documents of Roma citizens in Barcea. However, elderly Roma citizens have difficulties accessing their retirement rights due to a lack of understanding and financial means to initiate the necessary administrative procedures.
There is a generally poor infrastructure, particularly in Podoleni village (unpaved roads, no public lighting, many houses do not have electricity) and the entire municipality has neither a sewage system, nor a water treatment plant. The municipality has initiated a project for the extension of the water supply system targeting Podoleni village among other areas.
The community as a whole has difficult access to health services, as there is no clinic close to the Podoleni village, with only one General Practitioners’ office set up in a private property. Concerning education, there is a very high school dropout rate of Roma children in Barcea, where close to 85% of the 350 Roma pupils quit secondary school. On the other hand, there are 10 Roma young adults who graduated from university. Two projects on “Second Chance” education and vocational training financed through the European Social Fund were recently concluded.
There is one health mediator and one school mediator active in the municipality, both involved in the ROMACT programme as Community Action Group members, along with the two Roma municipal councilors of the municipality and Roma citizens from Podoleni.
Barcea joined the ROMACT Programme in November 2015 through the signature of the letter of commitment.
While a Community Action Group is not yet officially recognized through a local municipal decision, a group of Roma citizens including the two Roma municipal councilors, the school and health mediators, the municipal Roma expert and other Roma citizens, have already met in view of the definition of the measures to be included in the Joint Action Plan. The needs identified could be summarized as follows:
|Short-term priorities of the CAG||Objective 1||Objective 2|
|Infrastructure||Paving of dirt road in Podoleni village||Grant at least 50% of the Roma families access to public utilities (water, electricity)|
|Education||Creating of a school drop-out prevention cell (specialized office, psychologist)|
|Employment||Creation of more job opportunities for Roma citizens|
|Health||Registration of at least 10% of the Roma population with a General Practitioner|
|Other||Collect stray dogs in the village||Facilitate connection to electricity network of 30 houses|
|Long-term priorities of the CAG||Objective 1||Objective 2|
|Housing||Solving of the issue around property documents for illegal houses|
|Other||Access to a cultural center for Roma musicians||Building of a sports hall|
The ROMACT Process in Barcea, as indicated in the timeline below, is in progress.
While a Joint Action Plan has not yet been formally adopted, thanks to the civic engagement of the Community Action Group in Barcea, two of the short-term priorities are in progress of solving since autumn 2016: the collection of stray dogs in the village and the issueing of construction permits allowing residents in a more secluded area of Barcea to connect to the electricity network.
Local authorities benefit from the guidance of the ROMACT facilitator and ROMACT expert in terms of screening of other funding opportunities besides the Operational Program Human Capital Development*, 4.1 – Integrated Local Development in marginalized communities, already engaged with Amare Rromentza.
In order to build the capacity of the local authorities to cooperate with and improve the living conditions of Roma, ROMACT also gave 3 staff members of the Barcea Municipality the possibility to attend a 3 days training on Writing Project Proposals and Project Management. It is worth noting that the municipality has received the approval of a project for the asphalting of unpaved roads under the National Programme for Regional Development (NPRD), which also targets the area where most Roma live.
* Priority 4, with €940 million, aims to promote social inclusion and to fight poverty. Integrated measures will help disadvantaged people, including Roma, to access the labour market, by improving their skills and supporting entrepreneurship and social enterprises, among other actions. Several vulnerable groups will be supported, such as homeless, persons suffering from dependence, victims of domestic violence or trafficking, prisoners or ex-offenders, elderly and disabled people. Specific support will also be provided to social services, such as social assistance, health and care services, including support the so-called "de-institutionalisation" (assistance to groups with care needs allowing them to live more independently instead of committing them in institutions). Source: http://ec.europa.eu/esf/main.jsp?catId=576&langId=en