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Last update 16/08/2016
Sighișoara is located in the Mureș County, and is today one of the best preserved medieval cities of Europe, listed as a UNESCO World Heritage Site. It is the administrative centre for seven villages: Angofa, Aurel Vlaicu, Hetiur, Rora, Șoromiclea, Venchi and Viilor. Romanians represent the majority of the population (76%), followed by Hungarians and Roma (5,6%) and lastly by Germans.
Roma's presence in the city has been attested before 1900s, a time when they began to organize in guilds of craftsmen (bricklayers, florists, musicians). It was after the fall of communism in 1989-1990 that the situation of the Roma community worsened notably, and it was also the moment when Roma became more visible. At the moment, from an infrastructure point of view, the Roma Community from Sighișoara is connected to electricity, and 50% of the dwellings have access to methane gas. Sewarage and water supply are a major issue, as most of the dwellings do not have access to them under 500 m of walking distance. Also from a housing point of view, around 80% of the houses were built without legal forms. They are today in relatively livable conditions, but there is a major problem concerning water infiltrations which can also have health repercusions. From the access to healthcare point of view, 80% of the Roma in the municipality are covered by health insurance, see regularly a general practitioner and live within a 2km distance of a hospital. There is one health mediator working within the Roma community. From the point of view of education, one of the most urgent issues is the high dropout rate among Roma children after completion of primary school - situated at around 30%. This is reportedly due to the lack of financial means of families to send their children to school, in particular the lack of possibilities to ensure transport to schools situated further.Roma from Sighișoara find job opportunities mostly in construction works and agricultural occupations, and the unemployment rate goes as high as 20%. It is estimated that around 60% of the Roma population relies on social welfare for their subsistance.
Sighișoara joined ROMACT with the signature of the Letter of Commitment by the Mayor on 2 November 2015.
Shortly after, the Community Action Group (CAG) was created, became active and prioritized the needs of the community. The tables below summarise some of the most important short-term and long-term needs of the community.
|Short-term priorities of the CAG||Objective 1||Objective 2||Objective 3||Objective 4||Objective 5|
|Education||Reduce the school dropout rates;||Support adults in advancing their education; Training programmes for adults;||Free transportation for Roma children to school;||Lifelong learning programmes and in particular the development of physical and mental health, sexual and reproductive education|
|Infrastructure||Renovation of the schools where Roma children learn;||Paving streets in Roma inhabited areas;||Renovation of the 1.5 km of the water network from the Roma community;||Building a playground for the children in the community;||Building of a bridge;|
|Housing||Deratization / Sanitation and cleaning of the houses||Solving the issue of property documents / legalisation of dwellings;|
|Long-term priorities of the CAG||Objective 1||Objective 2||Objective 3|
|Employment||Finding job opportunities for Roma parents;||Organise qualification courses;||Ensure mediation in the labor market;|
|Infrastructure||Establishing a Day Care Center;|
Based on these newly defined needs, the CAG met with the local authorities and obtained the update of the Local Development Strategy with two measures: free school transport for the Roma children from the Roma Community and the allocation of a 3000 sq. land plot for the building of a Day Care Centre. Other measures could be reviewed and included on the occasion of the next City Council meetings.
The Municipality has also shown interest to apply for Structural Funds through the Human Capital Operational Programme, Priority Axis 4 - Social inclusion and combating poverty in marginalized Roma communities and Priority Axis 5 - Community Led Local Development (CLLD).
Although the City of Sighișoara does not employ a civil servant specialized in the design and management of EU-funded projects, together with the CAG and the ROMACT representatives they managed to train their team on the use of tools and mechanisms of the Human Capital Operational Program (POCU), which resulted in the drafting of applications for Axis 4.1 of the program.
In August 2016, the following measures were either in progress or completed by the municipality of Sighisoara:
|Priorities||Measure implemented||Measure implemented||Measure implemented||Measure implemented||Measure implemented|
|Infrastructure||Rehabilitation of 1.5 km of the water network;||Rehabilitation works of the main roads leading to the Roma community;||Renovation of a bridge;||Renovation of the schools where Roma children learn;||Cleaning the river in the vicinity of the community;|
The municipality staff team working on Roma inclusion in Sighișoara managed to update and include Roma related plans and actions into every category of the Local Strategy. The CAG and the Local Authorities in Sighișoara are currently working together on improving the general situation of their community by continuously assessing their needs and planning actions to deal with their problems.