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Last update 21/07/2016
The municipality of Tvarditsa is located in the Western part of the Sliven region in Bulgaria. The municipality consists of 10 entities – two cities (Tvarditsa and Shivachevo) and eight villages, three of which are located in mountainous area.
According to the last official census, conducted in 2011, the total population of the municipality is 13 804 inhabitants, with around 15% of Roma population and unofficial estimates going as high as 30%.
The Roma community lives mainly in three settlements: Tvarditsa, Oborishte and Shivachevo. More than half of the Roma population in the municipality lives in Tvarditsa, especially in the "Istok" neighbourhood and on the outskirts of the neighbourhood Kozareva. In Tvarditsa and Shivachevo, Roma live in legally built homes in fairly good conditions compared to living conditions in the villages under the administration of Tvarditsa. In these villages the situation is worse: a high percentage of Roma live in extremely poor living and sanitary conditions. In terms of infrastructure, on of the main issues is the lack of sewarage systems in the Roma neighborhoods which translated into health hazard with many cases of Type A Hepatitis reported in relation to this shortcoming. There is also need for improving the road infrastructure, of legalising certain dwellings and of improving garbage collection in the Roma neighborhoods in Tvarditsa.
Some of the Roma families with better socio-economical status have started moving out of the Roma neighborhoods, as there seem to be an unusually high number of untapped housing opportunities in the city.
From the point of view of education, the most important issues to tackle are school segregation and increasing the number of places in kindergartens.
Most Roma citizens in Tvarditsa are only able to find informal employment (e.g. woodcutters on a daily wage). As a consequence, many are not covered by health or retirement plans. Furthemore, many families are obliged to rely on social welfare to survive.
The ROMACT process was initiated in Tvarditsa in November 2015, through the signature of the letter of commitment by the Mayor of the municipality. Shortly afterwards, the Community Action Group (CAG) was created, composed of Roma citizens from the various Roma neighborhoods in Tvarditsa.
The CAG defined its needs based on a short-term and a long-term vision, as described in the tables below:
|Short-term priorities of the CAG||Objective 1||Objective 2|
|Infrastructure||Increase the frequency of garbage collection||Increase the frequency of garbage collection|
|Education||Prevention of school drop-outs||Ensure all Roma children have access to kindergartens|
|Other||eation of a community centre in the Roma neighbourhood||Development of activities for the prevention of Hepatitis A|
|Long-term priorities of the CAG||Objective 1||Objective 2|
|Education||Increase the levels of literacy of Roma children||End segregation of Roma children in schools|
|Housing||Tackling the issue of illegal buildings|
|Infrastructure||Improving infrastructures in the Roma neighbourhood|
The municipality adopted the Municipal Action Plan for Roma Integration (MAPRI) for implementation of integration policies for the period 2012-2014 and is currently developing a new one in collaboration with the CAG to cover their needs for the present period until 2020. At the moment, Tvarditsa also has a municipality development plan for the period 2014 – 2020.
The municipality has been so far very actively involved in improving the lives of the Roma community in Tvarditsa. As a result, it has started to develop projects that meet the needs put forward by the CAG.
- there is a project for the prevention of school dropouts and to tackle illiteracy of Roma pupils that was submitted to the programme "Science and education for smart growth" (OP SESG);
- the municipality invested in additional containers for garbage disposal which will shortly be placed in the Roma neighbordhoods;
- the development of a sewage system in the Roma neighbourhood;
- the creation of a cultural community centre in the neighbourhood (under the Programme for Rural Development);
- repair and purchase equipment for the building of one of the kindergartens (under the Programme for Rural Development).