Visit to CATALACTICA Romania 2014/2016

Our training focused on learning about:
  1. Origins of Roma and travellers in Europe and Romania looking at; theories regarding the origins of Roma, the historical references of Roma migration in Europe and Romania, the importance of Civil Rights for the Romas in Europe and Romania.
  2. The Current Social-Demographic situation of Roma population in Europe and Romania with attention to; the demographic issues, poverty and social exclusion, Roma Strategies and policy implementation at the European level to national level to local level, Perspective on the effectiveness of interventions to support Romas’ social-economical inclusion.
  3. Social and family characteristics of Roma communities this included; Hierarchical structures in Roma communities, why customs and traditions are important in Roma communities, overcoming the barriers of communication, tolerance and stereotypes in Roma communities , generational extended family ties in Roma communities, early marriage in Roma communities and the challenges involved.
  4. Recent challenges in Roma communities focusing on; poverty and social exclusion risks, lifestyles - between tradition and modern Romas especially the younger generation, the impact of technology on nomadic Roma communities, communication beyond their tribal systems and integration in the areas they live.
  5. Crafts, traditional occupations and empowerment of the younger generation in Roma communities _ looking at; the traditional Crafts and specificity of nomadic communities, employment differentiated by areas of residence (urban or rural), labour market challenges in Europe and Romania faced by the Roma population. One of the main challenges within the roma communities was accessing suitable employment as many of them live very far from where there are employment opportunities. Secondly, majority of the Romas do not see the need to have registered employment as they believe that the government taxation systems are not favourable to the working class, hence the rather prefered black market jobs (cash-in hand paid work) which are exploitative. However, initiatives are in place in raising awareness to the benefits of engaging in legally registered employment; ie health insurance, benefiting from the government pension schemes, access some of the government benefits systems such as working tax credits, opportunity to access the wider EU labour market with previous employment experience from their home country.
  6. Participatory intrinsic change of the Romas, social mediators/ community facilitators/ local experts for Romas (positive role models across all levels – past & present)
  7. Orienting extrinsic change in Roma communities: institutions with responsibilities in improving the situation of Romas, network of NGOs concerned with the problems and assessments of positive measures to improve the situation of Romas in Romania. NGOs included; Civil Rights organisations, advocacy organisations and community organisations (looking at their missions, objectives, services, projects and impact)
  8. Cases studies of successful models on how to support and integrate Roma families. The indicators of successful models from the results of several evaluations, workshops and debates with local communities services for Roma population (developed by NGOs in high risk socially excluded communities near Bucharest –Slatina-Olt )

Case Study - Importance of Roma national agency to solve community problems through informing community members (in discussions at local communities and in rural Areas), Ensuring the rights of community members, active involvement of community leaders and their members, development of skills across the community using various methods. Future of interventions using all the insights, understanding and notes from the last days and presenting a vision of their organisation for the next 5 years with visual aids (e.g. PPP) and group discussions, Presenting the Plans of feasible interventions for Romas at local level, national and European level.

At the end of our visit, we looked at the way ahead – reflections, opportunities and possible cooperation for future project development both through Romanian government initiatives or the european ESF & Erasmus+ funding programmes.

Co-funded by the Erasmus+ programme of the European Union