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Support Programme for the Roma Village Prislop

Supporting the Roma community in their basic needs: health, sanitation, infrastructure and schooling


Countries: Romania
Donors: Hewlett Packard
Partners: WECF Germany
Issues: Water & Sanitation, Gender & Rights
Duration: 10/2005 - 12/2007


Prislop is a village in the Rasinari commune, Sibiu County, Romania. Most of the approximately 300 inhabitants of Prislop are ethnical Roma.

The Roma in Prislop have traditionally been broom and basket makers. They do not speak the traditional Roma language and do not wear the typical Roma dress. The people from Prislop all receive unemployment benefits and just keep going by making brooms and picking berries and mushrooms in the summer. Day labour on fields and in surrounding villages is also common.

Prislop probably belongs to one of the poorest Roma communities in Romania. A unique feature of this village is its remoteness. Usually Roma settlements are situated on the outskirts of a city or village. There is electricity, one telephone, no central water or sewage system and no gas for heating. Usually families lack all basic sanitary facilities. The footpaths are made of clay, which makes them very slippery and muddy during rainy weather. There is no public transport.

The school in Prislop was closed from 1997 to 2001, because there were no teachers available or willing to teach in the settlement. In consequence, the literacy is high among the youth in the age of 15 – 20 years, In addition there are citizens, who don’t have identity papers and there for not accepted by the school for their education.

Project goals

  • Hygiene improvement of the families
  • Improvement of the living conditions and hygiene in Prislop by paving the paths
  • Teaching basic arithmatics, reading and writing skills

Project implementation

In October 2006, a meeting between Prislop women and the project team, local and WECF was organised in the newly built community centre. The education programme was explained and widely accepted among the women and the local administration, who gave the permission to use the centre. It will be the first ever use of the building).


The most suitable seasons for a schooling programme are late autumn / winter and spring. From June until October the people of Prislop are collecting berries and mushrooms and materials for the brooms. Therefore WECF could only run two learning sessions per year.

Weekly meetings of 30 minutes for the hygiene course were offered during the same period. These included topics such as the importance of hygiene, problems and causes of worm infestation; symptoms, dangers and prevention: needs of a clean house, how to prevent germs from settling on food, how to keep the mouth healthy and proper toilet habits.

Money was allocated for distributing water containers, but this activity had to be postponed due to lack of water. There is one tap in the village with a minimal water flow. Increased water is a priority.

Starting the road works

After the meeting with the community mayor of Rasinari, money for a large part of the gravel was found and the community would donate 100m of pipes to be used as drainage.

On November 4, 2006 the community organised four trucks filled with gravel. Social workers and inhabitants of Prislop spread the gravel out on the paths. More gravel is needed, but weather conditions prevent the trucks to the settlement. The road works will continue in the summer of 2007.

Former activities

Irmgard Walter, Wolf Albrecht (who died in 2003) and Margriet Samwel from WECF financed the last eight years of work in Prislop with the help of private donation and by volunteer work. Lack of time and financing made progress slow; new stoves and materials for the leeking roofs were bought, a shop was opened and in some cases medicine was donated.

Another activity was to increase the broom production and thereby the family income. Several hundreds of brooms were produced in Prislop and sold in Germany. However the lack of transport options keep this process at a low level.

Many of the health and hygiene education topics are still being taught with the financial support of Hewlett Packard.

Further information

Activities in Prislop meet with many barriers:

  • The poverty in Prislop is extremely high and the possibilities for education, investments, developing employment are on a very low level.
  • No public transport exists to the settlement
  • The three km route next village to Prislop is exhausting or even unaccessable

The Roma of Prislop are usually very hospital and open, but also sceptic, because they had bad experiences with organisations or people, who did not keep their promises. After years of visitors their living conditions have not really improved.

A documentary on the Roma of Prislop and the WECF project was made the ZDF, a German television company, in October 2006 and was broadcasted in December 2006: Mona Lisa „Hilfe für die Roma von Prislop, Frauennetzwerk gibt Hoffnung“.

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