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Progress and burdens in the Roma settlement of Prislop

With the support of private donors WECF and a local partner provide since 2004 humanitarian aid to the Roma settlement in Prislop, Romania.

30.08.2010 |Margriet Samwel

With donations of the company Hewlett Packard in the years of 2006 and 2007, WECF and local partner, Anca Dancanet-Brehaita, established a women's group and started improving roads to and from Prislop, water supply and education on hygiene. WECF Water Coordinator Margriet Samwel has made it one of her goals to help the people of this village and  a  relation based on trust and confidence has been build up over the past five years.

In the year 2008 interventions were started with private donations from Germany, Sweden and the Netherlands covering leaking roofs with roofing-sheets and educational cooking for women groups. Due to the lobby work of our local partner progress was made and is visible in Prislop. The awareness of the authorities in Rasinari/Sibiu was raised about the inacceptable situation in Prislop, but people of Prislop still face many severe burdens and barriers in their daily life.

Since 2004 the following has been achieved in Prislop:

  • From 2008 to summer 2010 out of the 108 families in total 40 poor families with children received each 20 roofing sheets for covering their leaking roofs.
  • 5 families were connected to the electricity network.
  • In 2007 an educational cooking group with 3 women was started. Since 2009 the group was expanded to 27 women. Besides preparing food, there are discussions about hygiene, diseases, education and other important issues of their daily life.
  • At the beginning of the intervention in 2006 only one kid from Prislop was following additional classes in the school of the neighbouring village Rasinari. The primary school in Prislop offers only 4 classes. In 2008 three pupils from Prislop and in 2009 the number of pupils attending the school in Rasinari increased to 13 children. Next school year 16 children from Prislop will attend the school in Rasinari.
  • The principal of the school in Rasinari mentioned that the children from Prislop are even cleaner than many children from the Romanian village Rasinari.                                                                                                      
  • The water supply in Prislop was extended from one to three public taps.
  • A concrete road from the main village Rasinari to Prislop was layed, which means that an emergency can reach Prislop now.
  • Since of April 2010 the people of Prislop are living legal in their houses. Up to that time official Prislop did not exist. The local partner Anca Dancanet-Brehaita and citizens from Prislop managed to legalise the huts and yards in Prislop, meaning there is no danger anymore of eliminating the settlement.

In spite of this progress made serious problems still exist
Unfortunately also Romania is affected by the current economical crisis. In order to decrease the debts the Romanian government decided (next to cutting the salaries of the public staff with 25%) to reduce the pensions with 15% and to skip the social support to the poor people for at least during 3 month! Hence most of the unemployed families of Prislop will miss the monthly 40 Euro social support (whereas the price of 1 kg bread is 1,10 ; one egg 0,10- 0,12 ; one liter milk approximatel 1 ; the costs of the insurance for the minimal medical care is 40 Euro per person/year).

Due to the lack of income the inhabitants of Prislop do not have insurance for medical care. Only in the emergency cases the medical care in a hospital is free, but only for 3 days. After that the patient has to pay himself the costs for medical care.

Three women in Prislop need urgent help: within 6 month three young women had serious diseases and had to be treated at the urgency station of the hospital; two of them had to be operated. In addition the women had to prolong their stay for two weeks. The treatment was adequate and physically the two women  have recovered, but now each of them has a debt of 600 euro to be paid to the hospital.

With the help of the money allocated for the cooking group, a start was made with leasing the debt with monthly 20 Euro. Thanks to this preliminary solution the women were not put into jail.

The humanitarian aid for Prilop needs urgently support for:

  • Paying the hospital debt of 3 women: 3 x 550 euros
  • Establishing medical-care insurance for adults. For example by partnerships between better-off persons and poor families. Yearly costs of 40 Euro/per person/insurance
  • Connection of at least 45 huts from poor families with school children to the electricity network. Costs 550 Euro per connection. Without electricity it is very difficult for the pupils to make their homework during the dark winter season: they come home at 3 or 4 p.m. and at 5 pm it gets already dark.
  • Educational women groups. Costs for cooking with 27 women: 250 euro per month including rent of kitchen and fuel.

All donations are 100% spent on the humanitarian aid in Prislop and deductible for tax. WECF contributes with volunteer work of the coordination. The fee of the local partner for the implementation and coordination of the local activities is covered by a private donation.

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5 More families can now live in a water proof home in Prislop
Just before the start of the winter WECF and local partner were able to donate again materials to poor families in Prislop for repairing leaking roofs of five small houses
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Humanitarian Project in Prislop, Romania - Support is still needed!
Donations welcome for ' from Help to Self-Help'
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