Amărăștii de Jos

Amarastii de Jos 2The commune is situated in the south – eastern part of Dolj County, at the border with Olt County, at a distance of 65 km from Craiova and 19.6 km from Dăbuleni city, the nearest urban settlement. It is composed of three villages: Amărăștii de Jos, Praporu and Ocolna.Demographically Amărăștii de Jos is comprised of 5520 inhabitants, of whom 1223 are Roma (census 2011). The Roma community is compact, located outside the village, but easily accessible due to the county road that connects it with the city of Dăbuleni. Ocolna village, located 10 km from Amărăștii de Jos has a population that is 100 % Roma. The Roma from the community speak both Romany and Romanian. In terms of religion, the majority are Orthodox with a fewProtestants.

Education: The main problems perceived in the field of education are the insufficient space in kindergarten, the situation of teachers commuting and who do not know the community very well, and the frequency and transport of students to high school. The poorest results are obtained in the Baccalaureate exam; therefore there are no cases of Roma children enrolled in college. The biggest problems with absenteeism are encountered in high school, the reasons presented by the teacher interviewed were the problems with the Romanian language and parental disinterest. There were no recorded cases of school dropout because the children are re-schooled.

Health: In the absence of any medical institution in the community, continuity of care is ensured by the 4 family doctors in Amărăștii de Jos (10 km) and emergencies are taken by ambulance to Dăbuleni (20 km). We recorded cases of TB (3-4), hepatitis (5-6) and HIV ( 2-4). The main problem as perceived by the community is the lack of a medical centre.Housing: Of the 270 homes in the Roma community, 200 are located on land for which they have no ownership titles. The number of overcrowded households (more than 2 persons / room) is reduced to 2-3 cases. About 10 to 15 families live in very poor conditions.

Infrastructure: The problem in terms of infrastructure is the existence of 120 households without electricity and without the possibility of connection; following the suspension of funding, the power supply is achieved by means of bale wire. The roads are paved from the main road to the old village, the construction of the Orthodox Church was started 5 years ago, but it has not been completed.

For the successful implementation of the zefiR project, we rely on the positive relationship between the Town Hall and the Roma community (described by both parties) and on the formal and non-formal local leaders of Roma and non-Roma, who are motivated to get involved in the development of their community. There are also Romany language courses in school.

The kindergarten has previous experience in projects such as “Every Child in Kindergarten”, when about 170 children received coupons. In the area there is a vocational training centre created in partnership with the Central European Association for the Promotion and Integration of Roma (CEPIR).

In addition, the local strategy contains further initiatives aimed at improving the situation of Roma, such as the completing the expansion of the electricity network, a new building for kindergarten, the recovery of the communal pasture, for which we allocated funds from the local budget. Recently we have completed the fresh water pipeline to the Roma community and the electricity project has been started.

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