Grădinari

GradinariGrădinari commune is situated in the northwest area of Olt County, 10 km from Drăgăneşti town, Vâlcea County, 25 km away from Slatina and 35 km away from Balş. The settlements of the commune are Grădinari, the administrative centre, Petculeşti, Runcu Mare and Satu Nou. The total population of the commune consists of 2370 inhabitants according to the 2011 Census. According to the hetero-identification criterion, the number of Roma is 1100, and at the census 564 people identified themselves as belonging to Roma people.

The Roma community is dispersed throughout the entire Grădinari commune and the only one more compact is the one after the Valley, where around 20 houses are built. In Petculeşti and Răcănei villages there are fewer Roma. Regarding the cultural specificity of the Roma, they are Ursari and Rudari. They speak both Romanian and Romany.

Education

In Grădinari commune there are two schools: the primary and lower secondary school from Petculeşti village (100 % Roma students) and the primary and lower secondary school from Grădinari (80 % Roma students). For preschoolers there are two kindergartens: the Kindergarten from Petculeşti (100 % Roma children) and the Kindergarten from Grădinari (80 % Roma students). Of the data provided by the school, of the 191 students of the primary and lower secondary school, 151 students are Roma. Since 2008 the community has benefited from the services of a school mediator. Also, students are offered courses of Romany taught by a Roma teacher. The main problems are the lack of successful models in the community, school dropout due to the lack of financial means, the guidance of children agricultural labour to the detriment of their schooling, girls assuming the role of caretakers for their younger siblings, and parental migration abroad. The closing of schools due to the decrease of the number of students resulted in school children commuting to Grădinari school. The level of education of Roma adult is very low, over 67% having less than 4 years of schooling.

Health

The local community is served by a medical practice, where one doctor is employed. The nearest medical point is 4-5 km from the community, the equipment is old and the building needs renovation. The number of patients per doctor is very high, at 2200. Also, the community has 700 people without insurance, who have to pay for each medical investigation. A large number of children are not vaccinated, and those born abroad are not registered. There is a large number of physically disabled people (25) and mentally disabled people (15). The health mediator gave up the job due to the low level of remuneration.

Housing and Infrastructure

The Roma community has 200 houses of which 30 have no ownership documents for the land on which they were built. The community access roads are paved or cobbled, and the interior ones are cobbled. There is access to the electricity network, running water and water supply and sanitation services. Access to local public / private transport cannot currently be achieved. The problems concern the lack of ownership documents on the land where they build their houses, overcrowding (70 % of houses), poor housing conditions (one third of the homes), and lack of utilities. Also, young families have nowhere to build their homes, as the land in this area has been returned to the Orthodox Church.

Entrepreneurship and Community Development

There are 2 family businesses in the Roma community. They also want to establish an enterprise to process agricultural products. In the community there is an expert on Roma issues and the local Roma leader became a mayor in 2012. The relationship with the Town Hall is very good, and a representative of the Roma participates in the meetings of the local council. They work with the County Office for Roma (COR) by participating in the meetings of the Mixed Working Group (MWG) of the Roma experts of Public Local Authorities, by providing support in drafting the quarterly report of COR activity, and by conducting various campaigns in collaboration with the Prefecture.

There are no inter-ethnic conflicts, people work together in the agricultural activities, and mixed intermarriages are numerous.

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