Until this time the Somerset Foundation chose as target the Romani community from the Slobozia village, in Voinesti near Iasi. As here there have been identified numerous needs: health problems, school and sanitary education, crowded and degraded homes.
The village of Slobozia is 20 kilometers away from Iasi in a hilly and forested area. The village is divided in two parts, the valley and the top of the hill. In the valley there live Romanians but at the top of the hill – which is much broader - the Romani (Gypsy) community.
Slobozia has, estimated by the local authority, 1500 houses, out of which approximately 1000 are Romanian Gypsies but they declared to be Romanian on the census because, they say, they do not know the Gypsy language.
Slobozia is approx. 3 miles away from the main village in the community, Voinesti, but the distance between the two can be walked, crossing a hill or on the road. The area in which the Romani people live is at a 2 miles walk from the village entrance.
The SWOT Analysis
The SWOT Analysis of the Romani community from the village of Slobozia, Com. Voinesti, Iasi County
- Unemployment at phenomenal proportion
- Lack of utilities (sewage canals, running water, gas, and power)
- Increased degradation of the houses
- Overcrowded households
- No authorization of construction
- The soil of Slobozia is unfavorable to agriculture (the land being extremely hilly and visible earth flow problems)
- Poverty that hinders children's professional development through education
- Low degree of individual and community hygiene
- Rising number of people having health problems
- Low supply of potable water during a drought
- Low professional mobility
- Poor relations with the Romanians
- Increased school abandonment
- The relative young marrying age accentuating the poverty as they are giving birth to many children that they have no possibility to provide for adequately.
- Abilities in traveling commerce (pedlary)
- Some are Pentecostal, which represent a potential co-operation showing a desire to work
- Existence of a community leader, Virgil Badarau (48 years old) – distinguished through the fact that he attended courses for community leaders (at Roma Resource Centre in Cluj) as well as being a religious leader (Pentecostal).
- Mostly young population
- Availability and willingness in attending educational courses
- Mutual help relations with the ethnicity
- The existence of government programs concerning the educational field (a kindergarten at European standards, support for children's writing materials, renovation of the old schools)
- The existence of a project concerning the extension of the network of public illumination and surface the roads
- The existence of a project connecting a network of potable water from another village
- The authority's intentions to open a brick factory, using the village's existing resources, the clay soil, or to open a farm
- By the help of Link Romania, and with help from external sponsors, there have been built 20 wells and 4 homes.
- Lack of sanitary services (medical offices and pharmacy)
- Not declaring on the official census that they are Roma
- Lack of projects concerning intervention in the Roma community
- Distrusting the authorities
- Lack of work places in the local plans
- Lack of developmental projects and investments in the area