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HomeNewsPhenomenal Project on Romanian Roma Engagement in Community Development (in Oltenia Region of Romania)
Presenting at the EDI Conference
in Vienna, July 2010
After I presented at the EDI Conference in Vienna in July 2010, I took advantage of this location within train-reaching distance of Eastern Europe and I boarded a train onwards to Romania to meet a few potential partners for some transnational (European) projects. 

I searched online NGOs in Romania that worked with Roma and I came across an organisation in SW Romania, in the region of Oltenia, called ARDC (Asociatia Romana pentru Dezvoltare Comunitara - The Romanian Association for Community Development). 

Dana Calendatu of ARDC
When I went to meet Dana Calendatu and her superb team at their HQ in Craiova (the "capital" of Oltenia region) I found out about this amazing project carried out by ARDC about 5 years ago, which had a massive impact on the communities and the village they lived in.

Their original project aim was 
Children in Marza, Dolj,
Romania 2004
to attempt to solve identified issues within a community by piloting a new type of approach to community development. This was about involving children and young people in the process of identifying the issue and presenting this back to the community through art. This was tested out in 3 counties within Oltenia – SW Romania.

Marza was the only community where the majority of the population was Roma 80% and to which the final outcome with such a big success that led to building a church in the village; this then spiralled out to wider improvements in the village, including roads, public wells and even a school.

Young people in the camp doing
capacity building training
A young people’s camp was organised and attended by 12 children and young people aged between 9 -14. The children were selected by the Roma community leader and the ARDC facilitator. The camp was also attended by the Roma leader. The community leader’s participation was key as the young people were better able to relate to him and they knew him and respected his authority. Through this camp the community leader himself learnt about community development and the process that was due to follow and he became involved throughout the project. The children who were selected were going to school and had excellent dancing, music and poetry skills.

The role-play delivered by the
young people in front of the the village
In the camp the young people worked with a group of young actors to help them improve their acting skills. After returning from the camp, the young people went through a process of identifying and prioritising community issues. The biggest priority was identified and focus groups were organised in order to create a theme for a role-play. The summary of the role-play theme and issues was sent to the actors which from this created a role-play of about 25 min. 3 days in a row they worked with the kids to teach them their lines.
Article in the paper
speaking about the project
The only organisations involved were who were the project managers from ARDC, Church Association of Oltenia (Mitropolia Olteniei) si Salcuta Parish Council
The Church Association of Oltenia helped organise a launch about the church project at their HQ which attracted media attention and a massive article appeared in the paper about ARDC
Fisier atasat: tytyty
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