Figli del Vento

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Country/partner countries
The project is implemented in the Lombardia region, northern Italy, in two small towns, 30 km from Bergamo.

Project lead partner/organization and contact person (e-mail, links) project website
Serena Birolini

Livia Brembilla

Greta Persico (external researcher and supervisor)

Project information – start and end date (if available)
The project started in 2009 and is still in progress.

Summary (goals and purposes of the project)
The goal of the project is to improve Sinti integration in the towns of Romano di Lombardia and Trescore Balneario (province of Bergamo) through an organic approach.

Specifically, the goals of the project are:

- Supporting positive relations among Sinti and local administrators through a participatory decision making process, concerning the management of the nomad camp
- Advising public administrators on local policies addressed to the inhabitants of public nomad camps and private areas (also with the help of an external researcher consultant)
- Strengthening children's schooling by means of supporting teachers, Sinti families and children. Thanks to the collaboration with churches and other NGOs, children take part in after school activities, both in the nomad camps and outside, together with other children.
- Increasing the level of employment through job training and internships
- Creating a network with NGOs and public offices.
The first aim is to offer equal access to social and local services, giving the Sinti all the information about what, where and how to access them. The second one is to reinforce a positive connection between the Sinti and gagé populations in order to fight prejudice and marginalization.

Results of the project
In each of the two towns involved, the project has achieved different goals. The reasons for these differences are mainly three:
- The level of direct involvement of the Sinti
- The local context and network involved
- The political approach implemented by the local administration in charge

The main goal reached at present, especially in one of the two municipalities, is the creation of a mixed group (public administrators, the Sinti and the representatives of the NGOs) supported by an external researcher. The aim of the group is to deal with the issues related to the nomad camp in a wider sense (now the group is working on issues related to personal documents and housing, etc.).

Other positive results have been reached on each of the strategic axis (job, schooling, integration, health) through individual work with the members of the two Sinti groups.

Who will benefit from this project (target group)
In both municipalities there are nomad camps where approximately 60-80 people of Sinti origin live, as well as several private areas. In total, the project is aimed at about 150 people.

Most of them were born in the municipality where they live, but they are without a regular residence certificate. Most of the families work as door-to-door sellers or metal pickers.

Housing and working conditions are in both cases quite unstable.

Sources of funding
Over the years, resources came from different donors, but mostly, the project was funded by the Italian Episcopal Conference (Conferenza Episcopale Italiana).

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