Roma Civic I Rom civic

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Country/partner countries

Champs-sur-Marne (77), Montgeron (91), Saint Denis (93), Bobigny (93).

Project lead partner/organization and contact person (e-mail, links) project website
Les enfants du Canal

Project information – start and end date (if available)
Ongoing since 2007

Summary (goals and purposes of the project)
This project aims at helping Roma youth living in shantytowns fight against marginalization-their own as well as the one of others.

The Roma communities which are living in the slums of the Ile-de-France area undergo very harsh living conditions due to an almost impossible access to education for young children, plus the fact that adults can very hardly find a legal employment. Their living areas are also deprived of sanitation infrastructure. They also know preoccupying health conditions and they live with the constant threat of forced évictions.

Despite the European policies towards the integration of Roma people as well as an interministerial French circular of August 2012 which aimed at enhancing the implementation of integration actvities, few are the concrete ations being carried out on the ground.

According to estimates, more than 5,000 Roma children living in France will be turning 16 without ever-or almost-being to school.

This situation inspired the idea of the Romcivic project which relies on youth to make perceptions change, to help improve the living conditions of Roma people and to prove that Roma youth constitute a wealth for France as any young individual in France.

Since November 1 2013, there have been 24 young people, girls and boys, mostly inhabitants of slums, and all volunteers who accomplish a one-year community work assignement Under the Framework of the French Civic Service program. They live in Saint-Denis and Bobigny (93), Ris-Orangis (91, Champs sur Marne (77) or Paris (75).

Since the beginning of their mission, they took part in the fundraising event of the Food Bank along with the beneficiaries of the Enfants du Canal association. They went into slums in order to see how they could help families. They organized Christmas célébrations for young children. They went to help the homeless and they discovered the bus shelter in the 14th arrondissement of Paris.

Results of the project
A team of 24 youth have been involved in this initiative. Most of them were from Eastern Europe, 18 to be exact. For one year, they work on 3 different types of missions:
-supporting the actions of families and associations towards the integration of Roma people
-participating to community work and civic activities
-helping change people's représentations on Roma people and the prejudices they might have

These volunteers go on the ground, in different settlements. They start giving advice on hygiene, they help registering children to allow them to go to school, they also help Roma families in filling in any other administrative document, especially for finding an accommodation. At the same time, they help their integration into the labor market, because since they are adults-above 18-several of them are already parents. In the Framework of their Civic Service training, they had a presentation on the issue of the integration of Roma people in France. They meet associative stakeholders and government representatives as well as local authorities.

Who will benefit from this project (target group)
Roma communities

Sources of funding
The French Civic Service program-a government-subsidized program

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Document - materials that incurred in the project
Article Rom Civic