Swiss Ambassador: Reform Fund Linked to the Inclusion of Roma had 28,000 beneficiaries

The Reform Fund Linked to the Inclusion of Roma and Other Vulnerable Groups had approximately 28,000 beneficiaries in such fields as education, healthcare, housing, community and economic development, according to the Ambassador of the Swiss Confederation to Romania, Arthur Mattli. The programme started in 2012 and it ends in November 2019, with the funds coming from the Romanian-Swiss Cooperation Programme. Mattli told a press conference related to this project that the impact was significant, proving that social inclusion works in Romania. Coordinator of the management unit of the Reform Fund Linked to the Inclusion of Roma and Other Vulnerable Groups programme Cerasela Banica said they intervened in almost 155 localities in 14 counties. She added approximately 13,000 children benefited from this project, among whom 6,586 were the beneficiaries of the "School After School" programme and 1,728 of the programmes developed for the kindergartens, with the remaining being involved in various inter-cultural or extracurricular activities. Almost 14,000 people benefited from the community development programme, as the local initiative groups implemented 143 community projects together with the local authorities, which also co-financed the projects, solving thus the most important needs of the respective communities: access to the water network, power system, sewerage, and building roads and bridges for them," stated Banica. We also facilitated access to the labour market for approximately 2,000 persons, 500 of whom also benefited from professional training to become waiters, cooks, baby sitters, nurses. Moreover, we established six medical-social community centres, where we vaccinated more than 1,100 children and monitored 792 women during their pregnancy. More than 400 families saw their living conditions improved due to this project. "The entire value of the Reform Fund Linked to the Inclusion of Roma and Other Vulnerable Groups was approximately 14 million Swiss Franc," added Banica. In his turn, secretary of state with the National Agency for Roma Daniel Radulescu said that, based on his and his colleagues' experience, they are trying to change the paradigm saying that all the Roma are poor and vulnerable. "We try to put on the public agenda the necessity of developing some public policies based on two important principles, namely the principle of active citizenship, the first one being that the Roma are Romanian citizens (...) and the second one that they are as vulnerable as other categories of persons in Romania," added Radulescu. AGERPRES (RO - author: Iulia Carciog, editor: Claudia Stanescu; EN - editor: Cristina Zaharia)  

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