- helpWhy is the project called Pata-Cluj??The full name of the project, “Social intervention for desegregation and social inclusion of vulnerable groups in Cluj-Napoca metropolitan area, including the disadvantaged Roma ” was abbreviated to Pata-Cluj to emphasize the idea that social inclusion can happen only in an integrated way, through spatial, locative, social and cultural belonging of the community from Pata Rât to the one in Cluj and to show the need for co-existence in the collective social imaginary of the two communities.
- helpWhich is the target group of the project?The Pata-Cluj project’s target group includes vulnerable and marginalized persons, which have undergone social exclusion, including the Roma in Pata Rât. For a more detailed description of the Pata Rât community, access the UBB-UNDP study available on the project website here, a study that lays at the foundation of this project.
- helpWhat kind of project is Pata-Cluj?Pata-Cluj is an integRâted project of social intervention based on restorative principles. The integRâtive dimension of the project is given by the diversity of services offered to the people in the target group, and by the restoRâtive practices the team is working both with the community and with local public institutions to re-establish trust and a working relationship between the marginal community members and the majority. The project promoter, The Intercommunity Development Association of Cluj Metropolitan Area (ADI), has the mission to support intervention actions as response for social inclusion of the marginalized groups. The role of the association in this project is to develop and improve access to the provided social services, to support and implement integRâted solutions for housing, to encourage, support and provide formal and non-formal education to combat social exclusion and the improvement of the quality of life of the vulnerable groups, to provide counselling in the field of human rights, civic participation, sustainable economic development and environmental protection.
- helpHow did this project come to life?Due to the efforts of the Local Groups of Civil Organizations (gLOC) which intervened between 2010-2011, immediately after the forced eviction of the community members living on Coastei street in Cluj, it was possible to implement a project of the United Nations Development Program (UNDP) between July 2012 and May 2014 in Pata Rât. The report of the UNDP project can be found on the project website Pata – Cluj here. Based on the results of this project, the Norwegian Financial Mechanism requested an integRâted project proposal which was developed as a “predefined project”. This is just one of the seven projects financed through the Poverty Alleviation Program. More details about other projects you can find on the Norway Grants website.
- helpWhich is the inclusion model proposed by the project?The Pata – Cluj project proposes a model of social inclusion through upgrading 10 dimensions (interconnected project themes) of living conditions. The interlaced themes are used to increase community participation in Pata Rât in the social, economic and cultural life of Cluj, to change the housing situation of those from Pata Rât and to prepare the desegregation of the area, to increase access to education, to creative development and vocational training of the members from the target group, to improve access to health and security services of the community, to increase the employment opportunities and access to social services. These dimensions are related to employment, education, social services, culture, community development, housing and development. Their description can be found on the project website, in the project themes section.
- helpWhich are the ADI partners in this project and which is their role?
The promoter of this project is the Intercommunity Development Association Cluj Metropolitan Area (ADI) and is the managing partner of the services rendered to the residents of Pata Rât (employment counseling, legal assistance, social and educational assistance, case management of the families, development) .
The project partners are:
The Community Association of Roma from Coastei aims to empower, represent and defend the rights of the community members and to support community development activities,
AltArt Foundation for Alternative Art helps to promote inclusion through the development of cultural activities (workshops, performances, musical improvisations, etc) established through participatory curating.
Habitat for Humanity will build the Youth Centre (Youth Transit Center) and, after amending the contract for housing, also new homes.
- helpHow did we get to talk about the social inclusion of the residents of Pata Rât?Pata Rât history is a history of marginalization and social exclusion of almost 30 years old, in which only one of the four communities has this age. Dallas Community was formed in the early 90s after de-industrialization and redundancies when people sought their place in the absence of other opportunities, among garbage.
Canton, Coastei and Rampa Communities (named Coastei after the street name on those evicted who moved there) were formed in the last 15 years, after repeated evictions and relocations of poor families, most of them of Roma ethnicity, from the central areas of the city. Gradually, the number increased due to the inhabitants of nearby villages and other counties and municipalities to find their means of living on the dump waste.
Over nearly 30 years, the residents and families of disadvantaged Roma in Pata Rât were directly affected by many political, economic and social reforms that happened in the city, which led to increasing the differences between the majority and the minority. Thus, their daily struggle to ensure a decent life and a shelter for children happen in a context of spatial segregation, high unemployment Râte, lack or little state support for the vulnerable and marginalized groups and persistent prejudices of those who blame Roma.
About 300 families are currently living in the informal spatially segregated urban area called Pata Rât. Located next to the city landfill, which has recently been closed, its residents are living in conditions of multiple deprivations (eg. reduced living space and lack of basic amenities, difficult access to employment). A more detailed description of the situation of Roma in Pata Rât at individual, family and community level can be found in the UNDP, UBB study published on the website.
- helpWhich is the current situation of the residents of Pata Rât after the garbage dumb was closed?During the night of 25th to 26th of June the landfill of Cluj-Napoca was permanently closed, and the garbage trucks are temporarily going to other places in the neighboring counties until the clarification and stabilization of the situation of the city landfill. The final closure, announced as early as 2010, affected about 1,000 people, leaving between 700 and 800 adults who worked on the ramp without any source of income. Given that solving the long-term emergency situation created by the closure of the landfill is the responsibility of local authorities, the project team, together with other organizations who provide services for residents of Pata Rât, contributed to stabilizing the situation on the short term by ensuring the safety and the meals for children of the community members most affected by the closure (Dallas and Rampa communities). In addition, the project team is negotiating with the authorities the initiation of actions leading to the development of strategies for medium and long-term development. On the long-term, the project Pata-Cluj engages in achieving a coordinated integrated plan to help those who have left in the communities. Currently, with the collaboration of local authorities, the project team seeks to include as many children as possible in formal educational activities (preschool, school, day care centers) and informal (cultural and educational activities) where they receive a hot meal.
- helpWhich is the role of community facilitation and (community and culture) facilitators in an integrated project for social inclusion?The role of (both community and cultural) facilitators is to inform members from the four communities about various issues, actions and events within the project, but also to provide them with a framework (briefings, consultations) in which to express their needs and opinions about actions directly related to the community (i.e. solving emergency needs, engaging in community building activities in a democratic way, etc.) From this point of view, the role of community facilitation is to help improve the living conditions until the relocating of the people living in the area.
- helpWhy a flexible project for Roma?Roma communities are often faced with structural problems whose solutions require repeated and sustained interventions. The community of Pata Rât is one of the largest segregated communities in the country and solving such problems with standards of achieving fixed indicators is specific to infrastructure projects which rarely come to realize inclusion. The flexibility of this design allows adopting strategies for solving problems in situations of emergency and crisis which often characterize the poor and marginal communities by addressing as many aspects of life as possible for people in Pata Râ. We thus try to offer support to as many people as possible, even if the initial target indicators are exceeded, so that they have the necessary resources to live once they leave Pata Rât.
- helpWhich is the budgetary distribution by category of expenditure?Pata-Cluj project is one of the seven projects funded by the Norwegian Government through the Norwegian Financial Mechanism 2009-2014 in the program “Poverty Alleviation” and one of the 5 projects with budgets of more than 1 million euros. The program aims to address the challenges of fighting poverty and social exclusion in three dimensions (education and children development, enabling employment and empowerment in the field of employment and more inclusive attitudes of the majority) by developing the capacity of social actors and institutional to better manage these situations. Inside the program, the projects with an integrated, multidimensional approach of the problems caused by poverty which involve authorities at national, regional and local level in order to manage the situation, have received funds to cover the rendered services.
Thus, unlike the budget of a research project in which wages are covering up to 100 % of the total budget which often go to a few people of the project team, in a project which develops the human resources, such as Pata – Cluj project, only 50% of the budget is used for this purposes. Moreover, in the budgeted salaries are also included the fees of the artists and of the project team members hired from the community. Among the project team members there are both Roma people and people from the community with know-how and expertise in different social inclusion projects.
Thus, the wages cover, on the one hand, the direct services of education, employment, social assistance, case management, community facilitation and development of cultural and educational activities, arts and culture, construction and legal assistance offered to community members in Pata Rât. On the other hand, these wages covers the consulting services in the development field regarding Roma inclusion and restorative practices offered to both community members who need them and to the representatives of the local authorities and partners in the project. The biggest proportion of the budget is allocated to the costs for services provided for the community.
Besides the salaries and services component, the projects’ budget covers a 20,000 euros fund for each of the four communities which members can to use for the community needs in a participatory way.
The budget includes sums of money necessary for building a cultural center for young people: the land, building materials and workforce, respectively the sums necessary for supporting the arts and cultural activities set to take place both in the community and outside it (in the cultural youth center in town, etc).
Public transportation is inaccessible to the residents of Pata Rât: the first bus stop is 2.5 km away and in order to reach the station the residents need to cross the railroad tracks through an unsafe place. Moreover, there is no ticket office in the area and the schedule of the two buses that arrive near the city suits the program of the majority, and not the residents’ of Pata Rât. As a result, cars will be purchased to support the services currently offered to local residents and to provide transportation for those who participate in the project’s activities. One of these machines is with integrating drive to ensure the entrance on field work on bad weather.
- helpWhy do we conduct infrastructure activities and actions if we do not wish for the residents to stay in the garbage area?Conducted in a participatory manner, through a bottom-up approach, the Pata-Cluj project develops actions and activities aiming to facilitate the inclusion of the members from the four communities in Pata Rât to help improve their quality of life now until their moving out from the garbage dump. But not all of them want to be relocated. Through the interventions conducted within the Pata-Cluj project, both the infrastructure of immediate needs, and the development of skills for recognizing abuse and strategies of marginalization and exclusion we want to give all residents the opportunity to imagine and find a better life.
While respecting the decisions of individual and family needs, through the project we act for the desegregation of the area and the inclusion of as many people as possible, but without taking over the responsibility of the local authorities. Through the housing component of the project, which is to be amended by the fund operator, we seek to offer decent living conditions for the families from Pata Rât to help them get out of the situation of marginalization and vulnerability.
- helpWhy it isn’t possible to achieve desegragation and inclusion in Pata Rât with just 2 million Euro?Many housing projects for Roma are just infrastructure projects that develop cheap housing where people are moved without the assistance and the needed services to support resettlement and social inclusion. Many of these end up in precarious situations rather shortly. Unlike other projects that are taking place in Pata Rât, which are working with several members of the community or with its leaders and which address some specific issues, this project addresses multi-dimensionally the problem of inclusion and housing. This is so that those who once left Pata Rât do not to return to a situation of marginalization which makes them vulnerable and susceptible to new evictions or other forms of aggression based on ethnic criteria. The services we currently provide cover several dimensions (education, employment, legal assistance, social assistance, case management, security, democratic participation, etc.) and are designed precisely to support inclusive housing, social, cultural and economic development of the disadvantaged people. We provide, through these services, on one side support for residents of Pata Rât, and on the other hand tools for the local authorities to achieve inclusion. And because in Pata Rât live nearly 300 families, it is necessary that the local authorities get involved in and assume, financially and by providing similar services, the role in the desegregation of the area.
- helpWhich is the current role of the Mobile Unit from Pata Rât and the role of the Youth Centre to be built? Which is the role of the two areas in terms of inclusion of the residents from Pata Rât?
The mobile unit was placed by the local authorities at the end of 2013 in Pata Rât as a result of the UNDP project and was designed as a transit area. Originally located around the garbage dump community, the mobile unit was used as a space to create a bridge between the most disadvantaged communities in Pata Rât and the public services available only in the city.
The first activities in the Mobile Unit were organized by volunteers of the Faculty of Sociology and Social work, from Babeș-Bolyai University, for the children from the garbage dump, activities currently emerging with the same frequency. Around this time a program was initiated by the Foundation for the Development of People, for children and mothers with small children.
Simultaneously a program of the project Pata – Cluj has been organized, a program that takes place in the same unit to support the group of children from the garbage dump in attending school. Meanwhile, with the development of complex intervention actions and moving of the mobile unit, the activity range of the Mobile Unit has been extended.
And since travelling back and forth from Pata Rât to and from Cluj, to solve problems related to documents and social benefits, legal assistance, assistance on employment and obtaining jobs, was and still is difficult, it was suggested that the mobile unit is used as an information center. And for the residents of all four communities in Pata Rât to meet in a non-conflictual space in which to carry out activities together, there were gradually developed cultural and educational activities.
Inside the project, the role of the mobile unit as a community center, is on one hand to gather the locals to inform them about future actions which directly concern them and about the resources they can access and use, and on the other hand as a meeting space with the inhabitants of Cluj, until the construction of the Youth Centre (TYC).
Both the Community Center, as temporary space, and the Youth Center, as a more stable space, are needed as community spaces where can take place cultural exchanges for their residents.
To remove stereotypes and prejudices regarding the residents of Pata Rât, on the one hand, and those related to the total malevolence and ignorance of the townspeople about the vulnerable groups, on the other hand, it is necessary that the two communities know each other more closely, and interact more often.
Lacking such an area where meetings take place, until the active and sustained participation in city life, the information about the two communities and inclusion actions will be unbundled and ineffective.