PHARE Project Relieves Ghetto Woes of Sofia's Gypsies

Society | October 7, 2002, Monday // 00:00

Some 13,000 people in the biggest gypsy ghetto in Sofia, Fakulteta, have seen their situation slowly but sensibly improve as a PHARE-Access-funded project were being carried out in the neighborhood. The Sun Shines for All Project was coordinated mainly by gypsies from the Roma Star Community Center but local authorities, sociologists and charity foundations were also involved as partners. It aimed to solve the problems of the poverty-stricken neighborhood by stimulating the communication of residents and municipality officers. A regulation plan has been drown up for the Fakulteta and a "gigantic" step toward infrastructure improvements has been made, Vladimir Phillipov from the municipality office said. The project also aimed at establishment of a police station that will employ gypsies among Bulgarians and a health care center. Talks with Interior and Health Ministries are under way for implementation of the projects.

The sociologist who worked for the Sun Shines for All Project created a database about problems that bother local residents. Number one worries among them include how to obtain GP health and social aid service as well as the hurdles they face in starting own business. The Faculteta emerged as a gypsy ghetto at the outskirts of Sofia in the 1920s and since have been scorned and neglected by local authorities

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