Sarajevo, August 25, 2016/Independent Balkan News Agency
By Mladen Dragojlovic
A total of 16 Roma families will soon have a secure roof since the EU funded Project continue in BiH cities.
Within the framework of the EU funded project “Roma Action II phase”, the foundation stone for the construction of the social housing building for eight Roma families in Varda settlement in Municipality Kakanj was laid on 18 August and, on 24 August, in Municipality Banovici for two buildings with apartments for eight Roma families.
“The project aims to support the implementation of the revised Roma Action Plans in BiH 2013-2016 by improving living conditions and social inclusion of the marginalised Roma population with a proactive involvement of the local authorities at all levels and other local stakeholders”, announced EU Delegation in BiH.
A total of 149 housing units for vulnerable Roma families were constructed or reconstructed in 14 municipalities in entire BiH during the first phase of the Roma Action project. In the second phase of this project, a total of 140 housing units will be constructed and reconstructed in nine flood-affected municipalities across BiH. The EU provided 2.5 million Euros for the second phase of the project and the local authorities are co-funding it in the amount of 327,227 euro.
Head of Operations Section for Social Development, Civil Society and Cross Border Co-operation at the EU Delegation to BiH, Massimo Mina, at the ceremony welcomed the commitment of all those who are involved in the project and enable the project implementation. He emphasised the importance of Roma inclusion in the society.
“The housing issue is one of the biggest priorities, but other measures are also needed for improvement of the situation of Roma population, including education, health protection and employment. The Roma Action project will also address these issues and provide 70 Roma families with grants to improve their economic status”, Mina said.
The project will address infrastructure issues too, concerning outdoor utility (re)connections for eventual improvements on sewage system, water and electricity supply, and/or access roads to the benefit of the whole local community, not only the Roma population.
Mayor of Kakanj, Nermin Mandra, noted that so far four social housing buildings have been constructed in Municipality Kakanj within different projects, and there will be more construction works.
“It is a great pleasure that we are finally working towards resolving housing, and other issues of Roma people in the Varda settlement. Besides the social housing building, a new playground for children will also be constructed”, Mandra added.