Why Romania? (continued)
......After its revolution to free the country from its communist dictator, Ceacescu, Romania’s government inherited a desperate situation. The country’s infrastructure, agriculture and manufacturing industries, as well as social institutions, such as health and education, were all badly in need of reform (and finance) in order to rebuild a viable country.
RO-MAN-AID began its work in Romania in 1992, shortly after the revolution, focusing initially on the health sector followed by rural development where we met abject poverty and where there were very little local or national resources available to improve the situation.
Today, even following Romania’s membership of the European Union in 2007, despite many improvements, especially in cities and towns, Romania still lacks:
Access to safe drinking water for all
Basic infrastructure such as roads and water in many rural areas
A comprehensive nationwide rural fire service
A basic health service that is free to those who cannort afford to pay for health insurance
An education system that ensures that all children attend school
In education, which has been the focus of RO-MAN-AID’s most recent long term project, the finances have been so limited that in 2010 all teachers (as well as other public sector workers) had to accept a 25% cut in their salaries. In that year they also had to accept an extra 8 days unpaid leave because the Government was unable to afford to pay their salaries. Today, the situation in general has improved but there is still more work to be done, especially for the country’s most disadvantaged children.
Improving the education for Roma children is a problem that faces countries throughout Europe, rich and poor (see the section on “Who are the Roma?”). By focusing initially on Romania, where there exists the greatest proportion of Roma people to the population as a whole, we not also help a country which is already struggling financially to meet the most basic needs of its population, but also provide a possible solution that can be adapted in other countries