Elvas

General Information
 
Mayor of the Municipality: 
Nuno Miguel Fernandes Mocinha
Contact Person within the Municipality: 
Maria Sofia Loureiro dos Santos Santana, Coordinator of Social Services
Facilitators: 
Luis Romão and Bernardino Romão
Total population: 
25 000
Source: 
http://www.cm-elvas.pt/pt/caracterizacao-do-concelho/localizacao-do-concelho
Roma living in the Municipality: 
900
Source: 
Estimation of the local mediator
Description of the Municipality: 

Portugal Country Findings of the external evaluation by Blomeyer and Sanz s.l. available in Portuguese and English

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Elvas is a Portuguese municipality located in the district of Portalegre in Alentejo, situated about 230 km east of Lisbon. The municipality population in 2011 was 23,078 with around 900 residents being of Roma origins, according to the estimates of the local facilitators.
The Roma families in Elvas live mostly in two large housing estates, the Housing Social Estate of St. Pedro belonging to the Portuguese Institute for Housing and Urban Rehabilitation (IHRU) , and the housing estate of Pias, managed by the municipality.

There are significant differences in the living conditions of the Roma families in these two neighborhoods, where the families in S. Pedro seem to have a higher degree of inclusion than the families living in the Pias neighborhood. In fact, the Pias neighborhood was built quite recently, some 15 years ago, through a project which aimed to fight poverty. However due to budgetary cuts at the municipality level, the team accompanying the integration of the population could not continue their work, as a result the neighborhood is turning into a ghetto.
Housing in general is one of the main issues in the two communities: in Pias 5-6 families still live in improper housing (shacks or tents), and in S. Pedro, Roma families have to live in overcrowded appartments.

Most Roma in Elvas rely on activities such as street commerce, maintenance (cleaning, repainting, handymen etc.), where some of the activities are induced through the CEI+ Programme within the Municipality (Programme of the Employment Institute) or on social benefits.

The only known Roma association in Elvas was created by the Community Action Group - Sílaba Dinâmica – as a means to gain more recognition from institutional counterparts as official interlocutor for the issues and plans for the Roma community in Elvas.

Elvas was identified together with Moura as a municipality subject of the “Parovel” documentary project on participation in Roma communities.

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Photo Gallery - ROMED2 in Elvas

Description of the CAG: 

The Community Action Group in Elvas is one of the most dynamic in Portugal. It is formed of a majority of young Roma men (average age - 31), and one Roma woman, from both communities of the municipality.

The core group – made up of around 7 members - took the decision to organise as an NGO (Sílaba Dinâmica) so as to formalise their status in the dialogue with local institutions. The approach gives results since the municipality has already started to give the NGO small grants (up to 2500 euros) for the organization of various initiatives in line with the short term and long term priorities identified by the CAG.

The participation of Roma women is encouraged by all means possible.

 

CAG identified needs: 

Short term priorities of the CAG in Elvas:
* Organise a Solidarity Intercultural Event on the 8th of April 2015 to combat discrimination towards Roma (done);
* Organise a second edition of the Solidariy Intercultural Event on the 8th of April 2016;
* Collection and delivering of food items by the CAG to the Roma community (done);
* Ensure free access to the local pool for Roma children (done);
* Apply for European Funds for training courses for Roma in cooperation with the Municipality and a specialized vocational training company (Competir);
* Repair the Sports ground in St Pedro neighborhood;

Long term priorities  of the CAG in Elvas:

  • * Establish an intercultural association managed by CAG members (done);
  • * Obtain yearly grants from the Municipality to the NGO of the CAG;
  • * Creation of a Cultural Centre in the St Pedro neighborhood;
  • * Tackle the issue of school drop-out of Roma children;
  • * Repair the sports fields in the St Pedro neighborhood;
  • * Find additional housing solutions for Roma families in Pias neighborhood; 

Timeline

1 Apr 2015
Joint Meeting between the CAG and Local Authorities
11 Apr 2015
Other
14 Apr 2015
Other
6 May 2015
Meeting with Local Authorities
10 Jun 2015
Other
10 Jul 2015
Community Action Group Meeting
16 Jul 2015
Community Action Group Meeting
16 Aug 2015
Other
23 Aug 2015
Community Action Group Meeting
16 Sep 2015
Meeting with Local Authorities
15 Oct 2015
Joint Meeting between the CAG and Local Authorities
14 Dec 2015
Other
14 Dec 2015
Community Action Group Meeting
20 Dec 2015
Other
16 Jan 2016
Other
21 Mar 2016
Community Action Group Meeting
24 Mar 2016
Meeting with Local Authorities
9 Apr 2016
Meeting with Local Authorities
25 Apr 2016
Meeting with Local Authorities
8 Jul 2016
Other
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