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Figueira da Foz is a city and a municipality in the Coimbra District in Portugal. It is located 40 km west of Coimbra with an estimated total population in 2011 of 62,125. Figueira da Foz is the second largest city in the district of Coimbra. It is a coastal city with several beaches, summer and seaport facilities on the Atlantic Ocean coast.
Roma in Figueira da Foz live in seven neighborhoods (Leirosa, Fonte Nova,Vila Robim, Quinta do Paço, Buarcos, Ferrugenta, Marianos), mainly in social housing administered by the municipal housing enterprise – Figueira Domus. In Ferrugenta and Marianos the families live in prefabricated (temporary, ALGECO type) houses. Most Roma families in Figueira da Foz ensure their monthly income by selling clothes in markets, stores and flea markets. Some of the Roma families rely only on social welfare to survive.
The Community Action Group in Figueira da Foz is made up of a majority of Roma women.
With a core group of around 7 members, the group is quite dynamic and has a very good contact with the municipality. The majority of the members of the CAG finished primary school and worked as clothes vendors in markets, stores or flea markets. Most of the Roma from neighborhoods in Figueira da Foz are represented in the CAG. One member of the CAG – also a Roma woman – had worked as a school mediator in the 2000s. One Roma man participating in the group volunteers for the Red Cross, while another is pastor in the local Evangelical church. The age of the members of the group varies from 17 to 58 years old and most are of evangelical confession. Like other CAGs in Portugal, the Community Action Group in Figueira da Foz decided to create an NGO (Ribalta Ambiçâo - Association for Gender Equality in Roma Communities) so as to be able to exist legally and thus access small grants for various activities related to the priorities identified by the group. The Association was created solely with the financial means of its members.
The Community Action Group of Figueira da Foz in the media:
Article 09/04/2016 - Diario de Coimbra - "The Roma Community says that everybody must change"
Article 06/01/2016 - Diario as Beiras - "Roma community shows solidarity with people in need"
Article - Figueira da Foz Municipal Webpage - "Viver o Romed” na Figueira da Foz (tr. ENG "Experiencing ROMED" in Figueira da Foz")
Short term priorities of the CAG in Figueira da Foz:
Long term priorities of the CAG in Figueira da Foz:
The Municipality of Figueira da Foz, together with representatives of Figueira Domus responded promptly to the need formulated by the Community Action Group – of reducing unemployment of Roma. The first concrete proposal resulted in the employment of 6 Roma (3 women and 3 men) within the Municipality in the following positions: mediator, cleaning staff, animator in the local library, animator in the children’s hospital, operational staff in the Salt Museum. This measure was possible thanks to the CEI+ Programme of the Institute for Employment and Professional Training of Portugal. The proposal was implemented starting with June 2015. However, due to the nature of the Programme under which the contracts are financed, these will not be renewed after one year.
Thus, to date, 3 Roma men and 3 Roma women are working in the areas of sociocultural mediation, sociocultural animation and cleaning under one-year contracts provided through the CEI+ Programme.
The municipality of Figueira da Foz interacts often with the CAG and the ROMED national support team and facilitates the CAG meetings by offering a municipal space for the seat of the Roma NGO "Letras Nómadas" - support organisation of the ROMED2 Programme in Portugal.