*Disclaimer: The information and views set out in this page are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the official opinion of the Council of Europe and/or the European Commission. Neither the Council of Europe, the European Commission nor any person acting on their behalf may be held responsible for the use which may be made of the information contained therein.
The Municipality of Ilida belongs administratively to the Region of Western Greece and is located 294 km west of Athens. The settlement of the first Roma community in Ilida started after the 1960s and was completed in the 1970s with Roma who came mainly from the Central Macedonia Region. This community settled in the "Papakafkas District"(Παπακαυκάς) of the city of Amaliada and is composed of approximately 250 families (1150-1200 persons) whose main activity relies on trade of various goods in public markets and bazaars. The Roma community in Papakafkas is well integrated and its relations with the majority population and authorities are smooth.
In Ilida, another Roma community of about 35 families (200-250 people) settled between 1995 and 1997 in the area of Tsichleika (Τσιχλέικα). Most of them are originally from Attica, Crete and Etoloakarnania.
Like their peers from Papakafkas, they also sell various kinds of goods in markets and bazaars; however they have significant differences in financial and social status in comparison with the Roma community of Papakafkas. Furthermore, they do not have contact or relations with the local mainstream community or with Local Authorities.
These large differences between the two communities derive mainly from the fact that, in their vast majority, Roma in Tsichleika are completely illiterate and lack any specific professional attributes. Since 1997, the area of Tsichleika has been the basis from which families have been constantly moving in search of job opportunities, and, to a certain extent, they are still moving at present.
If in the beginning of the ROMED2 process, the CAG in Ilida comprised members from both communities, today the ROMED2 National Support Team in Greece chose to take a different approach and let the group naturally break up in two separate ones. This is due to the fact that the difference in the level of integration and living standards of each group made it difficult for opinions to converge. Today, the two CAGs in Ilida represent the communities of Papakafkas (4 members, all men), and Tsichleika (3 members, all men).
Most CAG members are also members of the local Roma Association (Association of Greek Roma of Papakafkas Distrrict, “St George” - Σύλλογος Ελλήνων Ρόμ (ROM) Συνοικίας Παπακαυκά «Άγιος Γεώργιος»).
The difference in the level of integration and living standards also reflects in the difference in capacity of members of the two CAGs to engage in participatory processes. One of the CAG members from the Roma Neighborhood of Papakafkas (Panagiotis Gaitatzis - Παναγιώτης Γκαϊτατζής) participates in the Consultation Committee of the municipality of Ilida.
For the CAG of Papakafkas:
For the CAG of Tsichleika :
The CAG of Papakafkas:
The CAG of Tsichleika :
Since the beginning of 2015, the local authorities in Ilida have been actively working on Roma-related issues and have been in contact with the Roma community from Tsichleika, while dialogue with the Roma community in Papakafkas has already been established for years. In general, the cooperation with the local administration is good and through the regular joint meeting, the Community Action Group already addressed the Municipality with:
- a request to the Mayor to set a date and provide the necessary material and tools (grates, shovels, garbage bags, etc.) for a cleaning action in the settlements; the CAG volunteered to do the work themselves if the necessary material is provided.
- a request of 19 illiterate Roma adults from Tsichleika for the creation of a literacy "class". The class was created by the Office for Education of the Local Department for Lifelong Learning Institute in Ilida for them to acquire basic reading and writing skills starting with the beginning of May 2015. For the first classes the attendance went above initial expectations, with as many as 26 persons – all of whom Roma from Tsichleika –attending on a regular basis. There are no women among the students; however the National Support Team aims to correct this imbalance.
In relation with other priorities defined by the CAG in Ilida and agreed upon during the joint meetings with the local authorities, the staff of the Technical Services of the Municipality already initiated the drawing of a study for the installation of a “new type” of bio-septic tanks for the area of Tsichleika.