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The Municipality of Karditsa is a regional district, administratively belonging to the Region of Thessaly and located North of Athens.
The vast majority of the Roma in Karditsa live in the Mavrika settlement which is located 3 km from the city centre, as well as in the Sofades municipality. The city’s biological treatment plant is situated within a distance of less than 700 meters from Mavrika's main settlement.
The Mavrika settlement was built on a land purchased by the Municipality with the aim to relocate Roma families and there are approximately 1200 people living in this area. The settlement has relatively good amenities and every family lives in proper housing, thanks to the loans granted to them in the early 2000s - measure which was implemented at national level and through which reportedly 12500 Roma benefitted from loans. However there are 12 Roma families who live in shacks and who require housing solutions. Despite a low educational and financial status, people in Mavrika have decent living conditions. However, in their vast majority, they only have access to low level jobs and are currently unemployed.
Sofades is a municipality in the vicinity of Karditsa Municipality (approximately 17 - 18 Km) where there is one of the largest Roma communities (more than 3500 residents). Some of the actions implemented through the ROMED2 Programme affect this nearby community as well.
There are two Roma Associations in Karditsa ("Συλλογοσ Ρομα Μαυρικασ Καρδιτσασ" in Karditsa and "Συλλογοσ Ρομα Σοφαδων" in Sofades), one of them is chaired by a Roma mediator who is also an active member in the CAG.
The CAG is composed of 10 citizens of Roma origins, 5 of which are women, orginating in a balanced proportion from Mavrika and Sofades.
Their profiles is quite mixed as the group includes both low education levels as well as higher achievements in this respect (high school students, second chance school attendees and one university student).
The majority of the CAG members hold occasional professions such as street vendors (fruits, household products etc.). Two mediators (one from Mavrika and another from Sofades) are involved as CAG members as well.
- Provide housing for 12 families who still live in shacks;
- Connect the settlement of Mavrika to electricity - power supply;
- Cover deep irrigation channels located near the settlement;
- Install a sewage system in Mavrika settlement;
- Take security measures for the children of the settlement that walk to school: placement of protection bars in the direction from the main entrance of Mavrika settlement to the main entrance of Karditsa city (approximate distance of about 3km)
- Building of roads (paving) in the settlement;
- Creation of public spaces (squares, playgrounds) in the settlement;
- Acquisition of vocational skills for the residents of the settlement;
- Addressing school drop out and encouraging attendance in Second Chance School programmes;
- Clarification of legal disputes or grey zones concerning property documentation;
In 2016 a line of measures was proposed to Regional authorities, all with regard to the improvement of the Roma settlement of Mavrika: flood protection, extension of basic networking (roads, lighting), setting up of a Roma Support Center, healthcare provision, targeted information and awareness events, food and basic material assistance. However, there is not any specific Roma targeted measure within the axes of the Regional planning. Every measure is integrated to the policy for vulnerable groups among the general population, as well as in the policy for combating poverty.
Local Authorities made the above suggestions based on previous proposals from the CAG. A Joint Action Plan is expected to be adopted in the summer of 2016.