Global consulting company takes part in High Level Event on EU Funds Contribution to Roma Integration
Sofia, Bulgaria, 20 June 2011 – Global consulting company VisionConsult International takes advantage of the High Level Event on EU Funds Contribution to Roma Integration to present their “Village of the Future” project. The event in Sofia from 21 – 22 June 2011 is organized by the European Commission.
The living conditions of the 10 to 12 million Roma in Europe are often insufficient and are characterized by poor housing, low health standards, extreme poverty, unemployment and difficult access to education. A region with strong Roma minorities is the Balkans, with countries like Bulgaria, Hungary, Macedonia, Romania, Serbia and Slovakia featuring a Roma minority approaching 10% of the population or even surpassing this figure.
VisionConsult International have adapted their concept of the “Village of the Future” to provide an opportunity for Roma people to live and work in villages while fully respecting their traditions. The first “Village of the Future” is about to be constructed in the Northwest of India – near Abu Road in the state of Rajasthan – on a plot of about 16 hectares. The Village will be set up as an area for training/education with about 15 residential buildings, farmhouses and a school building with administrative sections.
A “Village of the Future” combines modern technology with green energy, on the one hand, and locally available building material, on the other hand. The self-sufficient energy production from renewable resources and the food production from controlled ecological cultivation foresee an overproduction of at least 25% each, which is sold and thus contributes to the income of the village.
Jean-Claude Bisenius, Managing Director of VisionConsult GmbH, the German branch of VisionConsult International, explains: “The ‘Village of the Future’ responds well to goals recently published in the EU Framework for National Roma Integration Strategies up to 2020, namely ‘Access to Housing and Essential Services’ and ‘Access to Employment’. The aim is to create an environment where Roma people can live and prosper. Migration into cities and subsequently into misery should be prevented.”
Dr. Cleofe Guardigli, one of VisionConsult’s affiliates in Bulgaria, adds: “As the implementation of such a project is a very complex task, we are looking for cooperation and support. In the past months we have contacted many parties involved in the Roma issue, representatives of the Roma communities, national bodies for Roma policies, local government bodies and municipalities as well as NGO with connections and experience in the Roma issues.” She explains VisionConsult”s attendance at the event: “Here in Sofia we have the opportunity to strengthen these relationships and to present the “Village of the Future” project to a larger network and to formulate strategies.”
Together with the support of these network partners, the “Village of the Future” for the Roma therefore responds well to the request of the EU Commission which reads: “Action on housing needs to be part of an integrated approach including, in particular, education, health, social affairs, employment and security, and desegregation measures.”
Jean-Claude Bisenius emphasizes: “As this High Level Event concentrates on funding Roma projects, we hope to identify financial resources aiming at implementing the proposed “Village of the Future” project. In fact, the project is currently at a development stage where funding is the next step.”
An image showing the area structure of the village with two exemplary buildings can be downloaded from http://visionconsult.com/images/Village-of-the-Future_Masterplan.jpg