The City of Moldava nad Bodvou, together with ETP Slovakia, then started a project for these four families, the aim of which was to build new houses together with the settlers …..
There are about 10,000 inhabitants in the city of Moldava nad Bodvou and 2000 of them are Roma, living in three separate geographic localities. One of them is the Budulovska settlement located in the industrial area south of the city about 2 kilometers from the city centre. There are about 700 inhabitants and some of them (60 families) live in shacks, 24 families live in the 20 year old municipal building that resembles infamous Luník IX, with broken windows, dysfunctional sewerage and widespread garbage. Excrement and smell is everywhere. Running water is the luxury that only some can enjoy. Five years ago the City of Moldava nad Bodvou built 30 low standard apartments with 28 square meters each. Some of these are inhabited by seven or ten family members.
There is no infrastructure in the settlement and all the services are at least 2 kilometers away. There are 400 children below 18 and at least 20 young mothers below 18. The unemployment rate in the settlement is as high as 90 % and job opportunities are a very rare occurrence and are mostly limited to part-time or occasional work. There are approximately 50 people addicted to glue sniffing and encountering young drugged parents with their sniffing 6-year olds is very likely. The garbage and communal waste has accumulated in the settlement as its removal is not arranged properly and the result is a foul smelling pile which provides breeding ground for rodents and spreading of various diseases. Most of the inhabitants in the settlement have neither running water nor a toilet and the conditions of hygiene are a disaster.
Non-profit organization ETP Slovakia – Center for Sustainable Development (ETP) has been working in the Budulovska settlement since 2007. ETP, in cooperation with the City of Moldava has established a community centre in the settlement, which consists of one trailer but it provides comprehensive services (social, legal and vocational counseling). A variety of educational activities take place in the community centre – preschool education in the morning, extra-curricular activities (drama, music clubs and PC courses) for the school aged children in the afternoon. The adults have the opportunity to join financial education, courses aimed at vocational and life skills or our Savings program. The participants of the savings program save for the improvement of their housing quality or to complete their educational. Non-profit organization Equity, a partner of ETP, has been working in the settlement since 2010 and it supports education and the direct contact of the settlers with the majority population in Slovak cities and also with influential people from Slovakia and abroad. The Drama club – with a new artistic name The Slumdog Theatre – has presented a performance, which speaks of life in the settlement and on the edge of society, to various audiences including the representatives of executive government, politicians and scholars and has gained recognition in Slovakia.
At the end of 2009, a non-profit organization ETP Moldava Housing completed the construction of 12 apartments. They were built by a local construction company but the future tenants were obliged to work on the site as well. These apartments, with the area of 40 square meters, were built for the families who were living unsatisfactory conditions in the city centre (e.g a basement without windows and a family of 5 who had been living in a truck for 5 years) or from the shacks in the settlement. All the tenants are regularly paying rent and other outgoings and they are responsible for taking care of their apartments and the environment They also act as examples for other similar projects in Slovakia.
Around the midnight on August 9th, 2011 a fire broke out in the Budulovska settlement and the shack of Emil and Iveta Kuco was in flames. Wailing and moaning was coming out of the shack but the parents with their 4 children were able to escape in the last moment. As soon as their children were out of the shack and safe they attempted to quench the fire bu tthey failed. Another three surrounding shacks also caught fire. Olga Rybarova, Viliam Karafa and his partner Eva Rybarova, their two children and Jozef and Maria Lakatos with their eight children fought for their lives and tried to save a few of their simple belongings. Although the firefighters came swiftly, it was impossible to save the 4 shacks and they were destroyed. However, the firefighters managed to stop the flames from spreading further. The police together with the firefighters concluded that the fire was caused by poor wiring. Luckily these twenty-two people survived but they were left with nowhere place to live. For three months, they have been living in the community centre (one trailer) which has been established by ETP Slovakia in cooperation with the City of Moldava nad Bodvou in 2009. Up to then the community centre (CC) had been a place of education for the settlers, housing the preschool club, extracurricular activities (PC courses, music, dance and drama clubs, drug prevention, financial literacy course, life skills course, and the provision of basic social, legal and anti-debt counseling), The CC had also been providing various cultural and social activities aimed at raising awareness generally.
The City of Moldava, together with ETP, then started a project for these four families, the aim of which was to build new houses together with the settlers. Initially the houses will have the area of 5 x 5 meters but the families will be able to expand them. The city has rented a property of 100 square meters to every family and ETP is assisting the families by providing non-profit micro-loans of 1160 EUR and also by providing an experienced construction manager at the construction site. The city has helped the families to arrange all the necessary consents relating to the construction, provided building material from various demolished buildings and its transportation to the construction site and provides the remuneration for 4 construction workers. Other construction jobs are performed by the future tenants. The micro-loans, which will be repaid within the next 4 years, will cover building materials and equipment for the new homes that the families will be able to buy with the assistance of the ETP construction manager.
Family of Viliam Karafa and his partner Eva Rybarova
The father of the family Viliam Karafa is 38 years old, he is unemployed, his partner Eva Rybarova is 27 and she is on maternity leave. They have been living together for 11 years and have two children. Mrs. Eva does not know her parents as she grew up in an orphanage and had nowhere to go after she turned 18. She met Viliam and, despite problems in their family life, she does her best for her children as she can understand very well what it´s like to be a lonely child without parents. Mrs. Eva and Viliam have always struggled to survive they lived at their friend´s house for a while but they were never able to secure their own home. They were able to build only a small shack, which burned down within few moments.
Father Jozef Lakatos is 38, he is unemployed and his wife Maria Lakatosova is 33. They have 8 children together and Maria is pregnant again. They have been living together for 16 years and dream about having their own home. They have no one to rely on, only themselves. Jozef´s father does not earn very much but drinks a lot and gambles. Maria´s parents are from Jasov and they are very poor. They also live in very modest conditions. Despite all the circumstances, Jozef and Maria take good care of their children, their hygiene and regular school attendance.
Father Emil Kuca is 49 and he is disabled, the left part of his body is paralyzed. His wife Iveta is 35 and she is unemployed. Iveta has four children from her first marriage and she has been living with her second husband for 11 years. Mrs. Iveta teaches her children to be responsible and well behaved. The children are always clean and never skip school.
Olga Rybarova is 45, she is single and has spent all her life with her mother They used to live in a municipal apartment in the city centre but after her mother died, her life became very complicated because she could not afford to pay rent and she had to leave the apartment and built a shack in Budulovska. She has been living there for 5 years. Since she turned 16, she had been working in the Tesla Company, a factory making light bulbs. She worked there until 1990. She is very active and helps all those around her , currently she is working as a volunteer in the hospital in Moldava nad Bodvou.