US actors help Roma in Rankovce build new homes

Six Roma families from the municipality of Rankovce near Košice (in eastern Slovakia) are building their own houses using their own savings and money from so-called micro-loans.

Six Roma families from the municipality of Rankovce near Košice (in eastern Slovakia) are building their own houses using their own savings and money from so-called micro-loans.

The NGO ETP Slovensko has launched a project to help Roma build new homes, the Sme daily wrote in its Tuesday, July 23 issue. In the last three years, ETP Slovensko has helped people in Roma communities build 40 apartments to be rented to Roma and 4 family villas.

The daily also wrote that Roma who were able to save at least €360 in a year were eligible for a micro-loan through ETP Slovensko, which they were able to use to buy the land on which their homes were built, and which they will repay in 8 years.

In addition, actors from the New-York-based Dramatic Adventure Theatre came to Rankovce to help local Roma build homes. The actors spent a day helping to build the houses as part of their weeklong stay in Slovakia (between July 19 and 26) focused on work with children from marginalised communities, the TASR newswire wrote.

The US actors are conducting theatre workshops with children aged 8 to 17 in community centres in Moldava nad Bodvou, Stará Ľubovňa and Košice-Šaca. At the end of their stay, workshop participants will present their work in a public performance, Erika Bačová of ETP Slovensko told TASR. One of the US artists is director Tom Costello, who said that he would like the group to arrange for a theatrical performance in the US about the Slovak experience.

Martin Vavrinčík of ETP Slovensko praised the housing construction model in Rankovce as a socially and economically sustainable housing solution for socially excluded inhabitants of marginalised Roma communities. He stressed that the fact that the Roma are not receiving anything for free and are making an effort to improve their living conditions increases their appreciation of the end result.

(Source: Sme, TASR)
Compiled by Zuzana Vilikovská from press reports
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