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Housing the needy in Romania


The Leanca family is one the beneficiaries of this year’s Big Build event in Romania.


These homes will dramatically transform the lives of 10 Roma families.

Most of the Roma families are living in poverty conditions. View Roma Realities slideshow.

Just 90 minutes outside of Bucharest, the most prosperous town in Romania, is the small village of Baltesti where Roma families are living in homes built of hay and clay. Ion Paul Leanca, 24 years old, is one of them.

Paul, his wife and a one-year-old daughter lived in one of the four rooms of the parent’s house. Paul had lived his whole life in this house, together with his parents, a younger brother and four married sisters. Eleven people under the same roof. When Paul got married and his daughter was borne, the house accommodated 13.

In Romania, approximately 150,000 Romanian families are currently living in poverty conditions, without adequate heating, no running water, overcrowded conditions, no bathroom or simply their house is falling down around them.

These families are caught in the vicious cycle of poverty, where lack of education limits opportunities for families to learn a skill and earn a decent wage.

This year’s Big Build event of Habitat Romania and Habitat Northern was an opportunity to build hope and homes alongside Roma families. More than 200 volunteers raised 10 homes in 5 days and delivered adequate shelter, transforming the lives of 10 Roma families forever.

The local government and businesses supported the idea and implementation of Big Build, thus addressing social housing problems for the marginalized groups like Roma.

This Big Build set an example of how Roma families can no longer be housed on the edge of town but can live beside their neighbors.

We hope that governments and development organizations can follow this example and create projects that can be used throughout Europe wherever impoverished Roma communities exist.

You can follow this years’ Big Build story by visiting

If you want to learn more about the housing need for Roma in Central and Eastern Europe, view our Roma Realities photo gallery.

What is next?
Habitat wants people not only to read about poverty housing but to do something to fight it. You can support Habitat’s work in Romania in a number of ways. Here are some examples:

• Visit our U.S. Dollar donation page to support projects in Romania.
• Visit our Euro donation page to support projects in Romania.
• Go to country profile pages to learn about other programs in this country.

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