Slovakia -- Habitat for Humanity Int'l 1
Roma families often live in slums, with no access to running water or electricity.
Habitat in Slovakia
When Habitat representatives first visited the Roma ghetto of Svinia, Slovakia, they were shocked by the desperate poverty. Some families huddled in earthen huts infested with rats; others lived in concrete boxes dating from the communist era. None of them had running water or electricity. Life expectancy in the ghetto was 40 years.
Habitat partnered with ETP Slovakia, a Slovak NGO, to deliver a project tailor-made for this community: renovating homes and improving the general health of the people in the settlement. All existing 120 homes were renovated, disinfected and pest-controlled; all water wells were cleaned, disinfected, repaired and sealed with concrete lids to prevent pollution.
The project in Svinia was an innovative attempt to reach out to the poorest of the poor. Given the extent of poverty in the community, the first aim of the project was not to eradicate poverty housing in the ghetto but to make living conditions healthier, cleaner and more decent. The impact of the program and the level of improvements have been remarkable. Living in clean, heated apartments without rodents and insects has drastically improved the health of the people. The provision of safe, clean drinking water has greatly reduced diarrhea in children and eradicated hepatitis.
Habitat currently works in the community of Nalepkovo, in partnership with ETP Slovakia. The aim of the project is to serve 70 families over the period of two years.