In Sabadell, there are approximately 10,000 people of Roma origin, which is about 5% of the total population. These people are mainly resident in 5 districts of the city (Can Puiggener, Can Rull, Ca N'Oriac, Torrent del Capellà, Espronceda and Campoamor).
This population continues to have a high level of conflict in terms of coexistence and cohesion with the rest of the neighbourhood, both in public space and facilities, as well as in schools.
Currently the main challenges for inclusion of Roma are:
- It is a community that in some neighborhoods is segregated in terms of schooling
- The results in the school environment are very high in school drop out, few students go to high school and very few actually graduate. In some schools, absenteeism is over 25% for Roma students
- Many Roma families live in over occupied or very precarious housing
The city administration has many ongoing projects to work on these issues with the Roma community. The city plans to develop a strategic plan that follows a joint line of work from all departments in a coordinated and cross-cutting manner. This plan will help the city look at public administration and break any internal stereotypes and prejudices that exist towards the Roma population, to promote non-discrimination and equal treatment.
The Roma community is represented in various working groups:
1. Roma roundtable, formed by the city’s Roma and Traveller groups, where the different actions carried out by both the administration and civil society are worked on and discussed.
2. Belief roundtable, where the different religious denominations in the city are represented, including Roma people.
In different districts of the city, there are community intervention projects involving groups of people from different places and also those of Roma origin, in which they work in coordination with the community to promote social participation and hard-to-reach groups policy.
Sabadell City Council plans to update its documents because the sociological and cultural reality has changed a lot in 9 years and wants to draw up a Comprehensive Plan for the Roma People to strategically plan actions towards this group and plan actions to promote coexistence in the public space to avoid conflicts of coexistence in the communities.
It is necessary to work internally within the administration itself (all municipal or public workers) in order to change the vision of the Roma community, to prevent prejudice and discrimination when users are Roma people. At the same time it is also necessary to work with the community on their perception that all services discriminate against them, to work with the community on the reasons for this perception, and how to combat it.
The city of Sabadell has a Roma Intercultural Mediator to promote the access of the Roma population to the city resources and services, especially those related to education, health, work, housing and participation, with special attention to women and young people. The intercultural mediator is a member of the municipal staff.
The mediator collaborates in the development of the axes of work of the programme of the Roma People: groups of women, groups of young people, actions of sensitization, dynamization of the Roma roundtable.
Acting as an intercultural mediator, at the request of other departments and services, the mediator works in a coordinated and preventative manner on issues such as: the schooling of children, the prevention and treatment of truancy, the relationship between families and services, socio-health care, socio-occupational guidelines, among others. The mediator also consolidates and energizes specific groups of women and young people to promote healthy, social and self-care habits and facilitate the use of the city’s resources.
The work of the mediator is not limited to the task of mediation itself but is an active part of decision-making and organization in matters relating to Roma people.