The field analysis report of the PCD team
The settlement “ Bair” is situated on the surrounding hills in the south-west of Bitola and it is a
part of the town.
The PCD team has realized the first phase of the Programme for mutual development of the
community in the “Bair”, where 85 % of the inhabitants are Roma and they were the target
group of the research. The PCD team started their field work with the observation of the
terrain and locating the best part of the settlement for collecting information, since “ Bair” is a
big settlement with the population of more than 6000 of Roma inhabitants, most of them
being native people.
The observation has shown that in this area the population density is very big. Many people
of different generations: parents, children, grandchildren - live together in one house. The
young people form their own families, but with not as many children now as there used to.
The “Kozjak” street with its side streets and part of “Karaorman” street were chosen. These
two streets are the “center” of Bair where 95% of the population is Roma.
It was agreed that the team is going to make the investigation in six groups, each group
working on different parts of the streets including a member of the community.
The first impression was that there are asphalt streets or stone pavements except of the few
alleys. The local community building “Dimitar Vlahov” is completely renovated and equipped
with 20 computers, donated by the European Agency for Reconstruction. There is also an
information center. Both of them are used by the Roma civil organization “ Bairska svetlina”.
The local health and dentist station work within the “ Dimitar Vlahov” local community. All of
the questioned people have access to the town water supplies and sewerage system. They
all have electricity, the public organization “ Komunalec” takes care of the waste disposal but
there is a lack of containers.
The members of the team divided in six groups and questioned 550 people from 110 families
of different age with different interests.
It was agreed that all of them have no job and lack money for living and clothes. Their main
source for existence is the social welfare, only few of them have their own income (they sell
textile on the flea market, black market, collect used iron). A very small number have their
legal firms or use a pension. Most of the young people work hard physical jobs.
The team focused on four principal subjects for interview selected in the following order:
2. Health care
4. Culture and free time activities
Most of the people in Bair have a very low level of education and have no qualification to get
a job. They only know how to read and write, but there is still a small number of those who
can only recognize the letters and write their own name.
There is no kindergarten or nursery for school children, no advisory center for children and
adolescents and there aren’t any children’s parks or playgrounds. Children up to the age of 6
play on the street or in their garden. Only 5% of the children are taken by minibus to the
kindergarten and are taken care with no charge as it is shown bellow:
The primary school attendance of children until 14 years of age:
95% - NO 5 % - YES
The children at the age 6-14 go to “Georgi Sugarev” primary school. However, only 35% of
the children finish the compulsory primary education. The rest of them leave school much
earlier. Their reasons for leaving school are: no shoes, no clothes, no money, books, etc,
although in the previous years the books were provided by the Roma NGO and the Ministry
of education. There is also a “night school” in the “Georgi Sugarev” primary school where
they can complete their primary education, but not so many show the interest for it.
37 % - YES 63 % - NO
Most of the pupils leave school in the sixth grade, the boys forced by their families to provide
money for living ( they sell napkins, toilet paper, etc) and the girls traditionally get married
very young or their parents keep them home to do the housework.
Women are interested in courses for hairdressers or dressmakers, but the parents don’t allow
the girls or young married women to attend such courses. Only older women aged 45 and
more can go. Only 5 of the questioned girls have attended some kind of course but they
didn’t finish it and so they didn’t get the diploma.
Only few lucky people attend high school who managed to get some scholarship or donation.
There is no one with completed high education, while only a dozen go to university.
Although they have very low level of education, the young as well as the older people show
great interest for computer training and internet since they have many relatives abroad and
want to communicate with them. They also want to know what is going on in the world and
because of their economical condition and lack of education they can’t do that in their homes
or at school.
Most of the questioned people get the medical service through the Agency of employment
where they are registered as unemployed, but they work on the black market
95% - YES 5 % - NO
They get their primary health service (doctor and dentist) in their local community as well as
in the medical service located in the bottom of the Bair.
The most common reasons for visiting the doctor are colds, fly, infections.
They need free medicines and health education for drugs, alcohol, widely spread in this
population. The presence of hepatitis and other disease demand health education for
healthier hygienic life. 95% of the children are vaccinated, only 5 % of the children with in
danger and uneducated mothers don’t get vaccine, since their mothers can’t understand what
a vaccine is.
In this community there aren’t any sport facilities or playgrounds where people can play
sports. The only appropriate place for this is in the school “Georgi Sugarev” but it is occupied
all the time by the students of the school. So they spend their free time in front of the local
shops or at home. The youngsters showed great interest in having some kind of sport field
where they can do some sport. The only ones who practice sport are the school children on
their PE classes or those who play for the school handball team, and they are not so many.
90% of the questioned about the better conditions for recreation think that they need sport
complex with the size of a handball playground.
8 % think that a park should be built for children to play.
2% would like to have a fitness club in their community.
From all this we can see that building a sport complex can create a new form of socialization
and spending free time with young people. It will also attract people from other parts of the
town to organize competitions between the communities.
Culture and free time activities
Cultural and free time activities in the community Bair are minimal. They only have activities
from time to time. The young prepared a theatre play and showed it around the country.
There is a motivation and wish for this type of activities as well as for the folklore group, but
there is no mechanism, volunteers, appropriately educated people to create programmes for
realization of the cultural life in the community. The only folklore group is the one in the
“Georgi Sugarev” school which is far than enough, because the Roma children are minimally
The free time and leisure activities are mostly when people celebrate national and religious
holidays and they are looking forward to June and July when they traditionally have family
celebrations in which many people participate, mostly relatives.
55% spend their free time at home
17 % don’t know
19 % watch television
6% with their neighbors
3% have fun
There are many unsolved problems in the Roma community which has been the target of our
analysis. The solving of these problems would improve the bad social and economical
situation in this community:
Used clothes and shoes;
Education – books and school equipment;
Computer education and education for using the internet;
Clubs for young people to spend their free time;
Sports field and children’s park;
Nursery for preschool children;
Supplementary teaching for school children;
Health education and free medicines;
Trade courses for qualification and re-qualification.
Red Cross Branch