COVID 19 EMERGENCY - Distribution of Food and Primary Necessities to Children Living in the Informal Roma Camps of Tor Bella Monaca District and the Slums of Castel Romano, Tor Cervara and Salone in Rome.

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Project location: Italy, Rome
Project start date: April 2020 - Project end date: July 2020
Project number: 2020-010
Beneficiary: Associazione 21 Luglio

  Associazione 21 luglio is a non-profit organisation that supports groups and individuals in condition of extreme segregation and discrimination, protecting their rights and promoting children's well-being. Since 2016 Associazione 21 luglio works in the extreme periphery of Rome, a neighborhood named Tor Bella Monaca, where it manages a cultural and educational centre. Its activities are addressed to the general population: Italians, migrants, Roma and non Roma. The NaEPF supports Associazione 21 Luglio since 2014.

The aim of Associazione 21 Luglio's emergency intervention is to meet the food needs of families and the food and health needs of children between 0 and 3 years old living in some of the places with the highest poverty index in the city of Rome: the Tor Bella Monaca district and the slums of Castel Romano, Tor Cervara and Salone. To this end, since the very beginning of the sanitary emergency, the association has implemented weekly distributions of baby and family parcels containing food and other basic necessity items. 

The Nando and Elsa Peretti Foundation has awarded an emergency relief grant to cover the costs associated with the purchase and distribution of basic necessities for 300 "baby parcels" and food items for 260 "family parcels", which are distributed on a weekly basis among the needy families of the Roma camps in Tor Bella Monaca, Castel Romano, Tor Cervara and Salone.

As soon as the lockdown was declared to deal with the Covid-19 pandemic, Associazione 21 luglio conducted a research (through telephonic interviews) to monitor the condition of Roma communities living in housing emergency in Rome during what has been declared a worldwide pandemic. The investigation has been conducted within 5 of the institutional Roma camps in Rome, to understand how the lockdown ordinance would impact the most vulnerable families living in housing emergency.  The study was published on the association's website and it will be soon available in English and French.   

The findings are that there are no health workers in the camps for the distribution of medical devices nor any professional providing information about Covid-19. Moreover, the hygienic conditions, the inevitable promiscuity due to the limited room available for each family and the structure of the camp itself make the prevention measures ordered by the government impossible to implement. In some camps, after the lockdown was declared, the already stable presence of Local Police, at the entrance of the settlements, has been intensified. The majority of people feel safer inside the settlement and when they leave it, they equip themselves with self-produced devices as they never received any. Lastly, none of the families can keep working as the principle source of income is related to informal jobs.       
To shed light on the conditions of over 6000 people living in the camps scattered in Rome, Associazione 21 luglio launched an appeal to the Mayor and the Prefect of Rome to map the conditions of greater fragility inside formal and informal settlements with the main aim of eventually guaranteeing basic necessities, adequate hygienic-sanitary conditions and access to drinking water.        
Despite this appeal, to date the Municipality of Rome has not adopted measures to deal with the food and health emergency currently occurring in the camps.
On the 31st March 2020, the Municipality of Rome approved the resolution that allows the allocation of spending vouchers for all the families in serious economic and social distress due to the current state of emergency. Despite this opportunity, many of the families in the camps can't have access to this vouchers due to legal and administrative obstacles or are not in the conditions of waiting as they do not have any savings.       

Associazione 21 luglio has then decided to directly support the most vulnerable families coping with the pandemic through the distribution of basic necessities and food.   
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