VisionConsult presents "Village of the Future" for Roma Inclusion

Global consulting company took part in High Level Event on EU Funds Contribution to Roma Integration

By Michael Smith (Veshengro)

Sofia, Bulgaria: Global consulting company VisionConsult International took advantage of the High Level Event on EU Funds Contribution to Roma Integration to present their “Village of the Future” project. The event in Sofia from 21 – 22 June 2011 was organized by the European Commission.


The living conditions of the 10 to 12 million Roma in Europe are often insufficient and are characterized by poor housing, low health standards, extreme poverty, unemployment and difficult access to education. A region with strong Roma minorities is the Balkans, with countries like Bulgaria, Hungary, Macedonia, Romania, Serbia and Slovakia featuring a Roma minority approaching 10% of the population or even surpassing this figure.

VisionConsult International has adapted their concept of the “Village of the Future” to provide an opportunity for Roma people to live and work in villages while fully respecting their traditions. The first “Village of the Future” is about to be constructed in the Northwest of India – near Abu Road in the state of Rajasthan – on a plot of about 16 hectares. The Village will be set up as an area for training/education with about 15 residential buildings, farmhouses and a school building with administrative sections.

A “Village of the Future” combines modern technology with green energy, on the one hand, and locally available building material, on the other hand. The self-sufficient energy production from renewable resources and the food production from controlled ecological cultivation foresee an overproduction of at least 25% each, which is sold and thus contributes to the income of the village.

Jean-Claude Bisenius, Managing Director of VisionConsult GmbH, the German branch of VisionConsult International, explained it thus: “The ‘Village of the Future’ responds well to goals recently published in the EU Framework for National Roma Integration Strategies up to 2020, namely ‘Access to Housing and Essential Services’ and ‘Access to Employment’. The aim is to create an environment where Roma people can live and prosper. Migration into cities and subsequently into misery should be prevented.”

Dr. Cleofe Guardigli, one of VisionConsult’s affiliates in Bulgaria, added: “As the implementation of such a project is a very complex task, we are looking for cooperation and support. In the past months we have contacted many parties involved in the Roma issue, representatives of the Roma communities, national bodies for Roma policies, local government bodies and municipalities as well as NGO with connections and experience in the Roma issues.” She explained VisionConsult’s attendance at the event: “Here in Sofia we have the opportunity to strengthen these relationships and to present the ‘Village of the Future’ project to a larger network and to formulate strategies.”

Together with the support of these network partners, the “Village of the Future” for the Roma therefore responds well to the request of the EU Commission which reads: “Action on housing needs to be part of an integrated approach including, in particular, education, health, social affairs, employment and security, and desegregation measures.”

Jean-Claude Bisenius emphasized: “As this High Level Event concentrates on funding Roma projects, we hope to identify financial resources aiming at implementing the proposed ‘Village of the Future’ project. In fact, the project is currently at a development stage where funding is the next step.”

An image showing the area structure of the village with two exemplary buildings can be downloaded from


VisionConsult International is a global consulting company for the infrastructure industries, including ecological construction, energy production from renewable sources, media, information technology and telecommunications. The company originates from Vision Industries S.A. which was founded in Sophia-Antipolis (France) in the year 1992.

VisionConsult International is available to undertake a broad range of proposed assignments. The company supports clients at all business development stages with market research, strategic & business planning, finance and partner selection, business incubation and start-ups project launch and implementation as well as public relations and marketing support. The structure of VisionConsult International provides each client with the personal attention of the lead consultant with, at the same time, access to the resources and services of other experts in a variety of locations around Europe and the world. Most of the consultants of VisionConsult are internationalists, and most speak several languages.

While this is all a great idea, and once again some company is looking at a license to print money, such villages could be created in a similar way without the need for expensive consultants and such like. In addition to that the question must be asked as to whether the People have been asked and as to whether the People will have a say in the way the villages will be designed and created.

Many years ago this author has designed the idea for villages of such a nature for the Romani People, as well as off-grid communities, and the design ran similar to that of the allotment gardens in Denmark, where the gardens (smallholdings in the case of a community) are arranged along a circular road. Some people, however, objected to the idea on grounds of the fact that there was only one road in and out of the settlement (in the original design).

This “Village of the Future” is basically based on the very same design and idea with the only difference of having two roads in/out.

Personally, I must say that I do like the layout though would look at making each and every dwelling independent – especially as many Gypsy People, Roma and Sinti, do not like to live in apartments – with an appropriate amount of land to grow a great deal of their own food and also space for a workshop.

The layout at present smacks somewhat of a Kibbutz or of the Soviet system of collective state farming where everyone is house in apartments and then works on the farm or in the workshops. In any case the People it is intended for must get involved in the planning process all the way otherwise it is not going to be of any use whatsoever.

However, the idea,a s said, is a good one and can be made to fit, I am sure, many a different need. Let's do it.

© VisionConsult GmbH, Germany & Tatchipen Media, UK