Some CDI staff from the Jalal-abad office are reaching out to a Roma community in the south of Kyrgyzstan. Using good community development procedures, they spoke first with the mayor of the community, asking him what influential citizens could help CDI understand the needs and desires of the community. The mayor responded that he could tell them all they needed to know, that the biggest need is education for the children. Our staff smiled and explained the importance of a community survey, that we want to help the people with what they long for, not simply bring in our own ideas.
So the survey in the Roma village has begun. Initially CDI staff heard of more superficial needs, like better paved roads and a bigger school building. But as CDI visited multiple times and began building relationships, we learned more of what the people yearned for. The people realized as they spoke that their village is in disrepair because they have no work. And they have no work because they don’t have enough education. Maybe the mayor was wiser than we thought. CDI is still in process of surveying. Perhaps the woodworking project of years gone by will help this village.