Nicaragua Granada

ROMANIA- Cluj-Napoca Transylvania

This dump project is no longer active and responsibility for the community has been taken by the local Municipality.  

Pata Rat Rubbish Dump

Pata Rat is a rubbish dump in Cluj-Napoca, Transylvania in Northern Romania. It has been in existence for over 20 years and stretches to the size of approximately 22 acres. There are 80 families; a total of 400 people living on the dump itself and another 2,100 in the surrounding areas, it is estimated that 1,500 are children. These communities are split into four camps: The Pata Rat dump camp and three further camps (also referred to as The Barracks) named Dallas, Cantonului and Costea.

Romania has a large Romani community (recent census states they are 622,00o, however the unofficial number is estimated to be closer to 2,000,000) who are hugely discriminated against in Romania. Many of those living on dumpsites were Romani individuals who had been moved out of their homes and villages and relocated closer to the dumps by the government. In some cases police would arrive at Romani homes early in the morning without notice and load up their furniture and possessions to be moved to a new area. Romani children are often discriminated against at school and their very existence goes unrecognised by the government. It is estimated that 500,000 Romani people in Romania are illiterate, and the number of Romanis living in poverty is three times higher than that of any other ethnic group.

Romania is not a developing country- it is part of the European Union (EU), it is a short flight from the UK and this dump, one of many in Romania, is only a ten minute drive from the city of Cluj. The horrific conditions in which these children and families live are on the same level as some of the poorest countries SSP works in. We consider the way in which the Romani community and their children are living in as a clear violation of human rights. To find out more, please read the Amnesty report here. Click here for further reading.

Our Partners

Small Steps Project is working with The United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) providing emergency interventions and projects on the Pata Rat dump, while they are in the process of implementing a country wide housing and inclusion project. Through the UNDP we have partnered with local NGO Fundatia Dezvoltarea Popoarelor (FDP) who work together with the Municipality to provide services for the communities on the Pata Rat dump.

SSP has also worked with Pro Romani’s who support the community in  the Dallas camp, adjacent to the dumpsite.  They take a hands on approach by running a feeding programme twice a week and helping the families to build homes.


We distributed over 1000 pairs of; boots,shoes, socks and gloves. We further set up a feeding programme reaching out to 150 children as well as giving out warm clothes and nappies. In the mean time, necessary observations were made to begin the sustainability phase.

    SSP is running a Phase 2 Sustainable Project on Pata Rat Dump with FDP which includes:

    we first set up a nursery programme for children aged 3-6 years old in the school found by the local NGO FDP, to take children out of the dumps and place them into a healthy and safe environment. Furthermore, we started a “mother and baby programme” that provides counselling, training/education? for parenting, nutrition, hygiene, reproductive health, as well as general medical assistance and play time for motheres and babies aged 0-3.

    Cluj, Romania 2014 | Outreach, Nursery and Mother & Baby unit

    May 28, 2014