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                                                                            A little about Tzigania and our reasons for being here....

Roma Style

hands Gypsy Blacksmith

event at Gypsy tours

meeting Gabor

satra gypsy camp

Roma braiding

    Tzigania began as a community development program that blossomed into a movement and turned into a revolution taking place both inside and outside the communities

         We are developing a new way of - looking at Roma
                                                                                 – working with Roma
                                                                                                         - and how Roma work with others

It all began around 2000 as social conscience explorer – journalist Chuck Todaro began mingling with the Rom/Gypsies of Romania – Bulgaria and Republic of Moldova. He found that the best way to learn the truth between the contradicting opinions was from inside where realities were revealed through words, sights and actions. His journey began by traveling the regions spending days and the nights inside as many communities that would allow him and where it became immediately clear that “there does not exist a Gypsy people but many Gypsy peoples”. Divisions between the tribes is strong and written in blood

     Years living inside the community revealed many truths  

     During this period a lot of free money was pouring into the Roma communities through the Decade of Roma Inclusion initiative and other governmental and non-governmental institutions.  Sound projects were being implemented yet commonly lacking concrete plans of sustainability. There was a mad dash for the money; sell the project was the objective while sustainability and community benefit was secondary. As a result project structures were going up like mushrooms, followed-up with plenty of fanfare (your good old ribbon-cutting ceremony with plenty of journalist) that within a short period of time had drained their budgets and were shutting down leaving these Roma communities with a new emptiness and deepening sense of suspicion and distrust

 Many ngo organization do wonderful things and always with good intentions
 – nevertheless - free money without responsibility easily corrupts…

    There is nothing free in what Tzigania does; In fact, our goals are to eradicate the hand-out mentality that has been seeping into and corrupting Roma communities since 1990.  All our programs motivate hard work through compensation combined with the prospect of continuation (as we say around here: one satisfied customer brings two more (proven true))… We have also begun introducing healthy competition within our program (because sadly there is no outside competition) further motivating ways of improving our product and the people who produce it.

     Another realization  was the direction of governmental and ngo organizations generaly focused on issues of education, housing, health, social welfare, justice, etc. This direction is useful and important, yes, but generaly misplaced since clearly the best way to help Rom community (where roughly 90% live below poverty lines) was simply attack the source of the problem – poverty – by finding the individual a means of support (an income) -  or as the saying goes “Give a man a fish and you feed him for a day; teach a man to fish and you feed him for a lifetime”.    Rom life is centered around the family. Incomes put food on the table, repair the home, buy medicine when needed, fund children’s education, etc. "Attack the source (poverty) and the other problems will work themselves out"... 

The third critical observation during Tzigania evolution was the immense value Roma / Gypsies offered that was being overlooked by majority indifference. Romanian authorities (political – business - society) preferred isolating rather than motivating. This truth has developed our base goals: finding Roma values, motivating and exposing.

     At the end of Chuck Todaro’s lengthy research living in various Roma communities and what would become a book on the Roma Tribal System: Gypsy Kings and Rag Pickers (exerpt - due out soon); he felt a need to give back to the people who opened up their homes and hearts. Leaving Romania with a hardy handsake  and good intentions was not an option. Actions were needed and so Tzigania Project was born.  It began with tourism as a means of first opening up the segregated community and letting people in (or as we like to say – building bridges) - and exposing their unique values to the outside world. At the same time building Roma self-confidence by showing their potential.


                     Our organization

     Not only is our product original but so is our organization that gives full authority (and the necessary responsibility) to Rom. It’s their community and culture and so naturally they are the boss. Rom community organizers (Tzigania partners) AND the community decide how to organize program and where the money goes (along with ChuckTodaro’s input because our other beneficiaries are non-Roma visitors/clients who expect safe, fun and an informative experience. We put our two heads together and together we make a solid plan and then we build-up from there).



Tzigania Project’s Goals and Objectives  
  •      Knock down the walls of segregation and introduce a new economy into the fiscally dried up tzigania
  •      Expose the reality (the good – bad and ugly) while simultaneously dismantling the paralyzing stereotypes – “ one person at a time”
  •      Introduce an interactive cultural exchange program between Roma and outsiders helping to nurture young Roma into achieving more than the minimal that is expected.
  •  And finally – uncover Roma people's abilities and potentials and help in their development.

CONTACT US :   -    Phone: +(40)  74 191 2180

Tzigania Partners - and Community Organizers

Gabor Family - Valeni
Atilla Szanto - Glodeni, Mures
Cristi Coman - Brasov, Brasov
Shawny Mezei - Ceaus, Mures
Anthony and Claudia Cocosh - Vilcele, Brasov
Donna and Vasile Racos - Hetea, Brasov
Family Oprea - Bacoi, Bacau
 - and growing

Tzigania Tours in the Media: See what other are saying about us:   

Experiencing the World of Gypsies
Jan, 2014
Courrier International Article (French) Article / Images of journalist's two week  stay at Tzigania Blog "Don't Tell Mom I've Been Sleeping with Gypsies" (2012)Dancing With The Gypsies... 
Tziganes A Etre Connus. Full Article. (French)Photo Essay by George PopescuBlog: Dancing with the Gypsies Professor Dr Dan's Blog (2011)Tzigania Radio. Interview/ Report 2014 (French)Golden Age Backpackers. 2012Trip Advisor
Trip Report, 2013
Voyages Liberacien (French) A Gypsy Sleepover (2012)
Dilema Veche Magazine. 2015 (In Romanian)
About Gabor
Dilema Veche Magazine. 2015 (In Romanian)
Interview w/ Chuck Todaro

Who is Chuck Todaro?... in pictures

Chuck Todaro dancing Gypsy Dance
The many facets of our Chuck

Chuck Todaro with Fanfare musicians   Chuck Todaro with Transylvanian Gypsies   Chuck Todaro working with Gypsies at dump   Chuck Todaro with Friends in Apalina    Chuck Todaro Bixing Days

Chuck Todaro Apalina Friends    Chuck Todaro with family     chuck todaro with forest Gypsies     giving tours    chuck todaro with the Gypsies