Concept

Since its establishment in 2000, the Mihai Eminescu Trust Foundation continues to develop and implement in Transylvania the concept of an “Independent Village”, in order to revitalize local communities and improve the quality of life of locals, through responsible heritage cultural and natural, by involving local human resources, the use of traditional knowledge, tools and techniques.

The concept of an “Independent Village” has evolved, including, at first, assistance actions for community members and then continuing with its adaptation to local needs. Over time, we have found that community self-sustainability is possible through motivation and co-responsibility.

Mihai Eminescu Trust Foundation invests time and resources in the development and consolidation of the community, through public consultations, individual meetings, direct advice and involvement in project implementation.

The concept of an “Independent Village” was built on three pillars:

The key approaches to the concept are:

  • Involvement, revitalization and consolidation of the community through meetings with locals, strategic planning, individual counselling, professional qualifications for locals, personal development courses, support of local initiatives, volunteer actions, educational workshops, empowerment of vulnerable groups;
  • Rehabilitation, restoration and revitalization of cultural heritage: houses, household buildings, public buildings, places of worship, fortified churches, crafts, traditions and customs, traditional techniques and practices;
  • Protecting the environment: non-formal ecological education, green actions, planting on degraded lands;
  • Supporting agriculture: maintaining traditional agricultural techniques, promoting agricultural products, maintaining traditional varieties, establishing school orchards;
  • Supporting craftsmen: encouraging local / social entrepreneurship, supporting small rural enterprises, setting up social enterprises, creating opportunities for business development;
  • Developed sustainable and responsible cultural tourism, by promoting the cultural and natural heritage, traditional guest houses, ecological products and the unique experience of the authentic country lifestyle, cultural events, traditional local gastronomy, hiking trails;

Community development

Community projects aimed at the common good – these projects refer to the rehabilitation and improvement of public space and public utility objectives. One of the selection criteria for these projects is the support and contribution of local actors for the benefit of the whole community.

Supporting individual initiatives “Support program with construction materials” – this category of projects strengthens the responsibility of locals for heritage, they perform rehabilitation works, and MET contributes with the necessary materials.

Highlighting the cultural and natural heritage

Civil heritage – this type of project refers to the houses of the locals, which are important for the development of the community in the future.

Religious heritage – this category refers to the restoration of places of worship, parish houses, churches and fortification walls.
Restoration and functionalization of household annexes (sheds) – is a distinct category from that of “housing”, due to its special architectural value and their importance in the traditional household as a whole.

Environmental projects – this category includes projects for the protection of the natural heritage, the conservation of the cultural landscape, with a significant impact on local communities, the local economy and the academic environment.

Reconversion of civil patrimony – MET Offices – this category includes restoration and arrangement projects of the MET offices in Sibiu, Sighișoara, Viscri and Florești.

Creating opportunities for the development of the local economy

Development of responsible cultural tourism – this category includes projects focused on promoting responsible tourism and arranging traditional guest houses. The tourism activity is based on local agricultural products, improves the quality of life of the locals, maintains the authenticity of the cultural landscape, but it is not the main activity of the locals.

Support for entrepreneurs – is a category that refers to projects to support the initiatives of locals in terms of establishment, authorization, endowment, arrangement, operation and promotion of small businesses, in order to improve agricultural and craft activities

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