Reaching the Romani Children

tl_files/Bilder webbplatsen/Romer_1.jpgRoma situation today
The Gipsy’s, or the Roma as they prefer to be called, are a European dilemma. All over Europe this part of the population no one seems to care for; an ethnic minority that over the years have become a majority. In the country of Romania alone the Roma population, being the largest numbers 2.5 million.

Roma is an vulnerable ethnic minority in Europe. Their situation has in recent years become increasingly more dramatic and is a ticking time bomb. In Romania, has by far the largest population of Roma. In Romania with a population of 22 million Roma levels about 2.5 percent (ie. 535 000) of the population. But an unofficial estimate suggests that that it is more than that, inofficial number suggests that the Roma numbers between 8.3 to 11.5 percent of the population, which represents a number between 1.8-2.5 million Roma. The poverty rate among Roma is three times higher than the average poverty rate in Romania. Poverty among the country's Roma is complex and multidimensional. It is related to a number of factors, including poor health and education status, limited employment and discrimination, which all together give birth to a vicious circle of poverty and segregation, unemployment and social exclusion as a result. A downward spiral that is extremely hard to get out of. Roma are largely dependent on help from the community to survive.

The pictures in the gallery are from a Roma colony outside of Oradea.

Image gallery from a roma colony

 

Children of Promise

tl_files/Bilder webbplatsen/Romer_2.jpgOver the past years PTPI have been financially supporting Children of Promise and the social and spiritual work among the Roma community through this charity. The Centre reaches out through three different locations in the surrounding area of Oradea, a city with a population of about 250 000. Their main facility is the old mill that they have renovated and refurbished to fit their needs. They received this for free, if they promised the city council to work with the Gipsy’s. To use their own words, the center was built using “recycled garbage”. By saying so, they did not just mean building material but also included the gipsy’s themselves into that category.  

tl_files/Bilder webbplatsen/Romer_3.jpgOver the years they have turned this old mill into a cultural youth center. The center aims to teach the children about their own cultural and social background. They also teach them how to keep a good hygiene and how to interact in the open society. Something that does not come easy living on the perimeters of society, where every day is a constant struggle for survival.

 

The Girls Home
tl_files/Bilder webbplatsen/flickhem.jpgThe second location is a girl’s home where young girls, ages 18-25 lives, girls that have different social issues, that otherwise would have ended up in prostitution, drug abuse and criminality. Girls that otherwise would be living on the street now find a shelter and a home. The third location is found in the small suburban town of Cheriu. Here about 25-30 children gather every day for a hot meal, some after school activities and also to be helped with their homework. On occasion they are commuted into the main center for interaction with the other kids and for attending the choir. All the kids love to sing the Christian songs they learn to sing and also to perform. At the centre they also teach the children how to play different musical instruments; they also provide singing classes and different workshops, in sowing, clay modeling to mention a few. They teach them the basics of reading and writing, both in Romanian and Hungarian, since many of the never attend the communal school system.

Since the majority of the kid’s lives in homes without any tapped water or sewerage system, their hygiene is very poor. Many, if not to say all, have head lice’s and different physical conditions originating from bad hygiene and health care. So this is something they teach the children on a daily basis; why the need to maintain a good hygiene. The centre also provides dental and medical care and attention, when called upon. With all this said, the overall concern is of course that the children, by spending time there can experience, firsthand what the love of Christ means. Every day the workers are given the opportunity, through their own lives, in a practical way show the kids what the unconditional love of Christ means. Coming to the centre the kids can experience something that is totally opposite from the cruel reality they normally live under. For these kids, physical and mental abuse, drug abuse, criminality, trafficking is not something the kids are unfamiliar with. But slowly the hearts are won for Christ, as these kids find trust in the people that works there. This is the first step toward restoration and salvation for them and their families.