Help for the Roma

20 km away from Ghimbav is the small village of Dumbravita, bordering on a Roma settlement. The majority of the Roma is desperately poor and live in pitiful conditions. It is difficult to believe that such living conditions are still found in Europe.

Together with a Swiss orphanage in Ghimbav, ASM started a project among the Roma families.

We help with bread, which the families may pick up daily, irrespective of how many children they have. The aid is coupled with the children’s school attendance. Whoever does not send their children to school or kindergarten does not receive any more bread. It is amazing how quickly the children then return! This way they at least have a chance of a better life. Nowadays, after a few years, there are hardly any children who do not attend school on a regular basis. (picture: Mrs S. among some of the pupils)

1We support only the poorest of families. In 2013 we supported 76 families with more than 300 persons. We gave them 20.000 loaves of bread throughout the year. In addition, we help by obtaining documents or accompanying them to court. If needed, we also provide assistance with family planning.

Twice a month we supply grocery packs and laundry detergent, special packages for the holidays with donations of school supplies and sweets, sometimes also clothing, shoes, sandwiches or supplies for the children’s school course “2nd Chance”, the successor to our previous project.

The central worker in this project is Mrs Serbanescu. She was a teacher in Dumbraviţa for 42 years and knows almost every family in the village personally. When asked what motivates her to do this work, she smiled and said: “I want to help people in need. It has always angered me to see a person or an animal suffering. I have long given free extra tuition to school pupils, and some still come today.“ Mrs Serbanescu has exactly the right mixture of compassion, strictness and organisational ability, along with strong sense of justice, all of which is essential for coordinating the work with the Roma families. Her bookkeeping of the expenses is meticulous – she can always tell you to the cent what has been spent. She isn’t deceived by the occasional devious tricks attempted by some of the families. She is one of the main reasons for the success of our work.

Our support is just a drop in the ocean, but we give the people there the assurance that someone is looking after them. Furthermore, we hope that, by going to school every day, the children will not only gain qualifications, but also learn to follow a regular routine. This may help them to get a better job later in life, so that they can break out of the vicious circle of poverty.