(reposted from the team blog at cbf-romany-ministries.blogspot.com)
The osada (settlement) in Vazec, Slovakia can be a pretty dark place. Lots of Roma squatting in small shanties on the edge of the village, but there are a few bright spots in Vazec. One shining light is Danka, a Slovak woman, who works tirelessly for her community particularly the Roma.
In 2009, Shane and I met Danka at the social work office in one of the city buildings. She was quiet and modest with a heart to work among the Roma. As we have worked with Danka over the years, she has continued to show her love and concern for the Roma in her community. Even though she is no longer employed as a social worker, she continues to volunteer her time. Sharing a meal around her kitchen table with her family, you can see the commitment that she and her family have to strengthen their community.
Along with several others, Danka has established a non-profit called Jekh Drom (One Way) to work with the Roma of Vazec to address needs identified by the community. The areas identified are: 1) employment; 2) housing and 3) education. We have committed to work alongside this non-profit to encourage and assist them.
Jekh Drom has drawn a lot of criticism from the majority population of Vazec who have no interest in assisting the Roma to improve their circumstances. They have a hard road ahead of them . . . but with a shining light like Danka, the way is looking a little brighter.
- For Danka and her family that they will be encouraged to continue their work;
- For Jekh Drom (One Way) as they explore options for a community center near the settlement;
- For the Roma that they will be actively involved in looking for solutions to meet their needs;
- For teams from the US who will be serving in Vazec this spring and summer.
Dianne McNary, Slovakia and Czech Republic