Thursday, April 7, 2016

Week of Prayer Day 4 - Hopeful Future

From Jon & Tanya Parks in Kosice, Slovakia:

Do you remember your high school prom? For many of us, proms and high school graduation are memorable rites of passage, events that mark the end of one chapter in life and the beginning of a new one. Slovak students have a similar event that’s a combination of prom and graduation. They dress in formalwear and gather to share a meal with their parents, classmates and teachers. The graduates wear a green ribbon to mark their upcoming graduation. They observe time-honored traditions and share publicly their hopes and dreams for the future.

Just a few weeks ago, a group of students gathered for one of these events near the city of Kezmarok. This particular gathering was even more special because of the students themselves. All 12 are Roma. Together, they make up the largest graduating class of Roma students in Slovak history.

Roma in Slovakia face many challenges in education. Some arrive in first grade having spoken only Romani at home. They must learn a new language to even survive in school. With these and other challenges, many drop out. Very few even begin high school level. Only a handful of Roma in Slovakia graduate from secondary school . . . much less with the opportunity to study at university or professional school. That’s why this group is unique. They all have plans to continue their education. Some of them, talented dancers and musicians, hope to study music. Others want to improve their Roma communities and plan to study social work. A couple even hope to study toward Christian ministry.

In a region with 90% or higher unemployment among Roma, an event like this is truly a reason to celebrate! These students will have the opportunity to show the world what Roma can accomplish.  They’re truly Roma on the move!

In your prayers:

  • Thank God for this group of dedicated young Roma!
  • Pray for them as they explore the possibilities for the future.
  • Pray for educators in Slovakia as they look for new ways to help inspire and educate Roma students.

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