You may be wondering why there are book bags hanging on the flagpoles of these Dutch homes. Like many European countries, the Netherlands has standardized exams that all students must pass to receive their (high school) diploma. Kids in each of these houses passed. And it is an achievement everyone on the street may know about!
What has that got to do with corruption? A friend in a former East-block country asked us to pray for the young (Roma) Christian leader there who had gone back to take their country's version of these exams. The young man really wanted to pass so that he could go to Bible school. The legislator from his district approached him. The young man could be assured of receiving a diploma. Cost in cash: a little over $200; cost in character . . . ?
Another friend in the same country, a talented school teacher, was willing to teach in predominantly Roma villages. She met with good success. But even though her placement test scores were higher than any other candidates', her contract was not renewed. Instead, it went to the niece of one of the local V.I.P.s.--who was far more interested in employment than actually in teaching. What did that cost, in terms of the students' future?
And why is there so little work in the Republic of Moldova. A third of the working population has gone abroad (Moldova.org). Often leaving children behind with grandparents, neighbors, or no one.
Labor would be available in Moldova, and relatively cheap. And it is possible to do business there--if, as a Moldovan friend pointed out--you are willing to "share."
On my recent visit there, I met a different Roma young man. He had legitimately earned his high school diploma and was studying further. He was also connected with the Centrul National Anticoruptie (National Anti-corruption Center). Let us pray for those who fight corruption, those who suffer from it, and those who are tempted by it. And let us be willing to pay the cost of countering it.