The JRRC tries to support these
youths to represent their ethnic group in mainstream society, so as to break
the stereotypes and encourage these young Roma intellectuals to go home and to
face the challenges over there, and at the same time to help and motivate their
own communities. Mostly, these families are Christian, and God is in some way
important to them, but they do not attend church. One of our colleagues told us
how thirty years ago in their village the old sacristan would chase the Roma
and Gipsy children away from the church with a whip. There are many wounds to
heal and much need for reconciliation. In the Residential College there are
evening prayers and catechism groups, and the Holy Mass is celebrated; students
and co-workers are invited. Hopefully these will help us grow together as part
of the same Church, which is the body of Christ.
In 2020 the Hungarian Province also started to
work in a village, Arló, to carry out the “Redeveloping Villages Programme” of
the Hungarian government, which is co-financed by the state and the European
Union. Our partners are the Charity of the Hungarian Order of Malta and the
Franciscan sisters who have been helping the people in Arló for two decades.
Our program focuses on the families with children under the age of three. In
many cases, by the time they go to nursery, the kids have lived in an
environment that has not been helpful. Some houses don’t have electricity, most
of them don’t have water pipes. The children have to bring water home from the
well in buckets. In the wintertime they also go out to gather wood. Quite
often, families of six or eight live in a single room.