While in some places summer holidays have not even started yet, the schools in Macedonia are closed since the beginning of June. Reasons enough to avoid anything that rudimentarily looks like school until everything restarts in September? Not the children of the School for Roma Children in Ohrid!
The «Miss Stone» Center in Strumica, a diaconal institution of the UMC in Macedonia named after an US-American missionary, offers a comprehensive assistance: «Meals on Wheels» for 160 people in need, individual social assistance (e.g. medicines or firewood), a daily warm stew for 50 people in Radoviš living on the margins of society, and a home care project in Strumica are four examples. In the most recent newsletter of the «Miss Stone» Center, Christina Cekov writes about these ministries – and also about the impressive ministry of the School for Roma Children in Ohrid:
«With the extraordinary support of our School for Roma Children, the participants finished the regular school year successfully, receiving good school reports to the great astonishment of the teachers. Now, from the beginning of June, the children have almost three months holiday. That’s why the popular summer school has started again.
There are 26 pupils aged between 6 and 14, divided into three age groups. From Monday to Friday, they attend summer school, getting lessons and tutoring in 9 subjects. There are also organized excursions and sports festivals and additional fun subjects like music and road safety education for the younger students. The older children learn how to complete the tests for their driver’s license, a very popular lesson.
The children also learn about healthy food and how to prepare it inexpensively, because at home they rarely get cooked meals. They cook and eat together at school – and find it to be a lot of fun.
In addition, the older girls have the opportunity to visit the Counseling Center for Roma Girls, which opens for them twice a week in the school room. The teen girls are offered interesting themes, personal conversations and individual guidance. They are given a glimpse of an alternative life, different from that of their parents, whose miserable circumstances are largely the result of child marriages».
The report on this ministry in Ohrid is captioned with «Summer school has started again». At a first glance, this sounds like an administrative implementation report. But on second sight, it is obvious that it’s about much more: about opening a door towards a future of hope.
Source: Christina Cekov, Strumica (Macedonia) / Office of the Bishop, Zurich (Switzerland)