Hope for Albania’s Roma | World Challenge

Hope for Albania’s Roma

Rachel Chimits
November 30, 2018

God is reaching the Roma community in the midst of poverty and prejudice

Recently, a member of the European Parliament pointed out, “There is not a single European country where Roma people have equal rights to non-Roma people. They are treated as a problem...”  

The Roma community—sometimes called gypsies—desperately needs to know that God has a hope and future for them. Children, who bear the brunt of violence and neglect, are the most open to the gospel’s healing but also in the most danger. These children are often separated from their parents and left wandering the streets.

Some die during the harsh winter months. All of them live in constant danger, like Sibela who is a member of the Albanian Roma community.

Battling Extreme PovertyChildren Part of the Butterfly Program

Sibela is five years old, sleeping in abandoned barracks by a river with her brothers and older sister.

Like most Roma, she and her siblings live in extreme poverty, and they sift through garbage piles for cans and jars to sell. Afterward, Sibela comes to the Butterfly Program where she receives a meal and hears Bible stories. She has recently begun praying, talking to God about her family.

This autumn, however, Sibela got several deep gashes on her legs while wading through a filthy river to collect trash. The open wounds quickly became infected. Many hospitals won’t accept Roma patients, though, even if Sibela’s siblings could afford medical care.

Butterfly volunteers grew concerned after not seeing Sibela for several days and began investigating.

They found Sibela, but her infection had become so severe that she was in critical condition.

Hope for the Future

Butterfly workers started praying fervently for God to intervene.  

A doctor from the church heard about the need and volunteered to treat Sibela, a Roma who had no hope of ever repaying him.

He began treatment, and God saved Sibela’s life. Her legs are healing, and Butterfly workers are looking forward to seeing her cheerful face again soon.

The Butterfly program is intended to not only save children like Sibela physically and spiritually, but also to show them God’s passion for their future. The program is doing this by sending as many of the children to school as it can. This gives Roma children an opportunity to escape the cycle of poverty.

Volunteers and the associated church wholeheartedly believe in Jesus’ love for children: “See that you do not despise one of these little ones. For I tell you that in heaven their angels always see the face of my Father who is in heaven.” – Matthew 18:10 ESV   

Roma Children Fed Through the Butterfly ProgramWhat Can You Do?

First, pray for the Roma community in Albania and Eastern Europe who face intense racial prejudice and are often denied basic social services. Please ask God to continue healing Sibela, her family, and her community.

Next, consider supporting the Roma and our partner the Butterfly Program by making a secure online donation to our orphan care fund. This help can make a huge difference for Roma children and families who have no other resources.