Roma girls (WWCS photo)
The Roma Christian School has helped Roma parents to see the difference Christian schools make. "The parents can see that the teachers genuinely care about their kids, and this is something they have not seen from the mainstream European population. So they are really seeing Christ in these teacher through the compassion that they're showing their children," said Emily Klooster of Worldwide Christian Schools.
The teachers actively recruit children, and tuition is as minimal as possible. Though it is not possible for the school to move with the children, the option of having schooling just for Roma children has encouraged many parents to stay in one place for longer.
"They build trust with them. They go through the benefits of Christian schooling with the parents, and they talk with them about the link between education and good jobs for their children," said Klooster of the good reception to the teachers of the Roma school. It also helps that the children receive the help they need because the classrooms are limited to 15 to 20 students.
"There's an evangelical component too: the after-school tutoring programs and summer camps that the school puts on. They keep the kids engaged in year-round education that mixes fun with learning."
Because parents are staying in one place more and more, they've purchased land nearby to construct a new building. "The school is in a lot of transition right now, and because of their unique approach with the Roma population, the student population is growing very quickly. They currently serve elementary aged students, but their goal is to expand into junior high and high school," said Klooster. Worldwide Christian Schools is partnering with them to cover the building costs of the new building so that it does not cause tuition prices to rise.