Serbia (MNN) — The Roma people of Serbia face an uncertain future. According to reports, they’re ostracized. Many Roma children are deprived an education. They’re a forgotten people.
Trans World Radio hasn’t forgotten about them. In January, TWR began producing the program Shalom Romalen, or Peace be to the Roma people. It was broadcast on 8 local FM radio stations. Then in October, it began airing on an AM frequency.
TWR’s director of Central and Eastern Europe, Branko Bjelajac (bee-yell-eye-ya) says this allows them to reach millions of people. “The medium wave frequency allows them to be heard throughout the Balkans because this frequency goes beyond borders.”
But, what good is the programming if they can’t listen to a radio? Last weekend TWR did something to change that, says Bjelajac, “We had a distribution of solar radios to the Romani/Roma population in South Serbia. And, there were about 500 solar radios and they are turned to a single frequency — 1548 Am — which we air our program.”
Bjelajac says radios aren’t hard to find, but listening to them can be difficult. “They often have more power shortages. It would be more off than on. And solar radios with a fixed tuned frequency is an opportunity for us to share with them something that they can use for their spiritual uplifting.”
It took 70 days to get out of customs, but of the 500 radios that were donated by listeners of Christian radio in the United States, 400 have already been distributed.
The programming is working, says Bjelajac. “The largest (evangelical) church in Serbia is the Romani church. As an organization, we have founded and built several churches. We have seen the fruit of the radio program. “
According to Bjelajac, that’s having other affects. “The administrators of cities are saying there’s less crime rate. There’s better employment. And, the situation in the cities between the Serbian and Romani population is getting better because of the affects of the evangelical church around them.”