I visited a home of a third grader who is enrolled in our After School Program, where we offer educational assistance and emotional support for Roma children between the ages 7 and 18.
This little girl always has a smile on her face, attends the program daily, and always has the cleanest clothes and shoes. Little did we know what her home situation was? One of the After School Program teachers alerted us that the little girl's mother was asking if we could help a new soba (wood burning stove) since her old one broke after twelve years of use.
Of course many families ask us for help and we aren't able to assist everyone; however, we felt God saying to go visit this family's home due to the mother’s faithfulness to her children.
Have you ever walked into a cave? This is exactly what it felt like walking into the "house": a cold, damp cave. The soba was indeed broken and you could almost see your breath while inside on this cold October day. The mother had plastic covering her broken windows and a sock plugging a hole in the plastic from a tear that had happened. A six foot tall man could not stand up straight in this place due to the low ceiling that I felt was ready to cave in on me. I wanted to get out as soon as I walked in, but the mother was showing where her kids sleep, how she keeps her family's clothes neatly folded in the shelf, and asking for our help in any way we could offer.
As I looked down at my feet on the cold, dirt floor, I felt guilty of desiring more possessions in my life when some people have nothing. How could I ever complain when people in this day and age live in a location smaller than a closet with no heat on a cold autumn day?
We offered to buy her a soba as soon as possible, and Firm Foundations Romania is praying about the possibility to build the family a simple home, which would cost around $5,000. It is inexpensive to change a life for the better.
We all must remember how blessed we are with we have and to reach out a helping hand to those who have nothing.
Sarah Vienna Berchtold/ President of Firm Foundations Romania