This was how a recentBBC documentaryreporting fromSliven, Bulgaria, described the Roma community living with the effects of Covid-19.
“Even dogs can’t live like this”, was how one of the residents described the living conditions.
The documentary went on to point out that across Europe, Roma communities are often shunned and neglected, and Covid-19 has left them struggling to survive. Roma communities are some of the most marginalized in Europe. More than 10 million people live largely in poverty, often in overcrowded settlements, sometimes with no water.
Sliven’s population is approximately 25,000, with a large Roma community which is struggling to fend off the virus. Sadly, they arebeing blamed for an outbreak of the viruswhich has resulted in nobody choosing to hire them for work.
However, among such people are SGA-sponsored missionaries, Stojan and Jana Slavchev. They minister in Sliven Evangelical Church and oversee 28 daughter churches, of which more than twelve are Roma churches.
Another SGA-sponsored Roma project is in Dalgodeltsi, northwest Bulgaria. The Social Kitchen project was initiated by a small group of believers to target Roma people and others who need help. Warm lunches are provided every day and breakfast packages for all the children who go to school in the neighbouring villages. Disabled people receive their food at home with the support of some volunteers.
The Social Kitchen provides food for approximately 40 adults (10 of them at home) and around 30 children. It is hoped that the scope of the activities will be extended. About 50 people from the total village population of 1,000 attend the services at the evangelical church.
Slavic Gospel Association (British Section) Ltd is a company registered in England and Wales. Registered office: 22 Little Church Street, Rugby, Warwickshire, CV21 3AW Registered charity no. 258253. Registered company no. 00945991.