In 2012 Fr. Georg Sporschill SJ and Ruth Zenkert founded the association ELIJAH following the motto “Whoever saves one life, saves the world entire” to support impoverished Roma families in Romanian Transylvania. Today ELIJAH operates five social centers, two music schools, training and work projects and a student dormitory.
Settlements have formed in almost all the villages in Transylvania, and they are growing. Roma families live there illegally in small huts, often without electricity and water. There are no training or work opportunities for young Roma. Few of the children go to school. Girls get married early and must look after their children. Without education, without knowledge of household or upbringing. Overstrain, despair and growing neglect are the result.
The Ursula Zindel-Hilti Foundation has been funding the project since 2013 and developed the Training and Employment program together with ELIJAH. At the training center in Marpod, young Roma have the possibility of job trainings in the carpentry or support construction work. At the farm they begin to work in agriculture, livestock farming and horticulture. In the school of household management „Stella Matutina”, young women learn cooking and baking, table culture, hospitality, room cleaning and handicraft. The daily bread is baked, provisions are made and the meals for the social centers and canteens are prepared. In all facilities, the work ability of young people without school education is promoted and where necessary basic knowledge in reading, writing and arithmetic is teached.
The activities in the Training and Employment project give young Roma opportunities for their future and enable them to find their way out of poverty and into an independent life.
Learn more ELIJAH.