Will you help a child like Marko?
Marko is struggling at school. Frequently he is not at school at all. That’s because he is on the street in Kragujevac, Serbia, begging for something to eat. His grandmother with whom he lives is sick and unable to work. His parents are both dead.
When he does go to school, he has to contend with the prejudice that creates a gulf between his own Roma community and the rest of the population. And he is
displaced by the Balkan war, Roma people living on the roadside and under bridges, migrants from the Middle East desperate to reach the European Union countries.
But the main concern of Pastor Dragisa Armus who leads the work of Blythswood in Serbia has always been to reach his nation with the gospel and to change society for the better. Since 2016 the UMMAS Centre has nurtured a Christian approach to art, photography, poetry and music.
Using these same premises, our colleagues there propose to start an after-school programme for Friday afternoon and all day Saturday, giving Marko and others like him the help they need to make the most of their educational opportunities before it is too late.
Teachers will provide extra tuition in maths which is Marko’s particular need, and also in science. Language teachers will assist with Serbian and English. There will be a cooked meal each day, art and music workshops and engagement with Bible stories and Christian ethics.
Your support for Talita Kum, Blythswood’s after-school programme in western Romania, has already proved that a programme of nutrition, education and cultural activities delivered from a Christian perspective, can produce results that transform lives and communities. Let me give you two examples.
Alex is in his final year at High School and thinking about university. Five years ago, neither he nor his parents would have imagined that it was possible
for him to reach this stage in education. He was a disruptive twelve-year-old, lacking self-confidence, drawing attention to himself by bad behaviour and unable to complete any of his school work unaided.
At TK2, Talita Kum’s programme for early teens, he found an environment in which he could really flourish. In just two years his behaviour was changed, he began to participate in extra-curricular activities and learned to apply himself to his school work independently.
As a result, his grades in high school have been above average and he has a determination to succeed. He has even returned to Talita Kum as a volunteer, encouraging younger children with problems similar to his own and experiencing what teaching could be like as a career.
discouraged by the inscrutable mysteries of mathematics. What do numbers mean anyway? Who really needs them? At home there is no one to help him with his homework.
Can you blame a child like this for dropping out of school? I know I can’t. But I believe we can prevent him from doing so if we take action now. And it has to be now because Marko is already 12 years old. Will you help us?
Blythswood has been helping impoverished people in Serbia for over 25 years – those
Izaura mastered the basic skills of literacy and
numeracy at Blythswood’s after-school programme
Alex on a skiing trip during his time at TK2
Izaura was one of the first children to benefit from Talita Kum when it opened in 2001. Coming from one of the poorest families in her community, she faced every disadvantage: a chaotic and sometimes violent home life, illiterate parents, and late enrolment in school.
In spite of everything, she completed her primary education and willingly attributes this to the help she received at Talita Kum. There she had a cooked meal every day, access to hot showers and clean clothes, and individual attention from social workers and teachers.
Now a dedicated mother and homemaker, she cares for her family not by the standards of her own upbringing but by what she experienced at Talita Kum. And being able to read and write well herself, she is able to help and encourage her eight-year-old son with his homework.
Your gifts make an impact on the next generation: Izaura is able to help her own child with his homework
Izaura’s experience shows that Christian educational support, tailored to the needs of seriously deprived children, changes lives and changes communities. It’s an investment that makes a massive difference to the individual child and for the next generation.
I’m confident that what has been achieved in Romania, and also in Moldova through similar projects, can be replicated in Serbia, too. Will you help us do this for Marko? And for 29 other children in his community who have been assessed as being in urgent need of educational support?
While occasional workshops have already taken place for some of these children, our plan is to start the regular programme in January. Please send a gift today to help us do this. £48 would pay for one child for a month but any amount that you send, more or less, will be a significant contribution to the education and welfare of these children.
Thank you for considering this appeal. Together, by God’s grace, we are able to change lives for good.
Your support will enable Blythswood to replace occasional workshops with a regular programme every Friday and Saturday