We started the school year with 36 children enrolled. By now the community has begun to understand the role of education. We still have a long way to go, but we see more and more parents wanting to bring their kids to kindergarten and engaging with the teacher for their kids’ better future.
Here are a few stories about a few of our kids:
Benjamin – Beni, as we call him, is one of my children with a lot of personality! Very stubborn! But I am stubborn/determined to make my students realize they have great potential! He has a habit of starting his work and not finishing it. He gives up easily when something is hard, and things don’t go his way! In the beginning I didn’t pressured him to finish his work. Until one day I decided he needs to learn to finish his work, to finish what he started! He started a puzzle. He saw that it wasn’t really easy, although it was one that he could finish if he would put more effort into it. He got up from the table to leave. I bring him back to the table to finish what he started. For half an hour he was staring at the walls with no interest. After he realized that he really needs to finish his puzzle before moving on he made an effort and It took him about 10 minutes to finish it! At the end I hear: “Teacher, I succeeded! You see, I can do it!” He was very proud of himself! Now, when we have an obstacle, we always come back to that puzzle story. And he tells me: “I was successful then, I’m sure I can be successful again” And yes, Beni now is one of the smartest kid in the group and his “stubbornness” is no longer a weakness is his biggest strength because he understand he can use that towards accomplishing great things.
Daniel – the first time he went to kindergarten this year, he didn’t know what to expect. He had never seen a colorful kindergarten class full of toys. Thus, every morning his mother had to stay with him until he would get familiar with the room, the children, the toys. But every time his mother was leaving he would start to cry. He didn’t know exactly what was going to happen, except that he would have to stay with the rest of the children which were not his friends. He had heard about kindergarten from his older brothers but did not know exactly what kindergarten is. Every day in the morning I had to calm him down from his crying. It went on for about a month. The day came when his mother didn’t have to stay with him anymore and Daniel was telling his mother to go home, he didn’t need her anymore. Daniel stopped crying. He understood now that he is in kindergarten and that he has friends and many toys here. Although he is very shy and sensitive by nature, one day I observed Daniel holding “a meeting” with two of his friends. I was very surprised knowing his shy nature! They didn’t understand each other too much since his other two friends are speaking in Gypsy language but he could have fooled anyone with that! Daniel attends kindergarten daily now and he is very excited to go to kindergarten every day!!! He is not as shy anymore and by the way he is organizing “meetings” in his classroom he is on his way to becoming a great leader in his community 😊
David – David has just turned 6 years old and is in his first year of kindergarten. Due to a health problem, his parents decided not to have him in kindergarten until he turned 5 years and a half. In the first weeks I always heard how all the children blamed him for everything “David hit me…, David threw something…, David spit…, David yelled …”
David is passionate about kindergarten. Despite the fact that all children blamed him, even when he wasn’t his fault, David remained friends with his colleagues. Of all the children he is the most diligent, he is the first one to start to clean up the toys and he always finishes his assignments. The most precious moment was when as each child was receiving their snack from the teacher, I could hear David’s voice encouraging his colleagues to say “thank you!” He was the first child to learn to say “thank you” and he was using it all the time. He never forgot to say Thank you! And as each time something is shared in our classroom you can always hear David reminding his colleagues to say “thank you!” This is great because these children are only now learning Romanian, and the fact that he already understood the importance of this word is invaluable. David attends kindergarten daily, has friends, loves loud games and likes the word “thank you”
We highly appreciate you partnering with us in making a long-lasting impact in the lives of these precious children!
We’d love to share with you a bit of our 2019 journey at Caleb Foundation.
Every year we like to choose a theme that we follow throughout the year. For 2019 it has been “Spiritual Warfare”, which meant a lot of prayer in and over the community. With the significant breakthrough and victories came quite a bit of hardship, opposition and pain. But in the end it’s all worth it.
Short Term Mission Teams – this year we’ve had a record number of teams come to Caleb Foundation to aid us in our endeavor to bring transformation to the gypsy community of Lazareni. The 8 teams spread out from April to November, very different in make-up and purpose, all achieved what they came to accomplish.
From working with kindergarten and primary school kids, doing ministry in the streets, playing sports with the kids, building and gardening, insulating houses while teaming with the local men, doing training sessions with the local teachers to declaring the reign of Jesus over the community.
We highly appreciate all the teams that have been such a blessing for us!
After School Camp – There is an old saying ‘give a man a fish and it will feed him for a day, but teach a man to fish and it will feed him for a lifetime’. This same principle of giving a child an education is giving them a passport for the future, a chance to live.
To further influence and invest in these children’s lives we made sure they have a chance to go to our summer camp. This is the second year we have our Afterschool camp and apparently the last year’s camp had such a major impact that they all fought for best results in order to qualify for this year’s camp.
It is hard to accurately describe what a culture of love, acceptance and grace present at camp can do to a child lacking most of these values in their own homes. The leader’s transparent and vulnerable hearts made it possible for the children to open up and share burdens, wounds as well as desires and aspirations. In a godly atmosphere healing took place as kids were prayed for, talked to and encouraged to continue to dream big.
In the video bellow you get a glimpse of the incredible time we all had!
House Insulation Project – The HIP has been such a game changer for the community of Lazareni, not only giving the romma people a more comfortable home during the harsh winter months, but also bringing unity among the families involved in helping each other out throughout the process.
What is different this year from all five previous years of HIP-ing houses is that we made it a community project by having the men of the village do most of the work. Each family whose house is being insulated has to come up with a team of 3-4 men that will do the work assisted and supervised by us. Having a team from other country or town insulate your house is no doubt an incredible blessing. However, having the locals be part of the hands on process makes it even more special giving the family the satisfaction of personal involvement and investment.
It has been such a great experience, seeing the families come together, helping each other out with water, electricity or simply offering to do the work.
By the end of the year, we will have insulated a total of 53 houses in Lazareni and they all will be bearing our signature color as a testimony of what can be achieved when we partner to make a difference.
Here is a short video capturing the excitement experienced by a team we had with us in September:
Kindergarten: these are the 35-40 sweet kids we run into every day as their classrooms share the same building with our office. What an incredibly different picture from the one we were witnessing a few years back. They used to be scared, wild and unruly and today while they are still full of energy they became kinder and more affectionate and much easier to work with.
Watch this incredible video to see how blessed these kids are:
Thank you so much for partnering with us in making a long lasting impact in the gypsy community of Lazareni!
Gheorghe & Alina Galea
The HIP has been such a game changer for the community of Lazareni, not only giving the roma people a more comfortable home during the harsh winter months, but also bringing unity among the families involved in helping each other out throughout the process.
From Sep 27 to Oct 4 we had the privilege of hosting a team from New Covenant Church, Tyler TX led by Pastor Sam Fisher. These men came determined to insulate two houses but because of their tenacity, hard work and generosity we ended up insulating three.
These are houses 6-8 of 2019 but houses 38-40 overall. What a joy this project has been!
Please watch the video bellow to see the miracle unfold:
DENISA – class A teacher
As you may already know, our kindergarten is split in two groups: class A and class B. This school year I had the opportunity to teach class A made up of 19 kids. This is their last year in the kindergarten because in September they will start school!! Due to mostly health reasons not all the kids have been able to attend at all times. One of the boys has some serious health issues (special needs) and he couldn’t attend but a few classes. We have realized that we have at least as much to work with the parents as we do with the children in order to make them realize the importance of education if these kids are to have any real chance of making it in life.
The rest of the kids have happily attended all classes and have grown immensely. Continue reading “Kindergarten Update”
The Afterschool project closest to our hearts as we get to see the kids being transformed, educated, challenged to desire a brighter future for themselves and the generations to come.
Life through the eyes of the average gypsy child looked bleak and hopeless. This average child represents a number of children living in this very poor Roma Gypsy community in Lazareni where the poverty is so extreme that even the basic human right of access to running water is not a reality. These children were stigmatised, they were marginalised from society they couldn’t look to a future, or even contemplate having aspirations and dreams. Continue reading “After School Camp 2019 – What an awesome experience!”
After School Camp 2019
Those that know me would also know about my passion for cycling. Last year I decided to put this hobby of mine to good use. In August I decided to start adding up the rides and hoping to get to 5000 km in a year – while using this as a tool to fundraise for Caleb’s 2019 After School Camp. Continue reading “Ride with Purpose – AS Camp 2019”