Europe, Middle East & North Africa
“I want to be a teacher. I want to go to school.”
Photo: Frederic Vigne
By the Rev. Amy Gopp, Director of Member Relations and Pastoral Care
Her eyes were the deep, gorgeous brown of chocolate kisses. And the moment she looked at me, I felt as though she was telling me something without uttering a word. Her eyes said it all. This child, such a beautiful girl, was destined for something.
I smiled and introduced myself, and she reciprocated. “I’m Jasmina,” she said. Within sheer seconds there must have been ten or twelve other little girls surrounding us, wanting to know what this surprise encounter was all about. No one ever came to this community, and certainly no one would bother to speak to the girls there.
It did not take long before we had created what felt like an impromptu girls’ club, as they asked me questions about who I was, where I came from, if I had a husband and kids, and why I was there. Luckily, I was able to tell them in the local language, and they were then open to my questions. We had become a spectacle.
It was right then that I asked Jasmina the question I had been eagerly waiting to ask her all morning: “What do you want to be when you grow up?” When Jasmina looked up at me, she boldly exclaimed, “I want to be a teacher. I want to go to school.” The chances of Jasmina going to school – a young Roma girl living in one of the most poverty stricken areas of Serbia – were slim to none. Rarely do Roma boys have the opportunity to go to school, let alone girls. That was just unheard of.
But CWS is in the business of not only asking risky and critical questions, but also of having some of the solutions to the issues that those questions raise. CWS is in the business of making dreams come true.
Thanks to our work among easily one of the most marginalized, despised and misunderstood populations in our world, Jasmina is now going to school. Jasmina is receiving an education. One day, Jasmina may just fulfill her dream to become a teacher.
We have made that happen.