HEKS/EPER is making a difference in the «Church cooperation» in Slovakia
The Roma make up ten per cent of Slovakia's population. Their houses are often in a state of disrepair, while malnutrition and poor sanitation form part of their daily lives. More than 90 per cent are unemployed. They have insufficient access to education, balanced nutrition and to medical care. With 85 000 Hungarian-speaking members, the Reformed Church in Slovakia is alive to the situation of minorities and has the potential to build bridges to the Roma community and to the Slovak-speaking community. HEKS/EPER supports church parishes in developing projects for the social inclusion of the Roma. Remedial lessons are given at school for Roma children and young people to improve their educational opportunities; they are also offered life skills courses.
Four hundred Roma benefited from a range of integration programmes and about 120 church members were motivated to support social projects.
Alongside development cooperation and humanitarian aid, church cooperation is the third pillar of HEKS/EPER's international work. For decades in some cases, HEKS/EPER has been supporting, advising, promoting and accompanying Reformed Churches in Eastern Europe, Italy and the Near East in their diaconal work and in building up vibrant church communities. HEKS/EPER supports various church-run social activities, especially for children and young people. In addition, HEKS/EPER is ensuring the continued existence of active church parishes through financial and logistical support for the renovation of run-down church buildings. Lastly, through church parish partnerships as well as exchange and continuing education programmes, HEKS/EPER promotes dialogue between Reformed Church parishes in Switzerland and partner churches abroad.
Reformed Church promotes inclusion for the Roma