Friday, December 14   Sign in or Register
Evangelical Focus
  • Twitter
  • Facebook
  • Google +
  • Instagram
  • Soundcloud

Newsletter, sign up to receive all our News by email.

Do the media in your country usually portray evangelical Christians accurately?



Social justice

Helping Czech Roma children to build their own future

A centre for youth empowers children coming from very difficult contexts. “Jesus is their strength in planning and building up their future.”

AUTHOR Nelleke Wolters PRAGUE 27 NOVEMBER 2015 10:59 h GMT+1
cdm teen challenge, Czech Republic, Prague Children playing outside the CDM building. / CDM Teen Challenge Czech Republic

“The continued discrimination of Roma, in particular of Roma children, is a serious concern.” These were the words of Thorbjørn Jagland, Sectretary General of the Council of Europe, quoted in the Prague Post.  

According to a report of the European Commission that was published last October those at biggest risk in the Czech Republic are Roma children.

The European Commission values the fact that the country has adopted a Strategy to Combat Extremism. But many efforts haven’t been very effective so far.

Althought the EC values the measures taken to help Roma children in mainstream school, the reality is that still too many “only Roma” schools exist and provide a reduced curriculum and lower quality education.



But there are other stories to tell as well. Teen Challenge is one of the organisations that are aware of these deficits and they work very hard to empower Roma children.

Teen Challenge is an international organisation which runs several projects. One of them is CDM, Centrum d?tí a mládeže (Center for children and youth). Anna Tichá is its current director.  

She started as a volunteer for CDM in 2002, shortly after she came to faith in Jesus Christ. The young passionate woman talks about the history, and the goals of CDM. And also about her personal motivations.



The founder of the centre for children and youth was Lucie Pohanková. During a mission trip she worked with street children in Ukraine. After that, she felt led by God to start working with children at risk in Prague.

She and others started meeting weekly with children in parks in the district Žižkov, up to 40-50 mostly Roma children. The first official centre was opened in February 2002 and it hosts weekly club meetings. Until today they work with three age groups: pre-schoolers, schoolkids till 10 year old and teenagers 11+. The weekly clubs are offer having fun together, sharing God’s Word with the children, prayer, and worship.

Roma children mostly have a home and a family, but there are issues. Many families are broken, or one of the family members is in prison. Usual problems are alcohol and drugs addiction. Some children are living with their grandparents.

Other families are functioning reasonably well but are in financial trouble, and most of the children have to move often because of that. Although not all Roma children are discriminated against, they see their parents struggle. For instance, it is no easy for Roma families to find a house or a job.  

Many of the Roma children don’t feel safe. As one of the children visiting the centre put it so painfully clear: “Mummy, where do we live today?”

The Teen Challenge CDM wants to minister the children they serve, and want:

- The children to get to know God, and learn how to live as Christians.

- To help the children integrate in society.

- To build long term relationships with the families the children come from.

- To help young adults to be responsible for their own lives.

Every now and then there are events in which the parents are encouraged to participate, so that CDM members can meet them and build relationships.

Another mean of empowerment is personal counselling, to help stimulate these children to make their own choices. CDM also has a fund to pay for their books and supplies.



One of the children whose life really has been really affected by the work of CDM is Lenka (not her real name). When she first came to CDM she didn’t have much self-confidence. She was a shy girl. But after she started helping with the younger children, she developed strength and started to think about life goals and plans for the future.

Thinking about the future is rare among Roma people. Most of them live mainly in the present. That has a positive side as well. They know how to celebrate. When they have money that organise a party, make good food and have a lot of fun together. A Consequence of this lifestyle is that many Roma people have serious debts. And it is very hard for them to get out of their financial problems.

If the new generations learn now how to make the right choices they can have a better future. But there is an even deeper motivation for the work CDM does, according Anna Tichá: “My personal desire for all the children and adults who come to our centre is that they will get to know Jesus as their personal Saviour. But not only that. Jesus can also rescue them from their problems. He is their strength in planning and building up their future. And we are happy if we can be instrumental in that process.”




    If you want to comment, or


YOUR ARE AT: - - Helping Czech Roma children to build their own future
Nominal Christianity, a mission field for the church Nominal Christianity, a mission field for the church

An interview with Lars Dahle, of the Steering Committee of the Lausanne Movement Global Consultation on Nominal Christianity held in Rome.

Ruth Valerio: A lifestyle that cares about creation Ruth Valerio: A lifestyle that cares about creation

Are Christians called to make a difference in environmental care? What has creation care to do with "loving our neighbours"? An interview with the Global Advocacy and Influencing Director of Tearfund.

Kathy Bryan: Online sex trafficking in the USA Kathy Bryan: Online sex trafficking in the USA

“Prostitution is nobody’s dream,  it’s a very traumatic lifestyle”, says Kathy Bryan, director of the Elevate Academy. She mentors former victims.

Bulgaria: Evangelicals ask government to protect religious minorities Bulgaria: Evangelicals ask government to protect religious minorities

Christians rallied in Sofia on November 18 to defend their rights. It is the second Sunday of peaceful demonstrations against a new religion draft law that could severely restrict religious freedom and rights of minority faith confessions.

Photos: #WalkForFreedom Photos: #WalkForFreedom

Abolitionists marched through 400 cities in 51 countries. Pictures from Valencia (Spain), October 20.

Photos: Reaching people with disabilities Photos: Reaching people with disabilities

Seminars, an arts exhibition, discussion and testimonies. The European Disability Network met in Tallinn.

Photos: Hope for Europe Photos: Hope for Europe

Unity in Diversity is the theme of the conference. Representatives of Evangelical Alliances and many other church leaders gathered in Tallinn (Estonia).

What are the benefits of the whole family being on mission? What are the benefits of the whole family being on mission?

“We’re not taking energy from my ministry when we care for our family in missional kind of ways”, says President of Josiah Venture Dave Patty.

“We need prayers for Bulgaria” “We need prayers for Bulgaria”

An interview with Pastor Vlady Raichinov, Vice President of the Bulgarian Evangelical Alliance.

The Manzanas case The Manzanas case

A short documentary about how retired pastors and widows of an evangelical denomination in Spain fight a legal battle for their pensions after the favourable ruling of the European Court of Human Rights.

‘Mediterráneo’ ‘Mediterráneo’

“Something will change if you have hunger and thirst for justice”, sings Spanish artist Eva Betoret in a song about the refugee crisis.

Follow us on Soundcloud
Follow us on YouTube

EVANGELICAL FOCUS belongs to Areópago Protestante, linked to the Spanish Evangelical Alliance (AEE). AEE is member of the European
Evangelical Alliance and World Evangelical Alliance.

Opinions expressed are those of their respective contributors and do not necessarily represent the views of Evangelical Focus.