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Jesuits News Social Justice In the suburbs of Bucharest with ‘Elijah’
Social Justice

In the suburbs of Bucharest with ‘Elijah’

Reaching out to the poorest of the poor. This is the mission of Fr Georg Sporschill SJ, who in 2012 together with Ruth Zenkert launched the social initiative ‘Elijah’.

The beneficiaries are mainly Rom children from Transylvania. Today 200 of them attend the two established music schools. “Rom children are naturally inclined towards music, which leads them to initialize their school education. To facilitate their attendance, social centres have been built in five villages near Sibiu, thanks to a growing network of volunteers. “Here, the children receive help in their studies, food, hygiene and clothes. Over the past ten years, new houses have been built or existing ones refurbished for more than 100 poor families.

In 2020, a boarding school for students was opened in Sibiu, named after ‘Pope Francis’, to give the children from the villages, who were willing, the opportunity to study. In the city, they can continue their studies and attend high school. The facility has 36 places. The next phase involves the completion of several flats. There are currently two in use, in which eight female students live a completely independent life.

In 2022, ELIJAH set up a small centre near the train station in Bucharest.

It is a home for volunteers and guests. Our social workers accompany the homeless who live in the station, and supply them with first aid. And slowly, around the canteen and prayer, we are seeing a community being established”.

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