Modern-day missionaries journey to Romania to uplift Gypsy families living on a landfill site

21 July 2023
Travellers giving out food to Romanian Gypsies

In a world where many individuals embark on journeys to explore exotic destinations and bask in the beauty of different cultures, there are some who travel with a purpose beyond their personal enjoyment. On 19th May, a group of young Traveller men were able to make a positive impact on the lives of Gypsies living on a landfill in Romania.

Group of men in Romanian store, with two trolley's that have food and water in them.

During this recent mission in Cluj Napoca, one of Romania's major cities, a team of young Traveller men encountered a community living on a landfill site. These families, approximately 200 in number, had been forced to relocate in 2017/18 but with nowhere else to go they slowly returned to the site as it was the only means of survival they knew. Scattered around the outskirts of the landfill, they lived in makeshift wooden shacks and relied on scavenging through the rubbish for recyclable materials to sell and sustain themselves.

Left, Romanian Gypsy family crouched down to get sandwiches. Right, young boy in yellow shirt and thumbs up

It is worth noting that this mission was entirely self-funded. Each individual covers their travel costs, ensuring that every donation goes directly to the work on the ground. These modern-day missionaries relies on the generosity of independent donors and churches to support their initiatives.

Their dedication to improving the lives of Gypsy communities in Romania through spiritual guidance and practical projects is commendable. By investing their time, resources, and efforts, they strive to uplift people in need of help and provide them with hope for a better future.

Left, seven Travellers around table making sandwiches. Right, an open van with crates of sandwiches.

While the challenges faced by Gypsy communities in Romania are complex and deeply rooted, the work of this group of Travellers serves as a ray of light amidst the darkness. Through their hard work and efforts, these missionaries contribute to the ongoing journey of empowering communities, fostering understanding, and spreading love and compassion to those who need it the most.

By Liza Mortimer

All photos © Felix Lowther