02 June 2011

Working for Change

After a vision team visit last fall, the need for some expertise in business development to assist Roma crafts persons develop a clearer business plan and nurture new Roma-led ventures was discussed.  Within a few weeks a conference call between leaders from CBF of Missouri, Kellee Sikes, and us resulted in a clear way forward.  Kellee Sikes is the owner of P3 Strategies, Inc.  We agreed on a timeline for Kellee’s visit and began the preparations.

With Students in Kežmarok
During Kellee’s visit, we were able to introduce her to multiple ministry partners to learn how we could work together on economic development or so that Kellee could get a clearer picture of the cultural and business situation.  To learn of opportunities, we visited Rankovce, Kežmarok and Jarovnice in Slovakia.  In Rankovce we learned of the ministry of another missionary serving among a group of Roma women.  Roma Rebrik produces a variety of handcrafts, many of which we have had for sale at CBF’s General Assembly. 

In Kežmarok, we were first treated to a presentation by three groups of students.  The presentations were in completion of their studies on business development.  Each of the groups had a product which they were involved in making.  The presentation focused on why they make the products, the costs, and the sales price.  Following the student’s presentation, Kellee and Shane presented a little more information to help the students get a clearer picture of the true costs and possible profits from their work.  It was a learning exercise for everyone.  We were very impressed with the students work at Kežmarok’s Stredná Odborná Škola (Private Trade School).  The products from these students have also been available at the General Assembly.

Saying goodbye in Zakopane
In Jarovnice, Slovakia we met with Jan Sajko and Martin Kaleja-Januv.  Jan is the teacher and Martin is his student-turned-teaching assistant.  Already Kellee and Shane can see creative and exciting ways that these two artisan’s work can be showcased in the United States.  Martin’s work has been purchased via the Art Auction at the General Assembly.

Following a very full week of interviews and travel, we took Kellee to Zakopane, Poland so that she could continue her journey of discovery in Poland, the Czech Republic, and England