One of the projects that Ljilja is working on (and Mirjam) is a sponsorship project through Fida (the Finnish organisation Miika and Mirjam work with). They find sponsors in Finland and they sponsor children here throughout their 8 years of elementary school (and beyond if they want). Right now they have 20 something kids in the project. Half are from Banja Luka, and half are from another town, Celinac, about 15kms away from Banja Luka. Last night the parents and some of the kids of the families from Celinac came to hear a presentation (which Ljilja did and did a FANTASTIC job) on the project, on the expectations, responsibilities, how it works, etc. And also to meet the rest of our team as at times we will all be involved in visiting the families.
Here is Ljilja doing the presentation:And Ljilja, Mirjam and Sergej with the parents and some of the children:
Ljilja with the kids (before she told them all to go inside and get some more cookies and chips to take home with them - she really is the "fun aunty"!)
These families all have more than four children - we got them through one of Sergej's contacts: an organisation that works with families with more than four kids - but only one will be "sponsored" from each family, although the money will be able to go to the other kids as well...
It is a great way to help these families to be able to school their children and give them a better quality of life. And for us to be able to get to know the families and show them how much God loves them, in a practical way.
We all had to share a little about ourselves at the presentation and Sergej was sharing how he had come to help people, spiritually, materially, physically: Ljilja butted in and said "well now you know - if you need help, physically: to work your land in the spring, Sergej is the one to call!!!"