The Christian Broadcasting Network

Browse Videos

Share Email

Ruslan and Ivan Graduate

Thanks to Orphan's Promise-sponsored schools in the Roma community, Ruslan and Ivan were the first students from their community to graduate from the public school high school in more than 60 years. Read Transcript

NARRATOR: Ruslan and Ivan are two young men

who want more for their life than what they see around them.


INTERPRETER: I didn't want to become like the other kids, who

were hanging out on the streets, fighting and doing nothing.

And I didn't want to go to gypsy school, where

they don't teach you anything.


INTERPRETER: I don't want to live like my parents.

I want to earn a living using my mind.

NARRATOR: Ruslan and Ivan grew up in a Ukrainian gypsy camp,

where poverty and illiteracy are common

and education is frowned upon.

Ivan's mother told us gypsies believe if a mother did not

go to school, then her children should not study either.

This has been the gypsy way for generations.

But she knew without an education,

Ivan would continue the family's cycle of poverty.


INTERPRETER: Without schooling, he

would make brooms and baskets.

And in the summer, he would gather mushrooms to sell.

Without an education, there is no other work he could find.

NARRATOR: Ivan's mother wanted more for her son,

and she was willing to go against the gypsy tradition

when the opportunity appeared.

It was 2010, and Orphan's Promise

had just learned of the lack of educational opportunities here.

The designated gypsy school was inadequate,

with teachers who didn't teach and sometimes didn't show up.

The public school didn't want the gypsies

because they considered them dirty, ill-mannered, and

generally social outcasts.

When Orphan's Promise started classes,

there was a lot for the teachers to overcome.

They started with the basics-- teaching skills

like listening and sitting still,

followed by reading, writing, and personal hygiene.

With consistent teaching and encouragement,

the children slowly began to believe in themselves,

and believe that they could dream

and their dreams could come true.

Ruslan and Ivan were 10 years old at the time.


INTERPRETER: I wanted to study well.

I knew the more I learned, the better I would live.

I began to read better and write better.

Things became better for me.

We were reading the Bible as well.

NARRATOR: Both boys advanced quickly in their studies

and soon reached an academic level

where they could attend the public high school.

This was a great milestone, but there was more.

When they graduated, they became the first gypsies

to receive diplomas at this high school since 1947-- 68 years.


NARRATOR: I was very happy.

This is my first diploma.

It is very important, as if a new life has begun in my heart.

NARRATOR: The director of the high school

acknowledged the role of Orphan's Promise

in this success.

Your team invested so much and now the students

see that if they work and study hard, they can achieve success.

NARRATOR: Today, Ruslan and Ivan have taken the next step.

They are studying to be builders-- something that

would not have been possible without their diplomas.

Ruslan's mother is overwhelmed by her son's hard work

and success.


INTERPRETER: I desired so much for Ruslan

to be like normal kids and have the opportunity

to go on and study further.

I really wanted this.

I'm so very happy for him.

NARRATOR: Not surprisingly, Ruslan and Ivan

have become heroes in their community,

and the children attending the OP-sponsored school

now aspire to be just like them.


INTERPRETER: The younger kids say, you and Ruslan

get to study in the big city.

When will we?

I tell them, you will grow up, you continue learning,

and you will get a diploma, and then

you will get to study just like us.

NARRATOR: In 2014, Orphan's Promise constructed

a brand-new school facility that will accommodate

300 students, children who will learn to read and write

so they, too, can attend public school.

These are the future Ruslans and Ivans,

and this is where opportunity, desire, and dreams

all come together to create a bright future.


Related Podcasts | Do You Know Jesus? | Privacy Notice | Prayer Requests | Support CBN | Contact Us | Feedback
© 2012 Christian Broadcasting Network