Through a mission trip to Russia, I was introduced to a group of people little known to the rest of the world. At a youth camp, I met Astra and Melice, two siblings and also two Russian gypsies. From the very start, my heart was broken for them. In the eyes of the Russian society, they were considered second-class citizens. They knew very little English but both wanted to learn desperately. Through this two week experience, an old and new project idea was resurrected.
Because of discrimination, the Russian gypsies are forced to a life of poverty. Their lack of knowledge of English limits job and educational opportunities. Gypsies are limited to the menial jobs that no one else will do and through this project idea, it is my hope to raise awareness of the plight of gypsies in Russia and other Eastern European countries.
This idea first came because of the many trips my dad has taken to Russia. My dad had been to Russia a few years back and met three Russian gypsy boys. He had returned home with a picture that had struck a chord somewhere inside me. This photograph and the memory of Astra have been the driving force behind this vision for "Astra's Dream."