Jasov is a small town in eastern Slovakia, and the approximately thirty-four hundred residents there are a mix of Slovakians and Roma Gypsies. Generally speaking, Roma Gypsies in Slovakia have always been looked down upon. They are often considered to be the underclass, and it’s largely true that many Roma Gypsies are semi-literate, unskilled, unemployed and living in some of the worst conditions conceivable in Central and Eastern Europe. Unfortunately, this means that many Slovakians have also long considered Roma Gypsies to be the major cause of crimes committed in the country. In 2009, a sixteen year-old Roma Gypsy boy in Jasov murdered and robbed an elderly individual, which only served to further cement the idea that Roma Gypsies are dangerous and detrimental to the safety of the community and country.
Creating Positive Change
Sometimes all it takes to bring about a positive change is one great idea, and one individual brave enough to use it. A Jasov librarian recently picked up a copy of The Way to Happiness in her library, and realized that the simple but powerful ideas contained within this book may very well lead to greatly improved conditions for both the Roma Gypsies and the Jasov people. She reached out to the Slovakia Way to Happiness Group, asking for help, and she received an immediate reply–with a team of three individuals travelling to Jasov in order to help improve the lives of residents there.
Upon their arrival, the Way to Happiness team met with the Jasov mayor, main police officer and three Gypsy community representatives. The Gypsy representatives were asked what they think might happen if they took just one precept from The Way to Happiness–“Safeguard and Improve Your Environment”–and applied it well. The results of this meeting and this simple question were nothing short of amazing. A crew of forty Gypsy villagers has now become “sanitation experts” in Jasov, cleaning up the entire town. Jasov willingly provided the Gypsies with whatever supplies they needed, while the Gypsies and The Way to Happiness team supplied all the labor. Twelve tons of garbage were accumulated and disposed of in just over four hours, and within three days over one hundred fifty tons of garbage had been removed from the town. Simultaneously, more than twenty-five hundred copies of The Way to Happiness were handed out to residents, so that they too could learn more about how to improve their own and others’ lives.
While the town’s transformation from dirty and disgusting to clean and beautiful was no small thing in and of itself, there was a further transformation that held everyone in shock. Crime rates in the town and surrounding area plunged by forty percent, improving the safety and happiness of all residents.