Father Jan van der Zandt msc works as the national coördinator of the PWN, providing pastoral care and welfare activities for Travellers, Sinti and Roma in the Netherlands.
In accordance with the trend of decentralisation, pastoral care of Travellers, Sinti and Roma has shifted from categorical to regional care. In other words, pastoral care has been transferred from the chaplins – the Fathers of the MSC - to the parishes.
Citizens and parishioners often still regard Travellers, Sinti - and Roma in particular - as being separate groups, only existing outside normal society. As a result, they have always been, and remain, isolated. Because of this, the focus of our work in recent years has been to mediate between these groups and Church authorities, local government and education offices. Our present efforts – perhaps now even more so than in the past – are aimed at emphasizing the social disadvantage of these groups. They often fall by the wayside in their contacts with local government and Church authorities. Therefore, since 2007 extra care and attention has been paid to the Roma by means of the Help project, later called the Roma project - this in cooperation with the Missionary Service Centre, Tilburg.