April Trip to Romania

I have just come back from Romania and am eager to tell you all that has been happening. I spent most of my time in Petrosani where our main project The Joshua Community Centre is situated and, amongst other things, I spent 3 days with the new manager Adina putting into place new structures and projects. She is very eager to learn and we hope she stays with us.
Pictured: Joshua Centre staff and volunteers, together with our friends Ken and Katy from Vis De Copil, plus HAH Trustee Dave Bennett, and Michelle.

I spent all Friday volunteer training, this included lunch so it was a great day. The morning was with our own staff, which went very well and the afternoon was with a variety of volunteers, this was more complex due to it all having to be translated. As volunteering is so new in Romania this type of training is very valuable. Vis de Copil who we support in Arad has indicated they would also like this type of training.
I ran a sewing workshop in the evenings to which some of the staff, volunteers and two local ladies came. It went extremely well, the atmosphere was relaxed and everyone enjoyed it very much. The photo, left, shows the group. We even had one of our homework club boys attend! I ran this workshop for Vis de Copil for the ladies from poor families and it was a great success there as well. On returning to England I have sent out work sheets and further information with a hope that the sewing clubs will keep going.

I spent time with Julien and Gabi who run Provedina Devina in Petrilla, we have given them funds to pay for food parcels for the elderly, and as well as some training with them I was able to visit two of the ladies. What a shock to see Sanzania, pictured right, in a block of flats that really should be demolished. She has bad legs and spends most of her time in bed watching the TV. A volunteer George, from the same block visits her and takes the food parcel and she is particularly grateful for the sugar! I also visited Maria who lives on her own in a nearby village and although she is able to dig her garden she really needs extra help and support.

While I was in Petrosani I was approached by two different groups asking for help and advice on how to set up and run a support group for parents of children with special needs. I was really happy to be able to show them the first steps and look forward to working further with them; in this respect we will be linking with the Clinical Science & Education Foundation which is doing similar work in Cluj. I feel that my time is well spent in Romania, not only training and information gathering at the Joshua Centre but helping and supporting other indigenous groups. Now that people have a better understanding of what they can achieve in their communities, training and support have an even greater value.