Helping Communities in Romania
We recently received a good report from our program partner in Romania called the Proton Foundation. Below are a few excerpts of their report featuring the Romanian communities of Poiana and Lazareni.
The House Insulation Project (HIP)
By the end of June this year we have been able to insulate 4 ½ homes. We were able to complete 5 homes in 2014 so we have nearly surpassed last years target already and we are only half way through the year! We are also hoping to have more local teams thereby raising aspirations and training local people to empower and change their own situations!
Two of the teams that were part of the HIP in 2014 and 1 team from 2013 have re-committed to the HIP this year because they realised the major impact it has had on the family they helped as well as the wider community, and on their own lives also.
We have just begun recruiting teams for 2016, and are hopeful the project will continue to impact the lives of everyone involved in the HIP Project.
The Youth Group
The Friday youth group continues to thrive and has provided great emotional and practical support to young people in the community. – HIP has had a very positive influence on the local youth as well as impacting the wider community, by raising esteem and aspiration.
Lazareni Project Overview
Proton works in partnership in a remote gypsy village in Romania. This project aims to address the Employment, Educational, Housing and basic needs of the community. The Roma community situated in the Bihor region of Oradea Romania consists of 416 men, women and children. The average family consists of 6 members and there are 65 houses in the village at present and a total of 86 family units.
Current Lazareni Projects
Employment & Adult Education
There have been a number of initiatives aimed at addressing the high levels of unemployment in the village. There are only 15 individuals in the village who are in paid employment, therefore unemployment is around 94%. To tackle this Proton in collaboration with Caleb and a number of other agencies have initiated projects to begin to raise the educational standards within the village and we are exploring a number of initiatives to set up small micro businesses.
The Men’s Workshop
At the end of last year the new workshop was completed proving a key learning environment. This year the men’s workshop began with the key objective to train 5 local men in woodworking and carpentry skills. The course is a full time course for 12 months. So far this year, the men have learnt how to use the following equipment; table saws, drills and sanding equipment and have begun producing items such as: photo frames and, candle holders, which they hope to sell. They have classroom-based learning 2 days a week and the remaining three days are dedicated to practicing and manufacturing items.
Education for children Afterschool Programme
An Afterschool programme for 7-11year olds was set up in September 2013 as a result of seeing the need that children were not attending school and to address the dropout rate and also to help the Roma children to lift their standard of education to help them achieve higher standards of education. As a result of this initiative 25 young people attend the afterschool club on average each week. The programme aims to help the children with their homework and operates 2hours a day on Tuesdays and Thursdays. Proton hopes to help support this project in the coming year through helping to sustain the work already underway in raising the educational standards of the young people of Lazareni.
There is a pre-school run for 4-6year olds which is accountable to the state school system and follows this curriculum. This is attended by 15 children five times a week, and the children are achieving targets set for them! The Pre School also have received a new classroom recently.
Housing and Social Need
There is much work undertaken to assist the local community in social needs that arise. There is a health programme addressing basic needs and a mobile dental unit has been donated but a qualified dentist is still required to fulfil this goal fully. The children are given a meal at preschool and afterschool club, a meal is also provided for each of the adult workshops thereby providing around 150meals per week.
Diaper A Day Project
Last year 800 diapers were distributed to families in a village with no running water or drinking water so the diapers really aided basic hygiene needs for the families who received them.
This year we have raised the target because we saw the enormous impact such a simple act had on the lives of the families and children, so this year we aim to provide each child under the age of 2 with a diaper a day/night which is 43,800 diapers for the 60 children, and we believe this is possible!
A Holistic Approach
In order to bring about community transformation, then the many faceted issues faced in these two communities have to be addressed, and it is not possible to take one area of need in isolation, which is why the aim is to address needs as they arise, and break the cycle of systemic poverty.