Saturday, 30 March 2013

Volunteers needed!

For some time now we have been running the "Secret Garden" Drop in Centre with just one staff member and whatever volunteers we have on any given day. For a few months we had Cristina and then when she left us suddenly, Philip stepped in. With Kenneth's illness and subsequent heart surgery and my trips to Scotland to visit him, Philip was left "holding the fort" - not an easy task that's for sure!

Most days now I am at the centre for at least part of the day and Kenneth comes and goes - we both have many commitments outside the centre and are currently behind with just about everything! What is the answer? More personnel - paid staff or volunteers, we don't mind which! Of course, paid staff require money which we already don't have enough of, so we think long term self-funded volunteers are the answer!

So, if you're looking for a challenging job with no pay and no prospects but great job satisfaction, give us a call :)

Friday, 29 March 2013

English lessons

Ani and Irina are two of our volunteers, both from poor families themselves but keen to help others. It amazes me that people who have so little still want to give to others. Ani and Irina both would like to learn some English so I will hopefully be starting a wee class with them.

Wednesday, 27 March 2013

It's been a long Winter

It's still winter here in Arad, though usually by now we are enjoying pleasant warm sunny days, today as I look out of my window there is snow everywhere. For street children and other homeless or semi homeless people, of course Winter is by far the worst time of year. In Spring, Summer and Autumn, the weather is mainly dry, very hot in Summer and extremely pleasant in Spring and Autumn and here in Arad, on the western plains of Romania, winter is short, usually over by the beginning of March. We have also had more rain than average this winter and it is the rain even more than snow which makes life difficult for homeless people. Imagine you are living in a home made hut or a deserted railway waggon or a derelict building ... how do you dry your clothes if you get soaked in the rain? (Note the wee boy's shoes ... a good few sizes too big!)
 At the "Secret Garden" day centre we are as always busy, with many needy children, young people and families using our facilities.In the mornings we have on average between 20-30 people and in the afternoons around 12-20 street children and youth - both programmes finish with a simple but nourishing hot meal.
In recent weeks we have seen a number of new children appearing on the street of the city, coming in from villages around Arad where there are few or no jobs and out of desperation children come into town to beg until they make enough money to buy food for the family. The main problem with this is that children gradually get used to being on the streets and spend more and more time begging and hanging around and in time eventually make the move from "part time" to "full time" street child. We try to befriend such children, spending time with them and when we have established a measure of trust, encouraging them to come to the day centre. Prevention is so much better than cure, particularly in the case of street children - once they have become accustomed to life on the streets it is incredibly difficult to help them to be re-integrated into society.

Friday, 1 March 2013

Kenneth's heart surgery

Yet again,apologies for the ansence ... the only news which we have managed to get out in the past few months has been via facebook - Vis de Copil (A Child's Dream) due to unexpected illness on Kenneth's part.

Last summer we were travelling aroung the UK speaking about the work and visiting as many friends and family members as possible, but Kenneth was really not feeling up to it. He was constantly tired and lacking in energy and had been for quite a while.

To cut a long story short, as they say ... in mid September he returned to Scotland and ended up being admitted into hospital via A&E (ER) for urgent heart surgery!

A double coronarybypass and five months later Kenneth finally returned to Arad andis now trying to settle in and catch up with the accounting and various other tasks which none of us are able to do ...