Friday, 23 October 2015

The Secret Garden continues to flourish

 I (Kathryn) was allowed back to Romania for all of June and July and it was wonderful to see the daily activities at the Secret Garden continuing and children learning and playing.
 My niece, Rebecca joined the team for 6 months in March and has been a huge asset to the work

A Dream comes true for Maria

Maria has been coming to the Secret Garden for a few years. Due to severe physical disability and extreme poverty she has an incredible difficult life but she always amazes us by her positive attitude to life. All of us who know Maria are constantly challenged by her cheerfulness in the face of great adversity, her thankfulness for what she does have and her refusal to be negative. Every time we see Maria she thanks us profusely for the little we are able to do to help her and she thanks God for his blessings. At times like this, words fail. 

We had a visit from two new Irish supporters in July and one of them, Kevin met Maria while on th way to the market with Philip. Like us, Kevin was moved by her situation and impressed by her positive attitude. He asked Maria what her dream was and she she had dreamed and prayed for many years for an electric scooter.

 When Kevin returned to Ireland he posted photos of Maria on his charity's Facebook page "The Jacket off your back", appealing for an electric scooter for Maria.

 Fiona Kelly from "Road of Hope" Ireland shared Kevin's post and her good friend Frank Niesink from "Shoebox 4 Ro" in Holland saw the post and offered an electric scooter! Two days ago, Frank Neisink and Andre Nibbelink arrived at the Secret Garden with the scooter. 

 Maria was so excited she had not been able to sleep after Philip called her to tell her the good news. Frank and Andre showed her how to use the scooter and she was so excited she could hardly contain herself. It's not often that we are able to make a lifelong dream come true, but this was one of those rare occasions. Words are never enough to explain the joy we all feel for Maria. We can hardly believe how it was it all worked out for Maria to have her dream come true and we are so thankful to all involved!

Extreme poverty

There are days when I wonder if I can go on - so much sadness, day after day, so much suffering. Every day I hear stories that make me want to weep ... many times I have to turn away or go to another room to cry. 

For 'normal' people in the West it's hard to conceive of the level of poverty at which the poorest of the poor here live - to never have money for food and other essentials in a society where all your basic needs must be bought with hard cash is hard for us to comprehend. Mothers tell us sometimes of their children crying in the night with hunger and often when they do manage to feed their children it is with food with very little nutritional value. 

I feel guilty most of the time, knowing that I go home at night to a proper house, more than enough clothes, a warm bed and an evening meal. People tell me that I must look after myself so that I can carry on with the work and I can see the sense in that ... but it doesn't help. We live in a greedy selfish world where those who already 'have' just want more and more and it's always at the expense of those who 'have not'. 

Poverty isn't just a "natural" phenomenon, it's a human made one. Years ago in conversation about this issue a friend reminded me of an old "Star Trek" episode, the original "Star Trek" many years ago ... in this episode Captain Kirk and co are on some other planet and make the observation that there are no poor people. Their host informs them that on his planet they abolished poverty centuries ago. It's only a TV programme but it makes the point - poverty could be abolished on our planet if there was a political will to do so. 

Thursday, 1 October 2015

Back to school project

For the past few weeks we have focused on trying to find school materials for children returning to school. School is free here but families have to buy the jotters / notebooks, pens, pencils, coloured pencils, scissors and other materials. Our families cannot afford it so we try to help to make sure their children go to school. Also lack of adequate clothing and footwear can prevent children from attending school.

It's vital that these children attend school and get an education of they are to have a chance of a better future.

We have been appealing for children's clothes and shoes and all kinds of school materials, jotters /notebooks, pens coloring pencils, coloured paper, glue, scissors, old school bags and pencil cases and much more!