A pleasant surprise!

Our animals have been busy during lock-down. Bobby the head dog likes to sit by his kennel surveying the land. He is an excellent guard dog – but very bored these days with no guests at the house. One of our cats took a shine to this vagabond with shaggy hair and short legs, and he responded by allowing her to spend much of her time sleeping on his back. Not long ago Tatieana realised that the cat had became pregnant, so took to giving her extra food. Aware that the kittens were due any day, Tatieana went in search of them to see how they fared but could not find them anywhere. Eventually they were discovered inside Bobby’s kennel, all snuggled up together with mama cat and Bobby. Bobby is now a very proud Dad…..

If you want to gift money for our animals (who were all rescued from harder times) please feel free to do so by our usual routes.

Keeping going…

keeping goingOur work in Romania has been severely curtailed during the lock-down. Due to the emergency we have had to put our staff on half pay. The regulations there have been much stricter than in the UK, denying us any access to our wonderful beneficiaries either in the institutions or in the community. We miss them and our work.

With time on our hands the best thing to do was to grow as much food as possible in our large field at the back of Podriga House. We always grow as much as we can to eat and in normal times some of the beneficiaries love to help. Viorel has been working hard on this, initially with the ploughing and sowing and now the weeding and watering. He has also grown more food than usual on his own land to put towards the project’s needs when our work reopens. Tatieana has been able to help out in recent days as police permission is no longer required to walk to the House. She’s seen here weeding the onions. Viorel has also used the time to catch up on the maintenance of the buildings.

We do not know when the situation will change but hope for the best. It may be that we will be in a position to make up and distribute food bags at some point, depending on how well the harvest goes.

At this time Alison does not know when she can return to Romania safely, nor when we can start our work again. We will keep you posted…..

Fun For All

In contrast to our medical programmes a highlight of the year was our own Olympics. The original plan was hatched by the directors of two of our institutions, Ionaseni and Dersca. Later Alison and Linda joined in the scheme. A unique day was to be arranged centring on a volley-ball match in the grounds of Dersca followed by a Bar-B-Q for sixty folks from institutions and elsewhere, with live music and generally fun for all.

We were greeted by a lady resident in traditional costume carrying bread and salt to give to all as a sign of welcome.  The court was measured, the nets set up and staff took on new roles in the managing of the events. The two teams were kitted out in sports gear, the weather was perfect, and some officials came from Social Services. It was magic and something that we never thought we would see even after all these years in Romania.

During the match, the volley ball got stuck up a tree. Out came staff with a ladder to rescue it and the game proceeded without further problems! Prizes were granted for all and everyone took turns to stand on the podiums (made from tree trunks) to receive them. I supported Dersca and LInda supported Ionaseni. We were presented with bouquets of flowers and thanks for our work in providing some transport. Larisa,  one of Agents of Change’s staff, who is blind, gave a concert of live music, and another staff member Viorel  joined in with recorded sessions.

It was indeed a “champagne day” filled with emotion and happiness. We hope to repeat it annually if our supporters can provide the funds for doing so. The picture shows Alison and Niculai at the event. Niculai has been known to us for thirty years, being brought up in Ionaseni. He doesn’t speak much but he sees us as his only family….. and we will continue to be so for as long as we can.

Clear-eyed support

our eye clinit

For 25 years we have been active in eye health and care in Romania. We first provided equipment and then set up our own eye clinic with a Romanian eye surgeon. She is now fully independent and we use the clinic for all our beneficiaries needs. We also have an agreement with Boots the Chemist in the UK for the re-use of donated glasses. We have supported hundreds of folk of all ages to get their eyes tested as in their locked-in institutions they have no access to any assessments at all.  Spectacles and other support are then available to them without payment. We are currently involved in arranging eye tests for school children with other known disabilities, who otherwise would not have access to such tests.

Early in 2019 we were donated in the UK two slit lamps to use in an eye hospital in Romania. An essential part of this was shipping these and other complicated equipment (by land) to key hospitals so they could carry out their work in improved conditions.

Our volunteer, Zeb, managed to dismantle both lamps which looked the same but we could not be sure. Every piece had to be labelled and packed individually. Nearing completion a wheel and the metal foot of one of them broke off in our hands. What to do? These pieces of equipment are very expensive and being an old model we did not think we could get a replacement. Zeb was determined and researched the web for parts. She found the company, Haag Streit UK, and we went to visit them.  Extraordinarily they were on the same road as the haulage company who ship all our supplies to Romania. They said give them a couple of days and they would search for us. Giles there found exactly what was needed. A miracle indeed! Here is a photograph of the equipment in use.      

We have also been assisted for many years by the charity Ophthalmic Aid for Eastern Europe (OAEE) and they continue to provide us with advice, equipment, and financial support. We thank them.

 Resolving their eye problems enables our beneficiaries to join in more fully with other programmes.  Additional funding would enable us to offer eye tests and treatment to many more people, so please consider donating for work which makes a significant difference to the lives of individuals.

Our 2018 Newsletter

marioara and son

Our plans for the future:

  • To maintain the work in Romania at a greater depth to ensure the permanent enablement of all the beneficiaries.
  • To fight for and access funds through formal governmental channels for this essential work.
  • To fight for and access funds through private sponsors and trusts for the continuation of this work.
  • To continue the building programme at Podriga being for a new store, garage and workshops.
  • To gain more volunteers for our London based central operations e.g. for administration, book- keeping, packers of goods for overseas, shop and stall staff.

Our latest newsletter is available here.
Our 2018 leaflet – Front Page
Our 2018 leaflet – Back Page