Volunteer Vacations - Redeeming Romania
Romania is currently redeeming its rich heritage following the collapse of an oppressive dictatorship. This charming country embodies the European spirit of past, present, and future. Picturesque castles and quaint farming villages contrast with cosmopolitan cities and ski resorts as the country strives to develop its economy after the fall of communism and its recent admission to the European Union. The Transylvania region in central Romania is home to many treasures, among them the idyllic town of Brasov, where our program is located. This quaint town is only 160 kilometers from the capital of Bucharest and exemplifies the fairy-tale medieval architecture and cobblestone streets of a traditional Eastern European town.
Volunteer work will be centered in a village on the outskirts of Brasov, but there will be ample time to explore the town center as well as the countryside. Despite the fact that Romania's free market has enabled economic growth and development for its people there are still many socially disadvantaged people; large families who are struggling in severe poverty; children who are taken away from their parents and are put away in foster care, many times only due to the very poor living conditions they are offered; a marginalized and discriminated against ethnic minority: the Roma population (also known as "Gypsies"); a large number of illiterate people and numerous children whose families cannot afford sending them to school based on financial reasons; an acute need of social and environmental education, both in the cities and in the countryside.)
Education Center Construction: The purpose of the center is based on providing education to children, teens and young adults from the surrounding impoverished areas. The intended recipients are those who show high potential and interest in learning in the areas of math, languages, sciences, arts, music and sports. The center will provide supplementary, complementary, and extracurricular education opportunities, as well as personal development courses and recreational activities.
The center has been a work in progress since 2010. The foundation has been poured, the wooden frames have been installed, and we are now working on putting up walls and finishing outside insulation. You may work in finishing work on exterior and interior walls, inside and outside insulation, and finishing work - floors, stoneware tiles, sandstone, doors, windows, electrical, heating and plumbing.
The very long term purpose of this educational endeavor is to create professionals and leaders for these communities, identifying them from the 1st grade and assisting them through primary and secondary school, high school and College to help them fully develop their potential. Thus, they can have the vision/initiative/knowledge/power to change the severe poverty and improve the living conditions in their communities. It is creating a network of people willing, aware and able to change things at all levels in these communities, from the inside out.
English Project: Teaching English to underprivileged children and providing the opportunity to practice with native speakers is invaluable. The possibilities of a better job in the future is much better when proficient in the English language. Classes are fun and may consist of such things as playing games and teaching songs in English.
Green Project: Public awareness regarding mistreatment of the environment is still low both in urban and rural areas of Romania, mostly because of a lack of education in this field. You will work on a variety of activities to promote an eco-friendly attitude, including protection and periodical cleaning of the environment as well as tree planting and environmental education programs like selective waste collection. This program is a collaborative effort between our organization and the village.
Globe Aware volunteer vacations to Romania - SIGNUP NOW!
Food and Lodging
Volunteers will be staying in a lovely and newly built bed & breakfast in Râşnov, a small town 15 minutes away from Braşov and 15 minutes from Bran. It has bathrooms with warm running water, toilets, cable TV, two terraces and a beautiful garden View photos..
Breakfast and dinners will be served at the B&B and lunch will be on location in Hăghig (at the work site), or in a restaurant for the routing days. Meals will include delicious and plentiful local selections. Typical Romanian food includes mamaliga, a cornmeal dish that may be boiled, fried or baked. Different varieties of soups and other meat and vegetable dishes abound. Wine is also a staple beverage, and regional varieties are plentiful. There are a multitude of cafés and stores in Braşov where you may purchase additional snacks, coffee, etc in your free time.
Leisure and Activities
Free time may be used to explore Brasov's historic town center. Sights include two watchtowers, which protected the walled medieval center, the History Museum right in the heart of the Townhall Square, the Romanian Art Museum, and the famous Black Church. A cable car carries visitors to a stunning view of the Brasov center from atop a small plateau. There are a number of medieval fortresses and churches in the surrounding area. The most famous of these is Bran Castle (more commonly known as Dracula's castle), only 30 kilometers south of Brasov, as well as Rasnov, a quaint citadel.
In the vicinities of Brasov you'll also find the Royal Summer Residence - Peles Castle - in Sinaia, an enchanting small mountain settlement and ski resort. Also, depending on the length of your stay and on your preferences, you can experience a bath in the thermal waters near Brasov, trekking in the forest/mountains, or a Romanian ball.
Arranging Your Airfare
Volunteers should arrange to be picked up from our meet-up point in central Bucharest at 11 am on the Saturday that your program begins. The program ends at 11 am the following Saturday, so try not to book a flight that leaves earlier than 3 on the final Saturday of the program however, if your flight requires it, you can be driven back to Bucharest very early on Saturday morning or later in the afternoon.
Safety and Security
Romania is politically stable and suffers from petty street crime similar to other major cities. Using common sense and not carrying large sums of money, passports, and bank cards in an easily accessible area should help deter thieves.