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.)
Globe Aware partners volunteer vactioners with local organizations that are working to help underprivileged Romanians fight against poverty and injustice. They target children, and at-risk families to help with a variety of initiatives.
During your volunteer vacation week, you may work on a variety of projects including building a Social and Educational Center (future home for 10 homeless families and future seat for an after school program for the underprivileged children of the community), helping improve the living conditions of the local Roma community, or helping to implement environmentally friendly attitudes towards the local community and its surroundings. As part of this "Green Project", volunteers will help clean the village, the rivers, and the forest. They will plant trees and flowers, encourage the separate collection of waste and, try to get the villagers attention and collaboration to support all these actions.
Special program dates are denoted under "dates and costs" to attract volunteers with a particular passion for a specific project. Yet overall, projects will fall within the description above, with specifics varying depending on the number of volunteers, which projects were finished with the prior group, what priorities have changed, weather conditions, which supplies are available, and often the interest and fitness level of the volunteers.
Globe Aware volunteer vacations to Romania - SIGNUP NOW!
Food and Lodging
- A nice 2 stored villa, situated near the old center of Brasov, offering: 5 bedrooms, 2 bathrooms (men/women), a living room, a kitchen, a cooking area and a terrace. Cable TV and internet connection is available in each room and there is a washing machine at your disposal. View photos.
- A newly built bed and breakfast, situated 15 min. from Brasov, in the small town of Rasnov, offering: 5 bedrooms with bathroom and cable TV, a living room, a kitchen, 2 terraces and a garden. Internet connection and a washing machine are available.)
Meals will be taken with the group either at the location where you are accommodated or out in town. 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.
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.