RAP-per's delight

First steps to a new life

“I’ve found inner peace” were the heartfelt words of Aurel, one of the young people given the opportunity for a new life away from the hospital institution in Bucharest where he has lived in ward/dormitory accommodation for most of his young life.

Along with Florin, Razvan and Virgil, Aurel is one of the first group of four young people to move into supported accommodation in Bucharest as part of the Dumfries-based RAP Foundations ‘First Steps to Independence’ project.

The RAP Foundation has been working for many years on a whole range of projects designed to advance education and relieve suffering and distress for children and young people in Romania.

The First Steps project is the culmination of several years in the planning, working with the Romanian Government, Bucharest local authority and with colleagues in RAA (Romanian Angel Appeal).

RAP Foundation members Linda Barr and John Glover travelled to Bucharest recently to participate in the official opening of the RAP Foundation’s first supported accommodation apartment.

Foundation Chairman John Glover said “This project has been a long standing objective for the RAP Foundation – to provide opportunities for young people to move from the long term institutionalised environment of the hospital into a supported facility, which enables them to develop life skills, gain self esteem and a measure of quality independence and to have as normal a lifestyle as possible”.

Expenses

“RAP has funded the appointment of staff to support the project, paid for the purchase, and complete refurbishment, of the flat and is providing living expenses for the boys. A key element of the project has been to secure the agreement of the social services department in the city to continue the funding after the first year, thereby creating a sustained programme for the benefit of these youngsters. The project is being regarded, as Romania develops services through its involvement with the European Union, as a model of future care and we are delighted and proud that that our Dumfries organisation has been in the forefront of this.”

”Of course, without the driving force, dedication and enthusiasm of my colleague Linda Barr this would not have happened. She has been an inspiration, not only to those of us privileged to be part of RAP, but also to the many children who have benefited from the wide range of activities she has facilitated over the past 17 tears.”

Positive

Linda said “It was great to see how well the boys are settling in to their new surroundings and to hear directly from them how they feel about the positive change in their lives. It was an emotional moment as each of them stood up in turn after all the official speech making and simply spoke from their hearts about their hopes and wishes for the future and how at home they felt in their own accommodation.”

“It was a moment like that the RAP Foundation has been working towards all these years and, as a charity, we are grateful for the many organisations and individuals in Dumfries and Galloway and in Bucharest who have helped us realise our dream, who continue to take the children of Romania to their hearts and continue to support us. This is only one element however of our activities and already we are planning this year’s Black Sea holiday for around 30 youngsters from the hospitals and other institutions in Bucharest.”

“The funds to support the holiday this year came from the highly successful ‘Dumfries Charity Dance Fever’ organised by Mike and Patsy Pattie from which benefited greatly”

 

Dumfries Courier – 17 August 2007