Romanian project takes giant steps

A Dumfries-based charity, which helps Romanian orphans, has enjoyed a “momentous” year and it was capped by a visit last week to Dumfries by a representative from the RAP (Romanian Appeal) Foundation project in Bucharest and from its project partner, the Romanian Angel Appeal (RAA). Dumfries RAP Foundation Chairman John Glover said “It has been a momentous year for Dumfries-based RAP and there have been several notable events.”

In July 2007, the charity was able to take four young men out of hospital institutions and moved them to their own supported flat in Bucharest under the Foundation’s ‘First Steps to Independence’ project and it is now looking to take on another flat.

In addition, the orphanage it supports enjoyed a visit by a dental hygienist, Penny Amos, who taught youngsters and staff the value of good teeth brushing and dental care.

30 children from the Bucharest orphanage and other institutions have also enjoyed a holiday to the Black Sea raised by the ‘Strictly Dance Fever’ event in Dumfries.

Mr Glover said the RAP annual general meeting held in the Queen’s Hotel, Lockerbie, recently acknowledged the tremendous support from the local community which has “enabled so much to be achieved by such a small, but dedicated, group.” He said “RAP’s work continues unabated, we are actively exploring the potential for purchasing and furnishing a second flat. We’ve had contact from a major charity operating in Romania who has been impressed with our project, and project management, in Bucharest. They have significant funds available and if they feel our work fits with their philosophy we are confident we may be able to make major progress in helping youngsters make their way out of institutional care and into proper lifestyles.” He added “We are engaging with local schools in Dumfries and Galloway, notably Langholm Academy and Maxwelltown High School, at the moment to explore how the students there might get involved as part of school project work, learning experience, fundraising, or activities such as the Duke of Edinburgh scheme.

Mr Glover further said “All our money raised locally goes towards our activities with RAP members all volunteers. What is clear is that without the fantastic support of the local people we could not operate as effectively. We continue to be grateful to everyone who takes the plight of these young people in Romania into their hearts and, by helping us today, help them to have a tomorrow!”

On the fact-finding visit to Dumfries, Julia Copil, Project Co-ordinator with the RAP’s project partner the Romanian Angel Appeal, and RAP’s Liaison Officer and Co-ordinator in Bucharest, Vali Ion, were taken to see the acute inpatient facilities at the Crichton Royal. They also met a wide range of local organisations who offered an insight into their activities and how they link into statutory, NHS and local authority provision. Julia said “This was a very valuable experience for us because it increases our working knowledge and helps us to develop and apply similar arrangements and principles whenever possible back in Romania. As Co-ordinator for RAP’s supported accommodation project, which opened this year, I was particularly in matters relating to rehabilitation into the community, development of life skills and funding support opportunities.”

 

Dumfries & Galloway Standard – 14 November 2007