Please come and visit our website: www.romania.amurtel.net recently updated with photos and news.
In olden times, the year began with the first of March and the coming of springtime. It is still celebrated in Romania and people give little presents and flowers to each other, decorated with intertwined red and white threads. AMURTEL Romania wishes you a happy springtime as the of planting new seeds begins! Here are updates from our projects:
The Fountain of Hope After School Center:
The Fountain of Hope continues to serve 30 children with a daily hot meal and homework help in the village of Panatau, for its second school year. The children were delighted this Christmas to receive gifts sent from the parents in the Bucharest schools. In addition, Dada Rasatmakananda dressed as Santa Claus and visited a few of them in their homes on Christmas day, bringing presents and magic.
Didi A. Cetana, during her recent stay in Panatau, has focused in particular on developing a program for awakening a love of learning in the Fountain of Hope children, experimenting with different ideas from NHE. Together with Cristina and the staff, they developed a “Mother’s Day” project over a 2 week period. The children were involved in planning the event, making invitation cards for their parents, making crafts and gifts, and creating a theater based on the “Giant Radish ” story. The children were delighted and very involved and enthusiastic.
We also had more discussions with the mayor, and at last we have reached an agreement to modify the original partnership contract with AMURTEL to specify more clearly their contribution to the salaries and costs of running Izvorul. We also received permission to experiment with a second hand store in one of the commune buildings and we will start this income-generation activity with a large donation of clothing received by the end of the month in order to begin to locally generate income for sustaining the project.
By a lot of Grace through the help of our sponsors, AMURTEL has been sustaining the costs of both salaries and food since April last year -1000 euros per month, but this is becoming increasingly difficult with the economic crisis. We are still in need of sponsorships to continue covering costs, and currently we have enough to cover costs only until May. Please write to firstname.lastname@example.org if you would like join our sponsors.
Familia AMURTEL Children’s Home:
Our children keeping growing – time passes quickly – we have 4 more of our young people that have reached 18 years old!
Elvira had her 18th birthday on September 12th, Ionuts on December 30 and Mircea had his 18th birthday on February 24th. He had a party on Saturday and went out to pizza and the disco in the evening with other young people from the home and friends. More recently, Priya turned 18 on March 8th and also had a special birthday celebration.
In December, the children performed their annual theater for village. This year the story was “The old man’s daughter and the old woman’s daughter” – as usual, in a very creative and unorthodox Pantau interpretation. The story was adapted in a creative way with anti-alcohol and smoking messages, and is quite amusing. I had some technical problem with the subtitles – but as soon as the video is on the web, I will send out an announcement.
Many of our young people from the children’s home are Roma, but they were uncomfortable with this identity and mostly in denial about it. However, since Diipani, who has a Roma heritage, has been working in AMURTEL as our project manager – she has provided a very positive role model, and shown them something beyond the stereotypes of Roma. Slowly but surely many of the young people have been embracing this part of their identity in a positive way. Catalin and Elvira performed a “Gypsy Dance” in the theater. It actually was completely unrelated to the plot, but they really wanted to perform it – to make Diipani proud of them. Timea and Catalin will be going together with Diipani to a Pakiv youth exchange in the beginning of April for 10 days.
A news from this autumn is that Mircea and Timea discovered that they have the same father and are brother and sister! We knew that they were relatives, but nobody had guessed that they were actually sister and brother until they went for a recent visit to see Mircea’s mother. So Mircea discovered he is 100% Roma, and Timea half/half.
Didi A. Cetana has also been spending time in the Pantatau home in the past weeks – bringing a creative flow of story telling, craft-making and games with the children.
Gradinitele Rasarit (Sunrise Kindergartens):
After a very long and difficult process, the kindergartens at last obtained authorization from the Ministry of Education. The authorization represents an exciting turning point for Neo-Humanist Education in Romania – and will allow us to gain more professional recognition for NHE and ability to share our approach with other educators in the field. Both kgs will obtain authorization, but the smaller one still needed more investments and modifications in order to meet new health inspection requirements, and will get the authorization after the completion of those changes in the summer.
We have a new website with news and pictures from our recent events in the kindergartens: www.rasarit.amurtel.net.
From the website, please come and see the videoclips from our Diversity Day programs – it was an opportunity to overcome the stereotypes and prejudices already forming in children, by giving them positive experiences of Roma culture, through stories and discussion to awaken empathy, and through dialogue with Diipani.
In Bucuresti Noi there was also a special program about Greece – the children dressed as mythological gods and goddesses and acted out the story of Prometheus. In Mihai Bravu, the multicultural program focused on Turkey – with stories about Aladdin performed for parents, making of baklava and dancing.
This is a project for transitioning our young people from the children’s home to autonomy, integrating them into Romanian society. Iosif is living in Bucharest in Dada’s apartment, but stayed for awhile on his own with a friend. He is working as a lucrator comercial for Sensi Blu.
Magdalena is our first young person to be fully integrated – she is working almost one year now in a steady job, and is paying rent in her own flat shared with some other young women. She came home to Pantau for a visit for the first time in a year, and the children were overjoyed to see her as they miss her very much. Flori has returned again to Panatau for more job training and guidance and is making progress.
AMURTEL was accepted within the Federation of NGOs for Child-protection (FONPC) and this has given us access to the broader support of a network, access to trainings, funding opportunities, and exchange experiences. Also AMURTEL organized a project development training to help prepare our staff for the transition to a new phase of working more in partnership with the government and accessing European structural funding.