ACTIONS: What actions have been undertaken by your organization to promote a culture of peace and nonviolence during the first half of the Decade?
The following is excerpted from the report of Soroptimist Interntional. Click here for their full report.
The Soroptimist Club of Bucharest was founded 1995. From the very beginning, it aimed at helping the disadvantaged people in Bucharest. This disadvantaged population, whose poverty increases daily, bears the entire financial burden of a country developing towards a functioning market-economy. Consequently access to education decreases, despite efforts towards improvement undertaken by the Romanian Government.
Our modest social projects, realized through whatever funds we managed to raise, have succeeded in returning hope to some extremely poor families. We have taken over certain administrative costs acquired by a number of families due to be evicted because of the debts accumulated. The club initiated a training course for young women seeking employment, founded an art-therapy class for children with minor mental disabilities, equipped two schools in poor neighborhoods in Bucharest with furniture.
We tried to rescue and socially integrate a number of homeless children, etc.
I should like to address this last project in more detail. The existence in Bucharest of a large number of homeless children coming from very poor problem families with alcoholic parents, is no secret. In daily increasing numbers, they reject this way of life in favor of the streets. These children are condemned to vagrancy and are undoubtedly the victims of drugs and prostitution.
We, therefore, decided to join the efforts of various other Bucharest NGOs, ( e.g. Save the Children Organization, Parada, etc.), which strive to rescue some of these children. Following the recommendation of Save The Children Organization, we assumed responsibility for two homeless children "families". This means two child couples, themselves the parents of 12 to 14 month old baby girls who are condemned right from birth to live in the city's sewage system, believing this way of life to be normal.
First of all, the "families" had the opportunity of talking to two club members (a psychologist and a legal expert). Apartments were rented for them, they were offered clothes, powdered milk and diapers, and a monthly food allowance. In the second phase they were found a place to work.
Unfortunately, shortly after we started to take care of them, on of the "families" disappeared from Bucharest. Homeless children have no identification papers, so the "family" remains untraceable.
The other couple, Florin and Felicia, proved to be responsive to our efforts as well as willing to change their social status, thus our support for the three children continued, After two years of assistance, the "family" let us know that they were able to support themselves : they moved to a smaller town, where life was cheaper than in Bucharest. At the same time, they asked us t take over other homeless children that were more in need of our assistance. We consider their social reintegration a success. At present we are taking care of the Lepadu orphans, which we support economically, educationally and morally. We intend to continue this project by supporting young girls or "families", also homeless, as soon as we have the necessary financial resources at our disposal
We have to underline the fact that this success would not have been possible without the support of the SI Club of Essen, Germany (Dr.Christiana Haude) and of some wonderful people such as Anne-Marie and Caspar Reinhart from Switzerland.