RO-MAN-AID has been working on development projects in Romania since 1992, following the overthrow of an oppressive regime which had ruined the country's health, education and social system as well as its infrastructure. We have been engaged in many short and long term projects over this time in health and social care, rural development and education.
RO-MAN AID first focussed on urgent health needs, providing hospitals and clinics with essential diagnostic equipment, however we soon realised that a different sort of support was also needed. Those involved in the health sector also needed up to date information as well as logistical help in order to make much needed improvement to the health and social care within the community. Since then we have concentrated our help in working together with Romanian experts and organisations, in order to provide disadvantaged Romanian people with what they need.
The first Multiple Sclerosis Day Centre in Romania
The creation of a Day Centre followed an urgent appeal to us from a recently formed Romanian organisation. Their members with MS, an incurable illness, had little or no means of social support to buy the basics of food, clothing and medical support. Many were disabled and confined within their small high rise flats. These people urgently needed both material help, the opportunity to meet other people and also to receive rehabilitation treatment. RO-MAN-AID, working with the MS organisation, renovated and equipped a building, provided disabled transport and paid the salaries of all the Day Centre staff for the first two years after it opened in 1995.
Following this, the local authorities and other groups were could see the benefits of the centre and gradually took over most of the running costs. Now RO-MAN-AID supports the salary of one of the staff members and gives other occasional material help. The Day Centre now provides a model of medical and social care throughout Romania
Recently, the local authority, with the help of a major EU grant, have been able to develop the resource by rebuilding, extending and re-equipping the Day Centre and so it now provides a modern facility open to people with other disabilities as well as with multiple sclerosis.
Adopt-a Family Scheme
This is another long term project also set up in the early 1990’s, initially to link families or groups in the Isle of Man directly with disadvantaged families in Romania who needed urgent support . The scheme was first devised to help families where there was a person with multiple sclerosis and, as a consequence, the family as a whole needed extra financial support in some way. RO-MAN-AID provided the necessary administration at no cost to the donor group, so that everything sent for the family in need was spent on essentials for them. Whenever possible, direct communication was made between the donor and receiving family.
This scheme has recently been extended to include other families who live in abject poverty in Romania.
National Multiple Sclerosis Society and other Health NGOs
Shortly after starting work on the Multiple Sclerosis Day Centre, RO-MAN-AID was asked to help with the setting up and running a newly reformed National Society. RO-MAN-AID visited and advised groups of people wishing to form or develop their MS societies in other parts of Romania. Following this, they helped to form a national office and communications centre, training members of the different groups in Romania about how to use IT equipment for communication persons and providing six groups with their own equipment. Throughout this time RO-MAN-AID provided all the running costs for the new National organisation. In 2000, having devised a ten year strategy for the development of the National MS Society, together with funding from International Multiple Sclerosis organisations, the Isle of Man Government and several charities, RO-MAN-AID equipped a national office and employed three staff members in order to enable the national society to become an independent and self-funding society. Today they are a totally independent organisation.
During this time other health organisations were developing and so RO-MAN-AID also agreed to organise a capacity building workshop for them.
The first priority for RO-MAN-AID in 2002, following a request from the local region of Girișu de Cris, was to organise and project manage the King William's College project to provide a community hall for the village and its school. This much valued and used facility for recently the tenth anniversary of its opening in 2013. The photo shows part of the celebrations - the tables and benches shown were made by King William's College students.
Other projects soon followed; helping to provide drinking water for the village and public toilets, providing hygienic facilities for schools in two villages, and working with Romanian volunteers to build a small park on what was a waste dump in the centre of the village.
A major project was the creation for the first modern equipped rural fire service, together with training Romanian volunteer fire-fighters and a community safety programme. This rural service is still operating efficiently, as can been seen from the video made in 2013:
Girișu de Cris Rural Fire Service,
CLICK on the engine to see the giris fire service in action
Shortly after the turn of the century, RO-MAN-AID began to focus on educational projects as well as continuing their work in the health sector and in rural development. Many different projects have been undertaken; the major ones are listed below:
Choir exchange between a Romanian student choir and students from King William’s College, Isle of Man
Providing equipment and undertaking renovations for a rural school and 2 kindergartens
Provision of indoor hygienic facilities for a school and kindergartens
Group projects in art
Drama, theatrical performances and concerts in several schools including film making and participation in International Festival where children from 4 rural schools combined with pupils from King William’s College, Isle of Man to perform in the County’s State Theatre.
Fire safety awareness for pupils in schools
First aid training for teachers
Nurture methodology training and workshops for teachers
Workshop in project work for teachers
Helping with school projects such as an EU flag day and creating a community newspaper
Educational excursions such as visits to a city and a zoo
Week long educational summer camp for children from 5 schools in different counties and with different ethnic backgrounds
Providing an inclusive after-school program which not only helped with school work but provided opportunities for children of different ethnicities and abilities to work together on projects.
Training, workshops and presentations are being provided, following detailed research into the education of Roma children in Romania and elsewhere. This emphasises not only the importance of integrating all children in their local school, but on ensuring educational and social inclusion.
Voluntary help was provided for children with difficulties working within a school environment began in 2008. This was prior to detailed research into this important educational aspect and the consequent setting up of our major educational project for Roma and other disadvantaged children in 2011. Details of this major project can be found on the home page and by following its links.