Supporting Neglected & Disadvantaged Children in Romania

 

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I crossed the border into Romania while the weather was really very hot and I was happy and thankful that I arrived safely and could enjoy this beautiful landscape during my journey.

First I met our team in Suceava, a city in the northeast of Romania and we visited our families there. It was very nice to see the progress the children have made and how happy everyone is to be looked after by Open Hands. We talked, played, did crafts and laughed a lot and the children had much fun - blowing bubbles which are still their favourite!
Then I drove on to Gheorgheni and started my 3 weeks at the Rainbow House. There we had team meetings almost every morning, read the bible, prayed together, and planned the day. I went together with our employee Olga to offices, doctors, hospitals and schools to manage different things. During this time we had very good conversations with official people and I learned that the work of Open Hands is very much appreciated within the community.

Sorry, it takes until the page opens, as the gallery contains a lot of photos!

 

For the parents I organized different workshops:

  • Infants: How to care for and how to help them to thrive?
               Two babies had a bath in the Rainbow House and the parents took home a care package.
  • Healthy development of children and what parents can do: physically, mentally and spiritually > a big task for us parents!
  • Contraception
  • Collaboration with Open Hands - responsibility as a parent

 

I discussed the following topics with the children in different groups:

  • "You are wonderfully made, you are a child of a King" (age-appropriate also about forgiveness and
      the cross): crowns were made, wood crosses with a soldering iron were decorated or painted
  • "Seed and Harvest": The Word of God is sown in our hearts, like seeds in the ground. In the
      beginning you can see nothing, but with proper care, it sprouts up, grows and can be harvested.
      For this purpose, we have painted clay pots and put seeds in, also freed the garden of the Rainbow
      House from stones - after preparation by some parents - and planted and sowed vegetables.
  • “Good bye - party for the children: eating and playing in the Rainbow House garden
      I told them that I am very proud of them, that they are wonderful children and that we all will
      support them to have a better life. This will be possible if they will go to kindergarten and school
      every day and visit the Rainbow House where they can learn a lot.

 

My focus in everything were two verses from the bible:

1. "Love God and your neighbor as you love yourself." That shows how we are able to love other
     people and also how to raise up children responsibly.
2. "I thank you for making me wonderful; wonderful are your works ...." That's why we can learn to
     accept ourselves, and the others.

I had the opportunity to convey to parents and children in very different ways that Jesus loves them all infinitely and they are wonderfully made, despite all the rejection, misery and exclusion that they experience daily. I brought small hand mirrors and many of them looked at themselves in a mirror for the first time. For them it was difficult to discover and name something good about themselves. Still, they enjoyed, with some embarrassment the good things others said about them. After this, we prayed together and some of the children and mothers were touched deeply by the love of Jesus.

One family I visited more often and together we began to clean the house and the garden, to do the laundry ... They cultivated potatoes and planted flowers in their garden. We have talked a lot about parenting and responsibility (love, acceptance, forgiveness) and how important it is for them to take the children to kindergarten and school on a regular basis. During my time there, they did a pretty good job and we'll see how it works in the long term.

During our home visits, we also visited the families in the ghetto and brought regular purchases. To see how people and especially the children live here always shocks me anew. In this environment, a healthy development is hardly possible - good that at least some children regularly come to the Rainbow House and get to know another life. There is still a lot to do here!

Here we also had contact with a family with several children, whose mother died of tuberculosis a few months ago. The eldest daughter is now responsible for everyone. They live temporarily without support from the Social Welfare Office. They had to fill in new applications that have to be approved first, which can take up to three or four months. The misery was so indescribable that we also bought food for this family. We are overjoyed that we already found a sponsor who makes it possible to support this family for these 4 months – THANK YOU SO MUCH!!!

I had many other encounters and situations I could write about, but my report is already much longer than planned. If you still have specific questions, feel free to contact me.

 

Summary                                                                                                                                                                                                       With a laughing and a crying eye - so we say in German - I drove home, 2000 km by car: long enough to think through a lot of my experiences, start processing and arriving back in another world. I was very much looking forward to the people at home, family and friends, but the work in the team directly with the children and parents is very valuable; the people are very valuable. It was very hard for me to just leave them again. The time with them was not always easy, but it has united us. It was very encouraging to see how well the children in particular have developed over the last few years, how their and their parents' trust in Open Hands is growing and giving them new hope for a better future.

I know that the local team is doing its very best and that our support from abroad is extremely important.

At this point also a big thank you to all faithful supporters of Open Hands: You are important pillars of this work! Together we can continue to change a lot.

Have wonderful & relaxing summer holidays!
Love and blessings,

Andrea

Registered Charity Number 1136482

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Rosevine
Wellgreen Lane
Kingston/ Lewes
East Sussex ¦ BN7 3NS

phone: (0044) 7949766147

German Office

Open Hands
Andrea van Hoven
Hagener Str. 29
49377 Vechta

phone: +49 4441 9518875

Romanian Office

Suceava City
Zamca district ¦ No 5 Octav Bancila Street
29th block ¦ Staircase A ¦ Flat no.: 2
Romania

No.: 0040 740 239 964

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