Eltera: Building Hope Brick by Brick

By Matthias Roos

“Kids’ Club” is what we call the educational support centers for village children. We have two Kids Clubs in Brasov and two in Buzau. The children receive a warm meal, help with their homework or they are taught how to read and write. We also organize activities that help them develop their skills through play. Through this programme, we try to substitute a family environment, where the parents are absent or neglecting their children.

Once the schools suspended their activities, we also had to stop our educational programmes. We visited the children at home, gave them reading books, hygiene products, medicine and food. The kids were not able to go out of their homes and many of their parents could not even provide food for them.

Even if the situation at home was hard before, the children could have a warm meal at the Kids Club.

For these families found at risk, we created an agriculture programme and we started to plant. We planted a vegetable garden, a field of potatoes and built a greenhouse.

The people that are part of the project did all the digging and the planting and are now watering the garden and keeping it free from weeds. They go to the garden every day. Every Tuesday they receive a bag of food, detergent and soap. On Fridays, we sit on the grass and talk about the week and make plans for the week to come. One of the most special things that we’ve done with our team is that we celebrated birthdays. And for every person that we have celebrated together, it has been their first cake, first candles, first chance to make a wish. Yes, poor people also have wishes.

There are two elderly ladies in our team. They raise their grandchildren alone. In their community, the grandmothers are mothers for all. They have lived in other circumstances and have gained a sense of responsibility; a sense that their children seem to lack. So, they have taken upon themselves the care for the entire family. Grandma Mihaela does the same. She has 36 grandchildren and great-grandchildren all together. She asked for a bigger pot so she can cook more food to have enough for everyone!

We spent the last four months working at her new house. Every morning her little ones would come and knock at the door: “Mama, do you have food?” And every single time, she takes them and feeds them and asks them if they would like some more as if she had enough. She never wants the children to know if she has ran out of anything. And when she has nothing to give them, she tells them she had no time to cook. She doesn’t want them to know they are poor.

I met grandma Mihaela five years ago. She, her husband and their three orphan grandchildren were all living in one small room. Seeing that their place is about to crash down on them, I knew they needed a new place. I sat on the new foundation without having any money to build a house and without knowing much about bricks. I released a challenge “Would you give 7 lei ($2) for a brick?”

I believe that every child from these poor communities needs a “brick” of hope.  And we can build a different future for them. For twenty of the small children close to grandma Mihaela’s house, we will organize a Day Camp. While we were working on the house, the small children, wanting to play, were crawling their way through the broken fence, “Miss Caty, can I also come?” That is when I thought we could put together a Day Camp for one week in July, outside, for these children ages 3 to 8.

A few days ago, I handed over the keys for the new house. I thought I was done and I could put my constructor’s helmet down. But instead, I discovered that there are so many more children with no hope: children that are lost in the darkness of poverty and need us to build a brighter future for them. If you received this report, you have certainly been a Ray of Hope that has joined our efforts. Thank you so much!

To get involved or to donate visit:

http://www.eltera.org/  email: mail@eltera.org

or go to the Facebook page: Asociatia Eltera

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