Helping hands North norfolk: working in romania with young people and families

Romanian FamilyHelping Hands is designed to help the people of Romania as individuals and families, in support, education and advanced education. We work along side the Romanian people and as Romania changes so our work and support changes.

I am Malcolm and I first went to Romania with another group in 1990. We went to the eastern side of the country where I met up with poverty as I had never seen before. They seemed to be a frightened and starving people with little hope left in them. We worked in a blind school at Tirgu Frumos near the city of Iasi. We delivered food and clothing as well as doing repairs to the school.

In 1997 we set up our own charity and Helping Hands, North Norfolk was born. We were three people with one aim - to make a difference.

Our work was to be in western Romania, the same problems, but less travelling. We were to work with a Pentecostal pastor who would advise where help was particularly needed. We were to work in the city of Arad and in the village of Santana, a village with a population of about 16,000.

Our first big job was to feed hungry children. We helped to convert part of the small church room into a kitchen /feeding area with no idea whether the children would come to us. The first day 16 came and 30 the next. It would grow to about 100 mouths to feed daily. Some ate at the feeding centre and some took food home.

We needed somewhere larger and the mayor gave us a building that needed a lot of work, but eventually it was ready and capable of feeding 500 children. A small farm was set up so they could grow their own vegetables, pigs and chickens and they are now self sufficient.

Romanian ChildWe have been involved in many projects over the years and it has been good fun to work with them.

Now, we are involved with education. We are helping to keep open a school canteen by paying for four poor children to eat at school who cannot afford school meals and live too far away to walk home. They receive three meals a day. They walk to school and home in the afternoon, a 10 mile round trip. School is from 7.30am to 2.30pm.

We have just finished supporting Annie through her training as a senior medical practitioner. We are about to take on the support of a young lad who wants to study computers.

This is all possible through the generosity of people like you who support our work and on behalf of the Romanian people we would like to thank you.

Malcolm Cook