30 November 2016
- FARA Charity

Reflections on my First Trip to Romania

It was my first trip to Romania and nothing could have prepared me for the breath taking beauty and calm of the mountains and vast fields split into strips of planting like a striped jumper. Nestled into the bottom of a valley is Cacica a pretty town made up of wooden houses set in gardens full of apple trees. This was where we would be staying, we arrived in the dark but early the next morning I was woken by the sound of horses trotting up the road pulling the carts to the fields to harvest the maize.

This all sounds idyllic, but, the reality of a life lived hand to mouth on the land is a tough one. As we drove to visit the villages around the town Falticeni I noticed the factory chimneys are no longer smoking and the buildings are turning to rubble with broken windows and rusting containers sitting in empty yards. The industry had stopped when Communism left Romania and the people lost their jobs and security in this city too. Many people are struggling to find work and families are breaking down as parents travel further afield to find employment.

The FARA foundation has been helping families in the forgotten villages around the town over the last few years. Andreea is an extraordinarily committed project manager of the Tackling Poverty Through Education programmes, who came back early from her honeymoon to show myself and Raphe FARA’s Managing Director around. At Bahna Arini we arrived just as lunch was being delivered and the children were washing their hands and sitting up at their tidy desks waiting for their food. It is a tiny school crammed full of smiling children who seem happy to be there. On the walls are maps of the world and autumnal leaf pictures and on the cupboard there is a wonderful pig made from a cabbage. The children eat bowls of soup, sausages, polenta and green cabbage followed by a rosy red apple.

I spot Alexandra a little girl who has been on the project for almost a year and was found by Andreea in the street with her house key around her neck. She had been left to fend for herself while her grandmother and parents were away looking for work in the fields surrounding the village. I recognised the little girl from the photograph Andreea took when she found her and now she has a happy, healthy glow.

My trip to Romania really brought home to me how difficult life is for so many children and how a little care and attention gives a child the belief that they are worthy of a different life, a better life which can be achieved by getting an education and changing the cycle of poverty.

For myself and many living in the UK life can seem at times difficult with pressures of modern living piling up. But we usually have food on our tables, we have a benefits and support system to help those who need it. Sometimes I may have to tighten the belt to get to the end of the month, but it is not quite the same as trying to feed 5 mouths until the end of the month with the last few cabbages I harvested at the end of the summer.

FARA charity is A Family for those Without and following my visit to the projects run in Romania by dedicated, caring and loving staff, I can see how a family can be so much more than two parents and their children. A family is a system of care and kindness for all humanity without exclusion and FARA Romania is showing us how it can be done, and be a success. If you would like to be part of the FARA family and help the children in the villages then we would love you to become a child sponsor.

Follow the link to the Charity website and help grow our Family for those without:


Blog written by - Emma Johnson - FARA Charity Administrator

FARA Charity Shops supporting the work of FARA Charity transforming the lives of vulnerable and disadvantaged children and young people in Romania. FARA Enterprises Limited is wholly owned by the FARA Foundation. Registered Charity No. 1139349