Month: <span>April 2016</span>

22 Apr

A different week at school a great week at Nightingales

During this last week Romanian schools run a special programme of extra curricular activities instead of usual lessons. This week Nightingales has offered activities ranging from dance and games to cooking and arts and crafts. The activities were designed and run by a group of 8 of the girls at risk.

The girls spent the 2 weekends before this week devising a list of activities and getting eveything for the week. To be honest those of us supervising their sessions did not have faith that it would run smoothly, that they would be there on time or that sessions would captivate the children’s attention. How wrong could we of been?

school Nightingales

On Monday morning, having been told they should be there at 7.50, they were all there ready to go. The first group came and went, no problems all very smoothly. After 4 hours and over 120 children the girls were exhausted, so much so that one even feel asleep that afternoon at school. They did it, they ran engaging, fun and well run sessions all week. Children left saying it was the best time of their life. Teachers talked for hours about the value of what their children had just done. Mothers of pupils asked how they could engage more with the charity. None of this was down to the charity, the staff or the volunteers it was down to this group of 8 girls who showed that although they struggle in areas of life, they have such huge potential.

These girls have taught us a lesson this week, never underestimate anyone and we all have such great potential if only we have somewhere we can show it!

cooking and arts and crafts

19 Apr

Claudia: One tough cookie!!

Claudia was bought up in Cernavoda Orphanage, she was one of the brightest and smartest girls in salon 18. It must have been hard aged 4 seeing her friends and classmates move to another home in Mihail Kogalniceanu. But for Claudia this was the start of an amazing relationship with David Savage, a relationship which has lasted over 24 years and Claudia still keeps in contact with David and his family even though she is now living in Italy.

Claudia has suffered a huge amount in her life, this suffering has made her into the headstrong and determined young lady that she is today. The mother of a bright, intelligent child and a loving wife. Claudia’s friends will tell you that she is fiercely loyal, something that was developed in her as she was growing up, being let down by those around her and the people in whom she put her trust. She was an active and senior member of Casa Fericirii, the home run by Nightingales, always pushing boundaries, the first of the young people to go to High School, the first to pass their driving test, the first to move out and live independently.

Claudia has turned into a remarkable young lady, living and working now in Italy. She certainly has to thank David and others for helping her become the person she is today; but a large amount of the hard work was down to Claudia herself. Growing up without a mother, gave her the passion to be a great mum to her son, growing up in a communal living has made her independent, but also a loyal friend. Claudia has fought against a lot in her life, but she has turned into a fine young lady of whom we are all proud.

Claudia: One tough cookie!!

16 Apr

In case anyone asks, glue comes from Devon!

24 years ago a young man from Devon came for 3 months to work in an orphanage in Cernavoda, those three months changed his life and the life of those children more than anyone could imagine.

For the last 24 years Nightingales has cared for hundreds of children and young adults, provided often life changing volunteering opportunities for a large amount of people and employment for over 50 members of the local community, all this would not have happened if it had not been for one man, who has had the drive, ambition and the fight to make this possible, David Savage, MBE.

Yesterday David celebrated his 49th birthday, his last before he has spent more of his life in Romania than he has in England!! It is hard to put into words the effect that David has had on the lives of the young people who lived in Cernavoda orphanage and those families he, and Nightingales, have supported in the community. The majority of his work, will go unknown and unnoticed, (until we persuade him to write his autobiography), but the effect can be clearly seen in the lives of the young people today, lives that have been radically changed from 1992. Young children living with no hope, and little or no love waiting for the next of their friends to pass away; who today are active members of the communities they live in all across Europe. They are now mothers to children, hardworking employees and most importantly young people who live in the knowledge that they are living a better future, than they could have imagined back in 1992!

David will take none of the credit for what he and Nightingales have achieved, saying it was down to a group of people, or it could not have been done without certain people, which is true he had an amazing team of workers, helpers and employees during the 1990’s; people who are still actively supporting the charity today, but David is still here, with 24 years of experience and now the support of an amazing wife and 2 beautiful children, still helping these young people, he is definitely the glue that holds Nightingales together.

Happy Birthday, thank you from all the young people you have helped, thank you from all the volunteers who you have given amazing opportunities to and thank you for holding Nightingales together for the last 24 years!!

08 Apr

Football mentoring, what is it and how does it work?

Since 2012 Nightingales has been working with young men to help keep them in education, help them make positive life choices and help them not get caught up in trafficking young girls and women for a living.

The project started with 6 young men playing in a local futsal (6-a-side indoor football) league. These young men were having problems with drugs, school and finding a direction for their lives! Playing in a football team gave them a focus, a direction and also a reason not to take drugs or get drunk, as they were not allowed to play if they were high. We quickly realised that through training we had a platform where we could teach these young people how to make decision on the pitch and in life. Every training session is based around a skill we are trying to develop for the team on the pitch, and linked to a skill in life that can help them outside of football.

The more time that was spent with these young men the more we realised the positive influence the football programme was having on their lives. Their friends started coming too and by September 2014, we had over 80 young people attending our sessions, so we set up our own league. Today we have over 100 young people, we also have a female team, participating in our league. The emphasis is still the same, what can we teach these young men, through football, that will have a lasting impact on their lives. At their insistance the project was given the name ‘Academia Emaus’, translated to the ‘Emmaus Academy’.

From the original six players, one is attending university, four are in full time employment and one has just finished qualifying as a truck driver. Three of them have come through a qualification which has given them the skills to mentor others through football. As a team they may not have won any prizes, but in life they are all winners, making positive choices which effect them and those around them.

emaus-w800

05 Apr

Welcome to the Nightingales blog!

Nightingales is pleased to announce that as of today, 5th April 2016, you will be able to keep up to date with all that Nightingales is doing through this blog. It will be a place where you will get direct insight into the beneficiaries lives, the projects that we run and the programmes that happen at Nightingales throughout the year.

Weekly we will be posting, giving a more in depth view of the charity than we are able to communicate through social media and our website. We would appreciate your feedback regarding what you read here and what you would like to be reading.

We look forward to sharing with you all about the great work that continues to go on at Nightingales, and the plans we have for the future of the charity!!

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