Month: <span>May 2016</span>

28 May

A quick day trip round Romania

Once a month the young people from Nightingales are invited on a day out to Bucharest by a lady who runs a charity there. She prepares monthly trips for young people and children from various institutions and hospitals from the Bucharest region. Thursday 19th May was supposed to be another trip just like every month. Martha, the lady from Bucharest told us that we would be visiting 4 monasteries just outside of Bucharest and that we would have to be at the meeting place, McDonald’s at 8.00am rather than 8.30am.

The start time from Cernavoda was 6am, the sky was bright and it looked like it was going to be a beautiful day. We loaded into the mini-bus still a little sleepy ready to head off for a fun day!!! Little did we realise that this ‘fun day’ would take in a round trip of Romania and we would return to Cernavoda over 15 hours later!!

The first stop after McDonald’s was Targoviste, a beautiful town to the north west of Bucharest. The sun was shining and the grass around a local monastery was a true green colour. The young people loved walking around the grounds, chasing the odd cat and lying back relaxing on the grass. We were soon off to the next monastery, situated on a hill outside Targoviste, with amazing views over the town. It was after 1pm after we left here and the young people were a little hungry and tired and looked ready to go home!

Luckily it was also Turkian’s birthday and she bought everyone some crisps and juice to keep the spirits up until lunch time. The next monastery we had hoped was on the way back home, but this was wishful thinking!!! The GPS pointed us in the direction of the next place, over in the county of Arges!!

We arrived in Arges as the rain started to fall, and the young people’s stomachs were rumbling!!! The first monastery in Arges was also the lunch stop!! For us this was the last monastery. The young people ate as quickly as possible and we were in the van ready for a long drive home!! Almost five hours later we made it!!

Now to the outsider this might not seem like a fun day, but it was great, the young people were happy to chat, talk about summer plans and look back on the good times we have had together over the last few years. Adriana obviously did a lot of bus dancing!! Elena enjoyed some coca-cola, Baba was giving the driver constant instructions of where to go and the girls from the apartment were on really good form!! Often the best times are the most unexpected ones, exactly like our trip around Romania!!!

A quick day trip round Romania

27 May

The unsung heros of Nightingales

Nightingales like most charities relies on people to donate and fund raise, to be able to offer the opportunities for the beneficiaries of the charity. Without the drive and vision of David Savage we would not be where we are now, but there are a few unsung heroes who do all the groundwork, who daily are there with the young people and children we are working with, our staff and volunteers.

One of the positives about Nightingales is the staff we have, and have had, have always been dedicated to the Nightingales cause, the three paid staff we have currently working for the charity, have a combined total of 60 years working for Nightingales, this is a wealth of experience, and time spent with our young people. This allows them to offer the care these young people need. The staff we have had in the past have also shown their dedication and love for the young people, coming back to visit them, asking about them and we are sure thinking about them often.

The paid staff are not the only ones who have dedicated years of their lives for the young people here, it goes without saying David and his family have been involved with these young people for 24 years, next year it will be 25!!! In those 24 years there have been a whole host of volunteers who have given up time, jobs, holiday and money to come and spend time with these young people. Earlier this month Kerry Davies and Linda Davies came out to visit the young people, after a 13 year gap!! The young people loved seeing them both again, and we hope that there will be more volunteers who return on a more regular basis to visit these now young adults.

There are many people that Nightingales cannot run without, and often the staff and volunteers get forgotten behind those running marathons, raising money and running the charity, but the lives of our young people have been and will be changed by the dedication of the staff and volunteers that have invested so much time and love into these young people. Thank you all of you for your hard work.

The unsung heros of Nightingales

06 May

Sara’s Story

 

Elena's Story

 

Sara*, is one of our young ladies from the girls at risk programme, we have asked her to talk about her life growing up in Cernavoda, what choices her friends made and how she has been supported by Nightingales Children’s Project to choose a different future.

“When I was a young girl, I enjoyed playing with dolls all day long. After Daniel, my brother, was born, I had to look after him as my parents had to work. I was like a second mother to him, until class ten when my parents realised that I needed to spend time with my friends without Daniel. Looking back now having Daniel with me when I went out with my friends, helped me to make positive life choices, and because I was worried about what Daniel would tell my parents if I did some of the things my friends were doing.
When I was young my parents were very strict with me, and many times I wanted to run away from home, because I felt they did not understand me. Once aged 7, I was at home with Daniel and my father. Daniel was not feeling very well and I accidently knocked over his medicine. My father was so angry with me, he packed my bags and asked me to leave. I took the bags and left the house, a 7 year old holding a bag of her clothes, not knowing where I was going or what I was doing. Fortunately for me I had not gone far, and I met my mother coming back from work. She took my hand and walked me home. This was the start of the breakdown of the relationship with my father and since that day we have not been close, even though I have tried and often wish we could be close, like he is with Daniel.

At school I was shy, and did not make friends easily. In class 5, I made friends with 3 girls and we would spend all our free time together. Up until class 8; when they started to skip lessons, so that they could have sex with older men. They did not ask me if I wanted to come with them, maybe because I was more timid and shier than they were. Now two of the girls have children, the other girl is working overseas as a prostitute.
Four years ago, I started coming to the charity and getting involved in one of their summer programmes, and then helping to translate for the English volunteers. That summer I met Luiza, the Nightingales social worker, I quickly became good friends with her, opening up about my life and my family. At the end of the summer she asked me if I wanted to be involved in a programme for girls who are at risk of being trafficked. I finally found a place where I felt loved and could be myself without being judged by my family, or feeling as if I was second best to my brother. It was a refuge for me, which has helped me to resist the temptation to run away from home.

The charity has helped me in a huge amount in all areas of my life. It has been a great support when I have felt angry or powerless in the face of certain situations. Luiza has always been there to listen to me and give me advice whenever I have needed it. If she had not pushed me to study and the charity helped pay for extra maths classes I would have most probably not passed my Baccalaureate exams. I am now finishing my second year at university studying to be an accountant and dreaming of a bright future, where I can support my family through a job and hard work, not by having to use my body to make money.”
Sara is the oldest girl in the project and is a great example to the other girls of someone who grew up in their neighbourhood and is making positive life choices. We are very proud of her and the young lady that she is becoming; she has got a great future ahead.

  • Names have been changed to protect people’s identities.