I was introduced to the charity SHARE, Social Health Assistance Reconciliation Education, by my sister-in-law, Jane Williams, in 2009. The charity needed a treasurer.
My work had always been working in finance, and I was happy to take this on and became a Trustee. I went with Jane on my first visit to Romania the following summer. The charity had always supported projects in and around Sibiu. I have since visited Sibiu many times and thoroughly enjoyed every visit. Romania is beautiful, very green and lush, and very hot in the summer.
When Romania joined the EU, some funding stopped, and the charity’s funds were depleted, but we still had money donated through Gift Aid and received some through fundraising, and we were looking to find where the money could be diverted to give the most help.
Jane had been helping in the maternity ward in Sibiu many years before, and she had taken a particular interest over the years in a child born with severe brain damage (Bianca). She had lost contact with her parents and searched for her in Sibiu and eventually found her in a Centre for Children with Complex Disabilities – Speranta. After getting to know the Director of the Centre and discussing their needs, Jane felt that she could help by recruiting Occupational Health and Speech and Language therapists, who had completed their studies, to come and support the carers for a few weeks in the summer. We have had students volunteering every year since 2010, and many of them cannot wait to return. Some have been going back to help with the children for several years. This became the Bianca Project. It is lovely to see the difference the therapists have made to these children, the joy on the children’s faces, and the children eagerly await their return each year.
Over the years, we have also supported a local Orthodox priest who was building rooms to house some of the elderly and a school room for an after-school facility for children of concern to social services.
We have given support to a German group who were also building a school room for children in a village called Dacia, a very remote village, with no buses, no school and no running water, collecting water from a trough in the village square. None the less a delightful village, and to see the cows coming home from the fields in the evening, knowing which gate to go in with no need to herd them in, is amazing.
Our latest project is helping to fund a house and care of some young adults from Speranta who have reached the age of 18 and teaching them to be independent. It is working very well, and the young people are learning many skills.
I have enjoyed my time with SHARE. The Charity has achieved great things over the last 11 years, mainly due to Jane’s tireless work over the years, recruiting therapists, organising flights, organising accommodation every year for the students.
It has been a privilege to see the interaction all the therapists have with the children and the joy they bring to the children’s lives.
Note from Jane Williams, a fellow Trustee:
The Trustees would like to add our grateful thanks to Jean for all her help and support over the years. The accounts were confusing when she joined us in 2009, but she soon sorted them out and has been an amazing Treasurer. We are not sure how we will manage without her and hope that she will continue to pay visits to Romania from time to time.