During our February Half-Term this year, 19 Upper School students volunteered their time to join a service trip to Bistrita, Romania to work with Romanian Children’s Relief. This charity works in collaboration with the Department of Social Services to support abandoned children and Roma children. Many of the children that are in the placement centre have special needs.
Our students did a lot of fundraising before the trip by doing bake sales at school. They also brought lovely donations of clothing, toys, baby clothes, and art supplies. Each day, our students rotated to work in a different program. The programs included a special needs toddler program, special needs young adults, abandoned infants in a hospital, ill children with their parents in the hospital, children and young adults in a special needs school, and Roma afterschool programs.
In each of these programs, our students gave themselves fully to make each child and young person feel loved. No matter how severe a disability might have been, our students treated each individual with respect and care. To watch our students interacting with the various children and young people was so uplifting and admirable. The smiles on the faces of the children they worked with were heart-warming.
Our students got the opportunity to visit a 17-year-old girl who was abandoned at birth and adopted as a young child by a wonderful family. To see the family and the home was an enriching experience for all. The girl we visited is the goddaughter of a teacher, Wendy Gediman. She first met the girl as an abandoned baby and has been able to follow her through going to an adoptive home and growing up in a loving family. This is a great example of a positive outcome for an abandoned child.
Our students worked in the hospital with babies, in a village with local Roma kids, in a special needs school that does amazing activities with their students, the placement centre, and an after-school program for local kids from low-income families.
At the end of the week, our students donated what was left of their spending money, which was an amazing £330! Another student and her family are donating £600 towards buying a specialised wheelchair for the more severely disabled children. Together with the donations from all of our students and the money from the family, the charity will be able to buy a very specialised wheel-chair.
Our students went home with a full heart and with ideas to continue their work to help support the charity. Many of the students will return next year, and smiles will stretch again across the face of our students and the children and young adults that they are spending time with.