My school was very good at planing trips for the students to go on. Having heard about what this trip entailed I was all for it and lucky, as my friends we’re up for it too. It was a 10 day trip, working with the charity People Against Poverty, building a ‘Sanctuary House’ for a family in need.
People Against Poverty:
People Against Poverty is a local charity which specialises in helping those across seas in need. They work with the local schools, businesses and churches sending teams to create sanctuary and safe places for families who don’t have that. Click here to find out more about what they do and how you can get involved.
The team was assigned a family that we would primarily be doing our work for. Our family (not that I can remember the name of this family, they were Romania, it was a hard name) consisted of 3 children and the mother and father. The father was suffering from a heart defect that meant he had undergo heart surgery every 3-4 years. The 2 oldest children were living away from the family with grandparents. They would walk 6+ miles to school and back everyday. The youngest, 6/7 years old and the parents lived in a tent for the entirety of a winter in temperatures below freezing. They needed our help!
To get to Romania we needed £690 to pay for flights, accommodation, food, transport for the entirety of the trip and a further £400 for supplies, equipment and materials to build the sanctuary house. For a 16 year old girl, working one day a week, that amount of money wasn’t going to be easy to get. We did bake sales, car washing, bag packing in supermarkets and a 52 mile sponsored bike ride, all with the support of two amazing teachers!
Whilst in Romania:
After a long flight and drive to our hotel, we were briefed with what the rest of the week had in store for us: Early mornings, long and hot days and lots and lots of work to be done. Without going into a boring amount of detail, the project consisted of working together to build 4 walls, a roof, a floor, basically the components of a house and with all of us having little/zero experience of DIY, the task seemed almost impossible… Yet somehow we managed to finished the build in 3 and half days.
After completing the house with 3 and a half days to spare, we helped on some other projects in a nearby shanty town. The charity had done work in this area before and had some unfinished projects which we helped with, a micro-farm and shower and toilet facilities were completed.
After all the hard work we went exploring the country. We visited some of the countries major cities, including Transylvania (Dracula was born here, did you know?). We even climbed a mountain and canoed across a lake.
After Romania, personally, I came home with a different perspective on life. After seeing people with literally nothing still walk around with smiles on their faces, it forced me to appreciate what I had around me, what I take for granted. I have never gone without food, water, a roof over my head, clothes, the basic necessities of life because my parents have always ensured that I had what I needed. The family couldn’t do that for their kids, they needed help. And we gave that to them and I will always be proud.
Have you ever thought about volunteering? Maybe you should. It’s a wild experience.