What we have been doing during lockdown
Like many charities, we have been significantly impacted by the global pandemic. Unfortunately, due to travel restrictions and concerns about the spread of the virus, we have been unable to offer our usual summer volunteer and specialist trips to Romania. However, we haven't been idle, and have instead used the time and energy we would have spent arranging and supporting these trips to reflect and plan for the future.
We have made the difficult decision to stop our summer volunteering programme. This is in response to reduced volunteer numbers and concerns about "voluntourism". Instead we will be focusing on our "specialist" trips. In addition to the health professionals we typically recruit for these trips, we intend to offer limited spaces to individuals who are interested and would previously have joined our summer programme. During coronavirus, staff in the institutions we support have shown an amazing commitment to the residents, including some staff moving in to reduce risk, and we have been sending resources such as sports equipment to help keep residents entertained.
In addition to how we continue to improve the quality of life of individuals living in Government care, we have been considering how we can support families in the community, so individuals can avoid being institutionalised in the first place. We are developing plans for this and making alliances with colleagues and services in Romania to this end.
We are also focusing on fundraising, which has become more challenging now we will not have donations from volunteers to fund our multi-disciplinary team working in Romania.
We have recognised that although we are busy all the time, we are not brilliant at telling others what we have been doing, and so to help with this we have been improving our website and thinking about how we can provide more regular updates to our supporters.
We are proud of the positive changes we are making and we are excited to put things into place when our multi-disciplinary team is cleared to get back to face to face work, and travel to Romania will again be possible. We look forward to sharing the ongoing developments!