This summer we took a team of 8 young people from Leatherhead and Bookham to Romania to run summer activities for children in the gypsy village of Soard! The team had a packed week that included lake swimming, football, hairdressing, making jewellery and flower crowns, a trip to the zoo, and helping with the weekly feeding programme! The whole team got really involved, making the activities super fun for everyone and building some great friendships along the way. It was a huge eye opener for most of the team who had never worked in a setting of abject poverty such as this and who were blown away by the happiness and hospitality of the gypsy families. The trip provided a great opportunity for our young people to gain new perspective, meet new people and learn from their experience. Here is what 3 of our team had to say:
Harriet Williamson – 16
I’ve never been on a trip like this before and having older siblings that had been to Romania and done a similar thing inspired me to go. Romania is a beautiful country, and the people in the villages we worked with are lovely and caring. I really want to go back to Romania as it made me feel grateful for the things I have, and I now feel drawn to helping others instead of just going on the average summer holiday.
Nathan Jago – 17
I was unsure if I wanted to go on the Romania trip as it was really out of my comfort zone. When we first arrived, I thought that the country was beautiful, and then going to the Gypsy village, I realised how lucky I was. My highlight was helping with the feeding program which was set up out there to give kids one staple meal a day. It was fun helping prep some of the food. I’m looking forward to going on a similar trip again where I get to support others.
Mary-Jean Giles – 17
Before going to Romania I was told about the poverty but was really taken aback when we arrived in the Roma gypsy village. I can’t believe that people live in those conditions! A highlight for me was spending time with the kids in the village, it was great to see how happy some kids are even when they live in difficult conditions.