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September 2011

Care in Romania (article published on the Projects Abroad official website - by Sarah Peters, care volunteer,summer 2011)   (published in Romania)

September 22, 2011 by   Comments(0)

A few months ago if someone had asked me if I thought I could go alone to a country I’ve never been to before and volunteer with children, I would have said no. Now, after spending a month in Romania caring for children, I wonder why I didn’t do it sooner and can’t wait to get back.

I’ve worked with children for a large part of my life, and apart from wanting to be a pop star when I was 5, I’ve always really only wanted to work with children. So, when I had the opportunity, over my gap year, to volunteer with children in Romania, as scary as it seemed, I couldn’t let the opportunity pass and I wanted to do all I could during my short time there to help the children I was working with. So, after doing some fundraising (involving eating mashed potato for a week), a few vaccinations, and a short flight, I found myself in a car on my way to Brasov.

First impressions of Romania

On the drive, I was surprised at the mix of modern and traditional that was everywhere. There were big, fairly nice houses right next to old, beaten down houses. There were lots of cars passing cows tied to the side of the road. There were people working in fields, and traditional farming communities, working with horse and carts were a common sight. Stray dogs, beggars and hitch hikers lined roads as we passed by.

Brasov centre was just the same. It has a beautiful European town square with old, detailed buildings, lovely little bistros dotted around, a range of shops, and a McDonalds (of course). Then not far from the square you will find tower blocks, run down houses and more farming communities; such a mix of modern and old, new and poor, but all very beautiful in its own way. This was the town where I spent my month, and it soon felt like home.

My host family

My host family was lovely. I stayed with 4 other girls in an apartment type room, which before would have scared me, but everyone was really friendly so I felt immediately comfortable. We had a fridge stocked up with food for breakfast and lunch, with a microwave and kettle for heating things up. Our host mother brought a meal each evening. The food was not too different from English food, some nights we had pasta and cheese or pizza, and then other nights we were given traditional Romanian food, which was just as nice. There was plenty of choice for vegetarian’s too, even fussy ones like me.

My care placement

Each morning I travelled for about 10 minutes on a bus to a nursery, where I worked with children aged 1-2 years and 2-3 years. The nursery was very under-staffed, at times having only 5 staff members to care for up to 40 young children. There were very few toys for both age groups, and they weren’t age appropriate.

My role there was to support the staff by playing with the children and comforting them if they were upset. I also helped feed them lunch. I was sad to see that the children had so little to play with, but they were very happy children and I was always welcomed with lots of little, smiley faces. The best thing was seeing the babies dancing to CD’s the staff played, they loved it and were so cute, bopping up and down and flapping their arms.

With the money I had from donations I bought some more toys for the children, such as shakers and musical trains for 1-2 year olds, and drawing boards and jigsaws for 2-3 year olds. Having the money to buy things for the children was such a joy; the staff were so grateful and the smiles and excitement from the children were contagious. I am really grateful to everyone who donated money.

My second placement

The second place I worked at was a centre for abandoned and abused children aged 3-18 years, called Domino. Here I got to build on my teaching skills, as I had to plan, prepare and lead craft activities and games for the children to do. All the children were keen to get involved in all of the activities we provided, whether it was as simple as colouring sheets and hand painting, or a bit more complex, such as decorating photo frames and making puppets.

It was great to see the children enjoying the activities and they were very appreciative of what we gave them. I was surprised at how close I became to the children, with the language barrier and all that the children have been through, I thought it would be difficult to get to know them. However, I found that all the children, even the older ones, just wanted attention and someone to care for them and through trying to give them this I got to know them well, which made my time in Romania really special. I remember them all fondly.

One of my favourite times at Domino was when we were making star and moon mobiles. Most of the children had a go, but there was one girl who really thought it was the best thing in the world. She tried very hard making it and as soon as she had finished she excitedly rushed to stick it above her bed. They were so happy with the simplest of things, it made me realise just how much we take for granted.

The money people donated, enabled me to buy resources for the activities we did, some new toys for the children and stationary to help with the children’s school work.

My free time in Romania

Evenings and weekends were spent with the other volunteers. We had a brilliant time going to the bistro for chocolate fondue or out for dinner and travelling to Sibiu, Sinia and a late night adventure to Constansa. We all became really close and it was lovely to spend time with such amazing people from all around the world.

My time in Romania really was the best time in my life so far. Even though it wasn’t always easy, I feel I have grown in confidence and independence and my heart has been opened to so many new things I’d heard about but didn’t really known about. All the support from the Projects Abroad team was amazing and really helped make my experience all that it was. Saying goodbye was the hardest thing and I truly believe that a part of me will always be in Romania and with the people I met there.

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Care in Romania (article published on the Projects Abroad official website - by Sarah Peters, care volunteer,summer 2011)
Care in Romania (article published on the Projects Abroad official website - by Sarah Peters, care volunteer,summer 2011)

Auditions for Projects Abroad Drama Group (written by Ali - Alexandra Ichim, Drama Supervisor)   (published in Romania)

September 20, 2011 by   Comments(0)

Projects Abroad Drama Group seeks new members. If you want to be a part of our group, please join us in our auditions created especially for you. Being part of the Projects Abroad Drama Group you have the opportunity to improve your English, learn drama skills, perform in various drama events and festivals in Romania, have fun - with the possibility of having all of these FOR FREE!!

The trainers of the drama project are volunteers who come in Romania with Projects Abroad from different countries like America, UK, Canada, Australia, Japan and others. Their purpose is to teach young people from the community drama techniques, giving a lot from their theatrical experience. Most of them have a wide variety of theater experience, which is why they want to come to Romania to teach the people who are interested and have the time to invest in this beautiful art.

Projects Abroad Drama Group that existed till June 2011 had many unique experiences inside of the local drama world, participating in many plays, shows and performing on stage several times for the community in Brasov and other cities from Romania. This group doesn't exist anymore as students graduated and left the city of Brasov to Universities in other cities or countries.

We are more than happy to renew the drama group and to have more talented and joyful people, eager to learn and perform on the local stage. For this to happen, you need to come to our Auditions, which will be held on the 6th of October, at 3:30 PM at our Office - from 11 Mihail Kogalniceanu Street, 7th Floor. So, please prepare a monologue or a poem in English and come audition!!

Participants: Kanae Tominaga - Drama Volunteer from Japan
Alexandra Ichim - Drama Coordinator, Projects Abroad Romania

Come join us and you'll live the best experience ever!

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Auditions for Projects Abroad Drama Group (written by Ali - Alexandra Ichim, Drama Supervisor)
Auditions for Projects Abroad Drama Group (written by Ali - Alexandra Ichim, Drama Supervisor)

Living in a Material World (written by Natasha Potter, Journalism Volunteer, Australia, March - May 2011)   (published in Romania)

September 14, 2011 by   Comments(0)


In today’s vivid and fast paced society many people live through a screen. A fourteen year old in Australia rushes home from school to turn on her Facebook profile and update her 500 so called friends. A fifty year old American man wakes to log onto his virtual cyber life in the avatar program, Second Life. A five year old Romanian boy fixates on his action computer game, ignoring the sunny, peaceful and beautiful village life that peeks through his very own window.

Millions of examples can be given of people all around the world who live day to day life through a variety of different screens. While technological advances have revolutionised our society and immense gains cannot be measured, our social construct, identity and traditions have been obscured forever.

While such a controversial issue is impossible to explore as a whole, my time as a journalist in Romania has provided me insight into a country which is an eminent example of the ongoing struggle between traditional eastern culture and a race to keep up with western conformities and ideals. Visiting Museums and in particular the ‘Mini Village’ exhibition directed by Professor Sorin Apan in Brașov, provided me with priceless knowledge into the rich cultural history and tradition of the Romanian past. Most significantly it was the immensely detailed, colourful and intricate sewing of traditional Romanian clothing which captured my interest. The heavily decorated ensembles of clothing from past village life presented a vast contrast to the bulk commercial and manufactured clothing industry which existed outside the exhibition doors. The clothing was embellished with beautiful motifs and designs, and additionally displayed the finest sewing and embroidery skills at work. As many facets of Romania life still lie in flux between the past and present, I saw the importance in discovering whether such skills and traditions are still alive and being practiced in modern life. Such an exploration was possible with the knowledge of Professor Sorin Apan, the friendly staff at Brașov’s Ethnographic Museum and the kind people interviewed in the village of Bogata.

In today’s society clothing is predominately a disposable good, where our consumer driven industry provides new styles and fashions for any budget. With the influx of technology buying clothing is easily attainable for any generation, where the need to mend, fix or create being eradicated from common ideologies. Significantly the majority of western clothing pieces can mean little to the modern society other than a desire to have or a reflection of status, fashion or wealth. The importance of traditional clothing and costumes from Romania’s past is that there is a culturally rich story or meaning behind every stitch sewn. Professor Apan believes in the importance of preserving the traditional clothing and costumes of Romania for this very reason; “I became interested in the clothing and its importance because of the profound spiritual stories and meanings which lie in every motif or symbol”, he states. The clothing which I was able to learn about focused on stories revolving around the power of the higher cosmological world, and the connection between earth and sky. These connections were important to link the earth as a symbol of what we see, and the sky, representing the mystery of life. Motifs and emblems which were embroided onto the clothing were representative of these stories and were created in the form of a deer for the earth, and stars for the sky. Additional motifs were of floral ensembles, providing a link to earth and sacerdotal symbols providing a connection to the priests and representing something sacred and solemn. Colours also symbolised a variety of meanings to compliment the stories; green for vegetation, black as fertility, red for mortality and white to represent death. Professor Apan described that the same symbols were kept since 5000BC throughout the clothing as a matter of protection against demons, whom were believed to destroy the connection between the cosmological sky and the earth. Professor Apan’s revealed how much history lies within every piece of traditional Romanian clothing and how there is a struggle for people today to be interested in the clothing beyond just an aesthetic appeal. The profound meanings behind the intricate creation of the clothing are of great contrast to the consumerist parallel of clothing in today’s society, and expose a culturally rich history which struggles to survive.

Such preserved examples of traditional clothing are also seen within Brașov’s Ethnographic Museum. Clothing and costumes on mannequins surround traditional looms, furniture, working tools and machines, depicting scenes from hundreds of years ago. Interviewing a woman working at the Museum provided me with important history and knowledge beyond the aesthetics of the costumes. While the costumes were much less elaborate than the ones viewed with Professor Apan, the importance of them to the Romanian identity was asserted. Unfortunately it is evident that due to social and political changes traditions and skills have been greatly lost in creating such masterpieces of embroidery, lace, and stitching. Political changes in past decades have introduced large factories, introducing manmade fibres for sewing and thus making materials such as thick wool less readily available. Therefore it has been difficult for some to have the materials to continue their sewing skills and pass down their knowledge to their children and grandchildren. Additionally and possibly most importantly, mentality has changed. Living in the throes of the 21st century has ostracised the art of sewing into being solely created for a reason, usually for financial gain to provide traditional dancers or singers with brightly decorated costumes. Holidays such as Easter and Christmas also bring out the traditional costumes, where Romanian culture can be celebrated and appreciated. I was interested in whether any sewing or fine embroidery skills are taught in Romanian, where such an art could be passed on and thus remain alive for generations to come. The woman at the Brașov’s Ethnographic Museum informed me that while some villages have time, generally grandparents in the towns have adapted to modern contexts. Classes for children such as orchestrated by Professor Apan allow students to participate in traditional art and skills, however form a rare minority of programs in teaching Romania’s rich cultural traditions. The skill and art in the creation of Romanian clothing seems to be predominately held and preserved by such crucial cultural institutions as by Professor Apan and Brașov’s Ethnographic Museum.

Noting that some of these sewing traditions in Romania were still alive in more rural villages I held high expectations for a journalism trip to Bogata village. Walking into the village I was once against struck by the clashing evidence of east verses west; crumbling traditional Saxon houses, with free chickens roaming backyards and clothes lines of cheap manufactured clothing swinging in the fresh country side breeze. While the youth in Bogata wore current styles and fashions I noticed the elder generation wore more traditional styles and head cloths. As an old woman plowed her vegetable patch with her rusting hoe, I could imagine her house full of traditional sewing looms, materials and clothing which she had spent hours sewing under flickering candlelight. Significantly the interview which prevailed revealed quite the opposite of my preconceived ideals of the woman’s current lifestyle. Any remnants of sewing evidence had disappeared from her life, as she stated that no one in her village practiced these traditions today. Her reasons were aligned with modern ideologies; there was no demand for her to make clothing for any of her children or grandchildren and there was also little time for her to spend painstaking hours making something which would be of little use. The modern age of a disposable society had seeped into Bogata’a traditional lifestyle, where new western attitudes dispelled any notion of Romanian tradition. Significantly while Bogata had become very westernised in such a short space of time, the woman I spoke to at Brașov’s Ethnographic Museum did reveal other villages where the tradition of creating clothing was still alive. She explained that many Romanian villages are encouraged to produce the art of traditional clothing and additionally to circulate it and sell it among other village areas. Importantly she stated that this attitude means that the tradition is; “fragile and vulnerable”, as that creating different clothing and costumes is of a long process and redeems little reward for the people. The skills and materials required to create these traditional treasures are of evanescent existence in many villages and especially in Romania’s modern towns.

My quest to discover the journey of traditional clothing and costumes existing in the escalating modern society of Romania was one which provided me with a wide berth of knowledge and opinion. Living in the centre of Brașov, it is evident how westernised and consumer driven the town has become, with fashion boardwalks lining every road. Stepping out into Romania’s countryside, Bogata Village revealed real insight into Romania’s struggle with retaining and treasuring traditions that create Romania’s cultural identity and ethos. The plight of the people there seemed different to the community of Brașov’s modern town. While there seemed to be a stronger passion to hold onto traditional skills and creations, the infilration of contemporary ideals and technologies meant that there was little demand for materials and clothing to be produced. Signifcantly a greater economic gain was also evident within the circulation of traditional clothing among villages, and not singulariy for personal passion to create and continue tradition. The most crucial realisation of this exploration was the dedication and aspirations of the figures of Professor Sorin Apan and the community at Brașov’s Ethnographic Museum. Professor Apan revealed the importance of the strong meaning in the stories behind Romania’s traditional costumes and the spirituality they hold in uniting Romanian people with a higher cosmological world. His ‘Mini Village’ exhibition plays a vital role in showcasing such incredible sewing skills and educating Romania’s future generations. Additionally it is museums such as Brașov’s Ethnographic Museum which continue to preserve a variety of cultural traditions to keep the past of Romania alive and open for public knowledge. While the future of intricate techniques and creations of traditional Romanian clothing may be fading in practice, the rich culture of its tradition will live on with such wisdom, passion and history arising from Professor Sorin Apan and Brașov’s Ethnographic Museum.



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Living in a Material World (written by Natasha Potter, Journalism Volunteer, Australia, March - May 2011)
Living in a Material World (written by Natasha Potter, Journalism Volunteer, Australia, March - May 2011)

Drama Mini Project with Matt Horowitz ( written by Matt Horowitz, Drama Volunteer, USA, July - August 2011)   (published in Romania)

September 14, 2011 by   Comments(0)



      The first goal of theatre should be to entertain. That’s why, though I was excited to be put in charge of Projects Abroad Romania’s July 2011 Drama Mini-Project, one major dillema came to my mind right from the start: I wasn’t sure how to organize a piece of entertaining Children’s Theatre. In order to answer the question of how to best give an audience what they want,I had to know what my audience wanted in the first place. Unfortunately, while some people might know exactly what children want to see, I am not one of them. However, to me, engaging audiences in a way that requires active thought/participation is the best way to make a show entertaining. But to what extent is it appropriate to challenge an audience of children? I didn’t want to put on a show where the kids would be made to watch quietly and nod along, and yet I didn’t want to demand so much of my audience that they would cease to enjoy the performance. That is always a delicate balance, but it is especially so when children are involved.

            I knew that all of these issueswould demandconsideration before I could make any real product. Ali (Projects Abroad Romania’s Drama Supervisor) and I selected the stories to be performed with relative ease: Rumplestiltskin, The Little Old Lady Who Swallowed a Fly, and DumbravaMinunată, a Romanian folk tale. There was no real issue in choosing the stories; the challenge was going to be finding the right way to present them. I much prefer to visualize drama using actors as opposed to figuring it out in my head, so I decided to start staging the stories and determine the most entertaining and effective way to present them once I had made rough versions of the scenes.

            However, as the number of volunteers who could commit their time to the project dwindled, the scenes became more and more challenging to perform. The biggest challenge was DumbravaMinunată, which features more than a dozen characters in the story. By the time the cast was down to only myself and three other volunteers and the performance was fast approaching, it became very apparent to us that staging the story with just the four of us would be a huge challenge. However, the solution to our problem also answered my probing issues with creating entertaining Children’s Theatre: we enlisted the help of our young audience in acting out the story.

            Finally, the day of the performance came and we traveled to different foster homes outside Brașov to perform our show, armed with six masks, eight puppets, and a ukulele. The children greatly enjoyed our first scene, Rumplestiltskin, where the scheming Rumplestiltskin’s final demise- where he dramatically melts into the ground, jingly hat and all- met with a lot of smiles and giggles from the audience. The song that followed, The Little Old Lady Who Swallowed a Fly, was also very enjoyed. Even though I sang in English, I still was uplifted to hear the kids laughing throughout the song at different comic pauses and rushed lines. Of course, the overly dramatic death at the end of the song didn’t go unappreciated either.

However, my proudest part of the show was DumbravaMinunată. I was nervous about how it would work, but with the cooperation and enthusiasm of my cast (featuring a cameo appearance of Ali’s mother) and the audience, the interactive story was a great success. One of my favorite moments was when two young kids, invited to play the role of an elderly couple, immediately started hunching over and miming canes as they walked across the stage. The older group of kids was very excited to be invited to stand up and act alongside the cast, and they quickly started suggesting other stories they would like to participate in after we were finished. We received a similar reception from the younger kids who, after a fun show, started to play with us and with the paper masks we performed with.

The audience’s excitement over the show was uplifting to me, as it hinted that I had done something right. After performing our show and meeting the audience, I feel confident that the orphaned/abandoned children we saw would have been happy to be entertained at all. However, the kids we performed for were clearly glad to be put in an environment where they were invited not just to watch, but also to act in a scene on the same level as the cast. In retrospect, I’m glad I took a risk by inviting the children to act in the show; ultimately it made the experience richer for them, and allowed them to feel like a part of the performance. Imay not be sure exactly what constitutes entertaining Children’s Theatre, but after this experience I feel that I have a much clearer idea.

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Drama Mini Project with Matt Horowitz ( written by Matt Horowitz, Drama Volunteer, USA, July - August 2011)
Drama Mini Project with Matt Horowitz ( written by Matt Horowitz, Drama Volunteer, USA, July - August 2011)

‘The lady who swallowed a fly’ - Last Drama Mini Project for the summer (written by Ali (Alexandra Ichim), Drama Supervisor)   (published in Romania)

September 8, 2011 by   Comments(0)

It all started when Matt Horowitz arrived in Romania for the Drama Project. From the first time I talked to him face to face in the Projects Abroad Office I knew we would work perfectly together on the drama project. After explaining to him everything he would be in charge of during his stay here and all the drama activities and groups he would have to lead and create, I mentioned the drama mini project. He was very thrilled at the idea of putting together a small show for the children at the foster homes in Tarlungeni, as he was very good at directing in America. I explained to him what we needed to do; a Romanian Folk Tale that I was meant to translate for them and which they were meant to put together as a pantomime for the children. I also mentioned that he needed to find any other play, script, story, song or whatever he felt like putting on stage together with the rest of the volunteers.


At once he started searching for some songs and different scripts that he would have loved directing, called all the volunteers and attracted them with a very interesting story line about the whole mini project. He gathered a bunch of people and they started working on the scripts and songs. At the end of the rehearsals, they showed me what they were working on for some time and I was completely pleased and amused at the same time.


Besides the Romanian story that I chose for them, called ‘Dumbrava Minunata’, Matt also chose some other interesting stories: ‘Rumpelstiltskin’ and ‘The Lady who Swallowed a Fly’. Matt, who was directing everything, also took part in all the performances, together with the other volunteers (Olga, Kate, Jill and Sofie) who participated in the whole event and Evelyn, Alyssa, Hannah, Vicky, Nina and Lisa who helped make the sets and masks for the plays.


After everything was prepared, we went to the foster homes to present all our work to the children. We started with the ‘Dumbrava Minunata’ performed by all the above mentioned people and got some of the children involved too. They were very happy as they got the chance to wear a mask and to perform as one of the characters in the play. We then continued with ‘Rumpelstiltskin’ which was a new story for the children, as no one heard of it before. They were very happy to see us perform and they were very attentive as we asked them questions about the play afterwards. The highlight of the whole performance was the funny song ‘Old Lady Who Swallowed a Fly’ interpreted and played by little guitar by Matt. It was such a success because we had masks prepared for each character and because the volunteers performed it so well that children laughed over the entire piece.


The whole event finished with us presenting everyone who was on stage performing and giving the children candies, which is their favorite part of all our mini projects. They are always happy when Projects Abroad staff and volunteers go to their placement to perform for them and they appreciate the fact that they always learn something new about the Romanian Mythological tales and any other ones of different cultures.


We want to thank again everyone who got involved in the last performance that we had with the drama mini project this summer, but most of all, we want to thank Matt for getting so well involved and for keeping the standards so high. Thank you all! You did a fantastic job and the kids loved you a lot.

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‘The lady who swallowed a fly’ - Last Drama Mini Project for the summer (written by Ali (Alexandra Ichim), Drama Supervisor)
‘The lady who swallowed a fly’ - Last Drama Mini Project for the summer (written by Ali (Alexandra Ichim), Drama Supervisor)

My Volunteering Experience in Romania (written by Nina Ruettimann, Care Volunteer, Switzerland, July – August 2011)   (published in Romania)

September 8, 2011 by   Comments(0)

Romania is a country of opposites and beauty. I didn’t really know what to expect from an ex-communist country. I had heard so many stones of poverty and abuse. But when I arrived, I was surprised to see quite the opposite. It is full of surprises, friendly people and good food. The city of Brasov was a fascinating place to spend my four weeks of volunteering.


On my second day Daniela, my supervisor, showed me where I would be working the next four weeks. She introduced me to all of the children and staff at the Domino House. The following day, I already felt at home with the children. They loved playing with the new games I brought them and loved to draw. Their favourite things to draw were butterflies and angels. I think the nicest part of the day was when I arrived in the morning, the children were so happy to see me, they would run up to me with their big smiling faces and kiss and hug me. There is nothing more rewarding.


During my second week, Justina, from Australia, arrived. She was placed at the same host family, so we had fun preparing all the different activities, arts and crafts, butterfly mobiles, wooly cotton sheep, straw necklaces and a lot more. The children in the placement enjoyed jumping on the trampoline, blowing bubbles and drawing with chalk of course, like all children, but sometimes it was a bit difficult and demanding as there was always a problem of a language barrier.


But all in all, I had a great experience that I will remember for my whole life. I learned to care and love the children just after four weeks. But it is nice to know they are taken care very well at the Domino Placement and have very loving care takers. It was difficult leaving the children, not knowing what will happen to them, but each and everyone of them will always have a little special place in my heart. I am so thankful for my four weeks in Romania. It was an incredible experience. A big thanks to all the people who made it possible for me to live my dream.

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My Volunteering Experience in Romania (written by Nina Ruettimann, Care Volunteer, Switzerland, July – August 2011)
My Volunteering Experience in Romania (written by Nina Ruettimann, Care Volunteer, Switzerland, July – August 2011)

Creative Workshops (written by Daniela Cristea, our Care and Teaching Supervisor)   (published in Romania)

September 8, 2011 by   Comments(0)

Every week since the beginning of the summer we have a workshop here at the Projects-Abroad office in Brasov where we join – staff and volunteers from various projects- to create little pieces of art.

It all started with a list of all the things you can do with children from orphanages and day centres me and Hannah could think of.  Then we decided we need a sample of everything to show the children at the beginning of the activity as a guidance of what they’re making that day. And because the list was pretty long, we needed all the help we could get.

We announced the beginning of this series of workshops and almost everybody joined. FThey participated mainly because they wanted to help, and secondly as it is a great way of expressing yourself through art and creation and it makes you feel good.

Along the way the list got bigger with the ideas the volunteers brought from their our childhood and experience with children they are working with at home. That only meant  more fun every week.

The pieces of are we did are glued now in the Workshop room of our office or glued to it’s walls, and whenever someone needs one can borrow it for as long as is necessary. I can say that it definitely gives a personal tuch to this room, making it brighter and more colorful.

 It will always remind us of the volunteers involved in doing this pieces of work: Sofie with her hand dinosaur drawing J, crepe paper’s flower, Matt’s lotus flower and funny/scary greeting card, Brittany’s fluffy cotton sheep and pom pom bug, Chinese lantern, Projects-Abroad salt and flower letters; Hannah’s aboriginal dot painting, pinwheel, knuckles sea horse; Nina’s fluffy crepe paper sun, paper mache ladybug; Erika’s straw bracelet, crepe paper flower painting, peper mache pot; Diane’s clouds and cotton drops on string hanging from the ceiling, Evely’s 3D dragon, fluffy sheep, origami birds, Olga’s knuckle’s sea horse, oily mandala, painting by blowing in the straw,; Justina’s crepe parer’s flower, painted macaroni’s bracelet, Suzie’s bracelet, paper mache piñata ;Rachel’s crepe paper’s flower….to name just some of the things created. And the tradition will continue for as long as there will be ideas an volunteers willing to participate.

Even though it sounds like we had a lot of fun doing this, like in every creative process there was 1% inspiration and 99% perspiration.  Just kidding, we were clean and fresh at the end of the workshop. Maybe just a bit of paint on fingers and clothes and dried flower and salt…and some glue...




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Creative Workshops (written by Daniela Cristea, our Care and Teaching Supervisor)
Creative Workshops (written by Daniela Cristea, our Care and Teaching Supervisor)

Sacred Circle Dance Workshop (written by Diane de Beer, Care Volunteer, Netherlands, July - August 2011)   (published in Romania)

September 1, 2011 by   Comments(0)



Working as a volunteer with Projects Abroad, I was in Romania for 3 weeks, on a placement in care.

There I met Alexandra, who besides her job at the office of Projects Abroad, is also teaching salsa. Since in the Netherlands part of what I do is teaching dance, we worked out for me to give a workshop Sacred Circle Dance as a guest teacher in one of her classes.

This turned out to be great fun! The big group of young experienced salsa dancers picked up the steps really quickly, and were dancing along playfully in no-time. We did a mixture of meditative and dynamic dances, to music from different parts of the world.

There was us dancing like drunken women ('Celtic Jigger') to the joyful Irish music, hopping along like a locust ('Tarakihi') to Maori music, sensual steps to Brazilian music ('Ave Maria Brasileira') and a few serene elegant dances to music of Loreena McKennit ('Serenissima'), and a pianotune ('First Time').

The enthusiasm of the group was great and made me realize for once and all how much I love to dance, and teach dance. Therefore I hereby thank every-one in the workshop again, including Alexandra, for creating the opportunity for me to do what I really enjoy; dance through life :-)


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Sacred Circle Dance Workshop (written by Diane de Beer, Care Volunteer, Netherlands, July - August 2011)
Sacred Circle Dance Workshop (written by Diane de Beer, Care Volunteer, Netherlands, July - August 2011)

A 'Super Good' Experience - Physiotherapy Project (written by Alyssa Montanaro, Physiotherapy Volunteer, USA, June- August 2011)   (published in Romania)

September 1, 2011 by   Comments(0)





"One hundred percent of people die." Ok, I'll be honest. When this was the phrase that welcomed me into Hospice Casa Sperantei on my first day of work, I was pretty nervous. I had done a little research about Hospice, as it is one of two primary placements given to physiotherapy volunteers. It is a nonprofit, supported by the UK that ran on the mantra that they step in to help when all others step out. It was a place for sick adults to come for care and attention, but also a place where children with disorders and disabilities could come to spend a week of respite care or play with other children like themselves at the day center. Having grown up around the disabled community of my hometown in Delaware, I didn't think I'd have a hard time working with kids who were sick. Although, when it was put so bluntly to me that these kids were dying, I wasn't so sure.


It took me a less than a day to fall in love with Hospice. As a physio volunteer, I spent a good chunk of time learning the stretching routines of the kids. I did a lot of shadowing and watching, but also participated in treatment almost every day, performing the exercises on the kids, playing their games of hold your breath in order to strengthen their lungs, feeling the crooked spines of our patients with scoliosis, and even treating my own patients when the physio was busy with someone else. I also spent a lot of my time with the children in the day center: taking them to the park, playing "război" (the card game war), and generally making a fool of myself while trying to speak Romanian. It amazed me how carefree and happy the kids were. It didn't matter that they were stuck in a wheelchair, that their heart will eventually give up and stop pumping, or that their parents were treating them poorly. All that mattered was, at hospice, they were just kids; kids who wanted to play and laugh and feel good.


During my two months in Romania, my catch phrase became "super good." I always asked people I met how they were, and would try to get them to elaborate if they were very or super good. My favorite Romanian phrase, “super bine,” in English, means super good, and would always be accompanied by a two thumbs up gesture. I would be giggled at for my enthusiasm when saying “super bine,” and it stuck. At hospice, day after day I was met by kids giving me a thumbs up and saying that they felt "super good."


As simple as it sounds, that basically describes my time at Hospice Casa Sperantei - super good. In one sense, it was great because I learned so much about physiotherapy, disorders, and how we rehabilitate them, and these two months left me with no doubt that I want a future career in physical therapy. On the other hand, the time I spent with the children, the smiles we shared, the games we played, the silly pictures we took, and even the arm wrestling matches we had (great for strengthening!) all changed me for the better. I now have a greater appreciation for life and the mindset of being a child. For even though my introduction to hospice was correct in saying that one hundred percent of us will die, for now, it's all about embracing the moment, sharing a smile, having fun, and feeling super good.

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A 'Super Good' Experience - Physiotherapy Project (written by Alyssa Montanaro, Physiotherapy Volunteer, USA, June- August 2011)
A 'Super Good' Experience - Physiotherapy Project (written by Alyssa Montanaro, Physiotherapy Volunteer, USA, June- August 2011)