UEGuvernul Romaniei
Fondul Social European
Instrumente structurale

Continutul acestui material nu reprezinta in mod obligatoriu pozitia oficiala a Uniunii Europene sau a Guvernului Romaniei.

Success stories


 Norbert is a 7 year-old from the Roma community in the village of Telechiu. He is now in the second grade and he attended the Summer Kindergarten organized by the Ruhama Foundation in Tetchea in 2006. He comes from a very poor family with 2 more children and a pregnant mother and used to live in a hut. Due to the lack of money his mother couldn’t afford to sign Norbert up in a public kindergarten. His first contact with an educational environment was within the Summer Kindergarten. He first learnt a poem, learnt the colours, the animals, learnt how to draw, learnt what it means to be disciplined and even managed to get high grades and was praised by his teacher as being one of the best at the Summer Kindergarten. 

What is most important is that his interest for learning continued in school where his teacher credited him as being a model pupil, considering that the Summer Kindergarten was very helpful in preparing him for the first grade. She observed the difference between Norbert, who attended the Summer Kindergarten and other children in the Roma community. Norbert already had the skills needed in the first grade, like holding a pencil. Likewise, his family is very glad that Norbert is praised by his teacher. The only thing that saddened his teacher was the fact that Norbert was always wearing the same old worn-out clothes. This situation was fixed a short while after because Norbert, as well as other hundreds of poor children, received a voucher consisting of new clothes and shoes from the Ruhama Foundation, which made him very happy. He finally had new clothes like his classmates. 

Later on, Norbert’s family was helped by the Ruhama Foundation and the mayor of Tetchea to build a home that has electricity, in which the children could study. His parents were encouraged by his teachers to support Norbert in order for him to succeed in life.

Pardalian, Roma leader


My name is Erzsebet and I am from Sacuieni. I am the mother of 5, 1 boy and 4 girls. We are a simple and modest family. Our children are our greatest joy. For us the greatest joy we can take is to see our children happy. Annamaria, our daughter, surprised us. She is very happy to be attending school. My husband and I have never been to school. We do not know how to write or read. School wasn’t important to us. We didn’t sign up Annamaria for school either. But one day we got a visit from someone at the Ruhama Foundation who told us we can sign our children up for summer kindergarten. Our girl wanted to go so we let her. She did not miss a single day. Then the school enrolments started in September. We learnt that our daughter couldn’t be enlisted in the day courses because she was already ten years old. With the help of the Foundation she was signed up in a program for literacy and school recuperation.

We don’t understand why she wants to go to school so badly, why she reads the books she gets there. We see her reading stories for hours, which she then so beautifully tells us. At first we thought she was faking reading and making up the stories. One day we went to church and heard a story about the lost sheep. My little girl wasn’t in the church. She did not hear the story. Not long after she read to us the same story from the Bible. It was then that we knew she wasn’t making up the stories and that she could read.

 She has big dreams. She wants to become a doctor. Her teacher tells us she has a chance because she’s a smart girl. All we have to do is let her attend school, let her read and write. Annamaria is a good girl and a bit too shy. We’re glad she gets to play with other children at school. She has girlfriends with whom she spends all her time. We don’t know what’s to come; we don’t know how long she’ll attend school. We just know it makes her happy, we won’t stop her and we’ll try to give her nice clothes and shoes so she can fit in. This year she got clothes from the Foundation. We don’t know if she’s going to become a doctor but we do know that she’s smarter than other kids and she will do better than us. 


Erzsebet, mother of an assisted girl


Eliza is a well-behaved girl and a hard worker. She gets good grades in school. She studies hard and always listens to us at home. Her teacher has always praised her and we have always wanted to reward her for that, giving her something special, something she would enjoy. She would always be glad for any presents she would get. She knew of and understood our poor financial status and she didn’t have any demands. We could see it in her eyes that she wanted things we couldn’t provide for her but she never asked us for anything.
One day we got a visit from people at the Ruhama Foundation telling us we can submit a file to get a computer through the EURO 200 program. They told us what kind of paperwork we needed for the file. We did not get our hopes up.
Then came the day we will never forget. We got the computer. Our girl was laughing and crying with joy. We had never seen her so happy. She had her own computer. The same day we called the Foundation and thanked them for their assistance. With their help we managed to reward our daughter for her good grades and her good behaviour.

Estera, mother of an assisted girl


It is time that we admit it, school is the one that changes us as parents and our children at the same time. I have two boys in school, Remus and Calin. When they were in the 1st and 2nd grade I didn’t have any problems with them. They were hard working and well behaved. Then I had to take a job in Hungary. I seldom saw the children and I couldn’t watch over them any more. They didn’t complain. They were healthy and growing up nicely and that to me was the most important thing. Their study situation worsened, they missed school and their teacher complained she had no one to work with. They didn’t do their homework and didn’t prepare for lessons anymore. 

One day, people from the Ruhama Foundation came to the school and announced that there were tryouts for the County Phase of the Romani Language School Contest. My boys wanted to try out. They were chosen to go to Oradea and attend the contest. They managed very nicely. For them it was a special day. They got to see Oradea, they went to McDonald’s, and they felt like little celebrities. They received diplomas. They were told they could attend the contest again if they’d study hard.

 I was asked to attend parent meetings at school. They talked about good parenting skills. It was then that I realized a good parent is someone who apart from providing bed and board to his child is also aware of their dreams and aspirations. I know my boys would like to have a better life than ours, a better future and a more stable job. Calin wants to become a famous dancer. He has a chance because he’s got the rhythm in his blood and he knows a lot of dance moves. To ensure the fulfilment of this dream I have to offer them the possibility of attending school for as long as need be.

I have grown more aware. They are not always aware of the fact that they have to study. I have to watch over them. I want to know if they’ve finished their homework, learnt their lesson, if they behave in school. I don’t miss any parent meetings. If I can’t go, my wife takes my place and together we closely watch over the education of our children.

Iosif, Roma parent


My name is Malvina, I’m 21 years old and I’m a third year student of International Relations and European Studies. Despite the difficulties I’ve had to deal with in life, I’ve managed to fulfil my dream of attending university, and for this I have my grandparents to thank, who closely watched over my upbringing and education, and the Ruhama Foundation which gave me enormous support. Life’s hardships have influenced me to focus towards human sciences, the reason for which I attended a high school with this speciality, and why later on I couldn’t decide between continuing in medicine or international relations, a new and exciting field. Eventually, I opted for international relations, this being closer to my previous training. 

I contacted the Ruhama Foundation in the spring of 2007, when I was invited by my former English teacher to take part in the inauguration of the Roma Education Centre. The speech delivered by the president of the organisation moved me deeply and convinced me to come back and get involved in their activities, to the extent that time and my resources permitted it. For a year I tried to contribute to foundation projects of community development, acquiring a series of new abilities and knowledge, that I feel will prove useful in my own career. Thanks to the foundation, I had the opportunity to work with a young and dynamic team, to participate in classes and workshops, to help other Roma ethnics for myself. 

The Ruhama Foundation has been a real support for me, providing me with financial support for rent, food and transportation expenses and thus allowing me to concentrate on study activities, without having to worry about money or taking a job. I wish to thank the Ruhama Foundation team for the lesson taught: help others in need and fight to improve oneself. The year spent with the organisation I will forever remember as a milestone.

Malvina, student of International Relations


I have attended the qualification courses for the occupations of Child Caregiver and Elderly Caregiver held by the Ruhama Foundation firstly out of curiosity and secondly with the aim of becoming a professional both in child care and care for the elderly. I have three younger brothers and in raising and educating my youngest brother I was equally involved as my mother. By attending the course of Child Caregiver, I came to the conclusion that many of the methods tried out on my brother were not exactly correct and the course gave me the opportunity to learn the appropriate child feeding techniques, child motivation techniques, etc.
At present I am a student of the Faculty of Social Sciences, majoring in Social Assistance and a volunteer at the “Gavril Curteanu” Municipal Hospital (Children’s Hospital) where I have had the opportunity to practice all that I have learnt in the course on childcare.
I recommend this course to all future moms!

Dora, course graduate


I am Doina, Loredana’s mother. We are very poor but we used to be worse off. A lot of the times I didn’t know how we were going to get by, how I would provide food my children. It was only the Lord’s mercy that watched over us every day. We were healthy, we could work but nobody wanted to hire us. We always thought of the ones going to work everyday and saw how better off they were than us, the ones who help around people’s houses every now and then.
Then came the day when the people from the Ruhama Foundation came to our community and asked which one of us would like to get hired. Loredana, my daughter, told them she would like to get a job as soon as possible. The people from the foundation helped her with the paperwork. We hoped they could find her something to work. Eventually the foundation got her a job and today she is working. Our life isn’t as harsh anymore. Our debts have gone down. Loredana is our support now.
I have another child who is able to work and I would be very glad if the Ruhama Foundation would find him a job as well.

Doina, mother of an assisted girl


My name is Lia and I am from Telechiu. I used to live in a 4-square meter hut with my husband and 6 children with only a bed made out of some wooden planks. That’s where the children slept. We used to sleep on the ground because we had no floor. There were many times when my husband would stay up all night to protect the children from rat bites because they used to get bitten while they slept. I was often at wits end, so much so that I thought about whether or not it would be better for my children if I’d put them up for adoption. I used to pray to God day and night for help so we could have a house of our own because I saw the suffering of my children, especially at winter time when we would keep their faces warm so they wouldn’t feel the cold that was almost as bad as the one outside.
In 2006 we got a visit in our community from 2 people from the Ruhama Foundation, Alina and Alexandru who we told our story to, alongside 4 other families that were living in conditions no different from ours. Not long afterwards, approximately 2 weeks later, the Foundation held a meeting with all the Roma in the village where we told them what the urgent things that needed to be done in our community were. I prayed people would bring up the housing problems and that is exactly what happened. Then people talked about who needed the houses and of the five houses to be built one was for my family. It was like I was day-dreaming the whole time. I was afraid the foundation would not come and that nothing would get done.
But it happened and all the Romas alongside with the mayor and the foundation worked together and managed to do something unheard of before, to build new houses for Roma which we had only seen done for Romanians before. In the course of time the mayor kept his promise and got us electricity while the foundation dug fountains all over our street. Now I have my own house with electricity and water, the children can grow up without any problems and I send them to school everyday, because that’s the promise I made to the foundation. I hope other people are as lucky as I was.

Lia, beneficiary of a social house


In August the house in which our family lived, my husband, my 3 children of ages between 9 months and 4 years and my father, burnt down. We were left homeless, without a roof over our heads. I went to the town hall to try and get help so I wouldn’t have to live on the streets with my children. My children shouldn’t suffer for this and it’s not fair that they should sleep outside. The mayor supplied us with an uninhabited house, which lacked the basics, was in bad shape and rat infested. One day I got a visit from the gentlemen at the Ruhama Foundation who had heard of our trouble from the neighbours but I had no hopes that they would return. But they had a discussion with the mayor informing him of our situation and the measures that could be taken to resolve it.
Today, because of the Ruhama Foundation, which managed to get donations from generous people, we have the necessary furniture for the house we live in and we are no longer forced to sleep on the floor. My husband found a job as a mason in Oradea, and I receive allowance for the baby and we can better manage our finances. I can honestly say that my family is not the same anymore; we have all regained hope and faith that everything will be alright again.

Maria, CCS beneficiary


I never thought I would get a better life. I was even out of hope. Nobody in my family managed to get employed. The hut we lived in kept coming down on top of us and, regardless of whether we fixed it or not, rain and wind still passed through it and rats came out at night. I would have liked to help my father and my family but I felt like my hands and feet were bound. I would have worked in any conditions because I am young and healthy. I thought it was impossible for me to escape this poverty that plagued my family but that changed when the Ruhama Foundation started to provide counselling in Obor so Romas could get a job. The foundation managed to find work for both me and my brother, which meant the prospect of a better life with plenty of money for food, school for the little ones and other things.
Then the foundation helped us build a better house; they brought us construction materials and our neighbours lent us a helping hand as well. Today I have a safe place to live with my family. I believe it is very important never to lose hope. I would like to thank the people at the Ruhama Foundation especially Marian who always encouraged us and gave us advice.

Vasile, member of an assisted family


After the death of my wife I lost all hope; I was left with nine children of ages between 3 and 20 and, an invalid no less, with an amputated leg. I drowned my sorrows in alcohol, neglecting my family in the process and my children started to beg so they wouldn’t go hungry. Although I was in a pitiful situation and I had no more will to live, I had an epiphany and I searched for possibilities to get out of this hardship. It was in this way that I got in touch with Mr. Balog, a social worker for the Ruhama Foundation and my neighbour in the Obor Roma community in Alesd. He encouraged me to follow the example of Mr. B. Vasile who was in a similar situation himself, having an amputated leg and still managing to work as a street cleaner in the town of Alesd. I gladly listened to his advice but in order to put them to practice I needed a prosthesis.
After this discussion I felt like I could once again become a support for my family, aiding them to the best of my efforts and being there for them.
I was the recipient of a medical pension but this was not enough to cover all the family expenses. I learnt from the Counselling and Support Centre for Parents and Children that I was eligible for a disability pension which in fact I got less than three months later.
Today, because of the Ruhama Foundation, I have come into possession of a prosthesis that helps me a great deal, I can even work around the house to help my family and so the children don’t have to beg anymore. I can say that I have regained my love for life and that is one of my biggest wishes today is to help others in need. Hope is the last to die.

Alexandru, CCS beneficiary


My name is Guti and I am the president of the Initiative Group in Tamasda. At the initiative of the Ruhama Foundation we held a public meeting of the Roma community and we agreed to establish a group to represent the community and its interests. No longer said than done. We had a talk with the people about getting involved in an action for the community’s development. We all agreed that the community’s biggest problem is the poorly functioning road which is impossible to cross during rain. After consulting with the community and the foundation’s team, we decided to build a sidewalk in the community. This sidewalk would be very important for us because our children could reach the school with clean shoes and their colleagues wouldn’t make fun of them anymore because they’re muddy.
Being a local councillor myself alongside Florea we got the Town Hall involved in our action. We basically had 2 partners in our endeavour: The Town Hall and the Ruhama Foundation. The Ruhama Foundation was involved in buying the cement, the Town Hall supplied the gravel and a cement mixer and the initiative group and the community handled the sidewalk construction work. Although initially we thought things will run smoothly because people were eager to participate, we encountered difficulties along the way: the majority of men were at work during the day and the women could not get involved in the construction work. So the work was difficult because it could only be done on weekends and in the afternoons until nightfall.  Seeing the slow progress the Town Hall provided 4 workers to hurry along the work. So here we are today at a community meeting to stroll down the 1400 meter sidewalk that runs along the side of the 2 streets. Now children can get to school with their clothes tidy even when in rains, people can get to work without rubber boots on and we can transport the sick to the ambulance more easily. We are already coming up with plans with the initiative group to solve the problem of drinking water so children won’t get sick anymore.

Guti, Roma leader


My name is Maria, I’m 77 years old, I live in Oradea and I have benefited from the homecare services of the Ruhama Foundation since June 2007. The support I get from the foundation is with my shopping: at the grocery store, at the market; cleaning: vacuuming, dusting, cleaning windows; accompaniment: to pay various bills, to buy medicine.
I would like to thank the Ruhama Foundation for the help and support it has given me; I thank all the people in the foundation for their kind and humane way of treatment, for their understanding and help, especially Camelia – social worker, Ildiko – nurse, and the caregivers Ana and Ileana. I still require their support because I am very ill and I don’t have anyone to help me. I only have gratitude for the foundation and had I known of their existence 4 years ago, I wouldn’t have had these problems with my apartment, no more headaches, no lawsuit, no more endless calls, sleepless nights, knocks on my door from strangers brought by the person with whom I signed a contract with a care giving clause for food, medicine, and expenses in exchange for my apartment, and who did not respect the agreement.
I would like to recommend to other people like myself to look to benefit from the services provided by the Ruhama Foundation, as well as the help and support they extend; I may add with the love that we, the elderly, need.

Maria, assisted elder


I have been a beneficiary of the Ruhama Foundation’s services since 2006 – physical therapy for my husband who is diagnosed with grade I disability. We took a break for a few months but came back because we needed to get him more mobilised; due to his health state he did not fully recover and he has no balance. Together with the foundation’s physical therapists we resumed the exercises recommended by the recovery physician, in parallel with the temporary recovery that the patient is doing in the hospital. Meanwhile, through the foundation’s services, we managed to monitor his TA and TQ values by way of daily measurements, values that reflect the evolution of his health. Moreover, this monitoring process is needed by the family physician to fill out the medical prescription.
It would be efficient if the foundation had a general practitioner at its disposal to keep account of all the cases the foundation has helped with, in order to draw up a biography that would reflect the way the organisation has supported the assisted in time.
An exceptional moment worth mentioning was when the foundation held a social event on the Day of the Elderly, which was a pleasant surprise for the assisted as well as their families. I would like to extend an invitation to the foundation to hold more such events, to the extent of their possibilities, on other occasions.

Viorica, wife of an assisted elder