Kez’s Summer Trip 2016

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This Summer I was lucky to be joined by my dad, Jeremy, who was volunteering with Holding Out Hope for the first time. Our trip consisted of two parts; firstly visiting a home in Vidra, Romania for young adults with HIV and secondly helping at a small group home for children in Ruse, Bulgaria.

Although Holding Out Hope has supported the home in Vidra previously, Peter Brady, the chairman, was shocked after a visit over Christmas 2015 to see the conditions which the disabled young people are currently living in. We decided to form a new relationship with the institution to try and improve the lives of the residents. On our trip, me and my dad were helped by two young Romanians, Alex and Klara. There is a small home next to the large institution which the director intended to move the disabled residents into but she requested the charity’s help with making it suitable. Together with the more able residents we were able to finish off the decorating which Pete and his daughter Jess started on an earlier trip this year. Plastering, cleaning, painting, putting in new beds and decorating. We are pleased to say that they have now moved into this new building and are finally living in suitable conditions. We also gave the residents toiletries and new clothes and shoes. On our final day in Romania we took a group into Bucharest for a special day out together in the centre including bowling, billiards and a special meal of their choice.

We crossed the border into Bulgaria and were joined by a Bulgarian volunteer, Vesela. We visited a small home for 9 children with severe disabilities who originally lived in the large institution, Mogilino, where the terrible conditions of institutional care were exposed in a documentary some years ago. The home is run by an extremely caring director who does her utmost to give the children a better life. Unfortunately, a sheer lack of available funding means that only one carer can be employed to work in the home at any one time and the single carer, is stretched by simply cooking, cleaning, washing and feeding the children. Holding Out Hope was asked to send some volunteers simply to spend time with the children and we were able to give them our full attention and care. Each day we were able to take the children out of the home, provide stimulation, sing songs and help with feeding and bathing. One-to-one attention is so precious for these children and it was a joy to see them smile as they experienced new sensations and interaction. A real highlight was being able to buy some paddling pools and helping them enjoy and explore.

A big thank you to everyone who continues to support our work. The Romanians and Bulgarians who are truly concerned about the care of these children express such gratitude for the help we provide and are encouraged by the fact that there are people from across the world who also care. The happiness we have bought to the children we have helped on our trip is priceless. We always welcome any support and if you are interested in volunteering with the charity or helping in another way please don’t hesitate to contact Peter Brady (pete_brady@outlook.com)

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