While some people spent their half-term holiday relaxing, Bob Newsome (commercial director at Dentisan) and a group of colleagues spent a week hard at work on behalf of the Networks charity, helping the local community in Siria; a small rural village in Western Romania, close to the border with Hungary.
Dentisan’s association with Networks was established five years ago when Bob was introduced to its founder and president, Lee Saville.
Networks has existed for 10 years and works with the ‘poorest of the poor’ in Romania lifting people out of the immediate crises they face and helping them to become independent.
Being part of the European Union, Romania is not commonly thought of as being a country in need, but in many rural areas the population lives in extreme poverty.
Many large families exist in single room, mud houses, with no running water, electricity, or proper sanitation.
The climate in Romania adds to the problems faced by the population, with summer temperatures reaching in excess of 40°C, while in the winter they can plummet to -40°C, making survival a challenge in itself.
In the spring and summer, Networks supports micro-enterprise projects – providing seeds so that villagers can grow flowers and vegetables, or providing oil and flour to make bread which can then be sold.
One of the most successful of these micro-enterprises is Dece hats – Networks provides wool and patterns, to enable the village women to work from home, knitting Dece hats, and looking after their children. The hats are then sold to provide the women with an income.
Bob spent his week in Romania helping renovate a farm building that will eventually house between 20 and 30 homeless men, who would otherwise have faced life on the streets during the bitter winter months.
Bob goes to Romania he says to ‘put a bit of perspective back into my life’, but he also sees it as a personal challenge and is his way of making a very small contribution to the lives of others.
For more information on Networks visit www.networks.org.ro, and to see a micro-enterprise in action go to www.decehats.com.
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