The Jacodu Children’s Project was launched in September 2010 and currently supports 52 children from a poor community. The aims of the project are to educate the children, to give them life opportunities that their parents have not had and stop cycles of poverty in future generations.
To do this the project aims to re-build their homes and re-build their lives, giving the families basic rights such as toilets, electricity, dry and warm homes. The approach is to understand their way of life and to treat them with respect and without judgement, therefore understanding why there are communities living without basic rights and hope.
The Jacodu Children’s Project has a long-term vision, by protecting and nurturing the children of today in this Roma community, we can ensure that their children will not live the same helpless lifestyle. The aim of the project has a long-term goal reaching future generations, what the project means is that a community of poor families is empowered and extreme poverty will be eradicated in the next generation. The Jacodu Children’s Project is an example of how the potential in children can lift their community from squalor and hopelessness.
We have an afterschool program takes place at our Learning Centre. While the young people now attend school more regularly, they still remain illiterate due to poor attendance in the past. A special needs teacher works with small groups of the children using basic teaching methods and tools, which they are able to understand and learn from. Originally the program was for the teenagers who have moved on to secondary education, but younger children from the primary school have been asking if they also can also take part. This enthusiasm is encouraged and considering that neither schools have resources for a special need’s teacher, the education program has been extended to reach more children from the project. We also have an IT room were the young people learn basic skills.
This program was launched for teenage girls on the Jacodu project with a view to teach them skills to make items of clothing and soft furnishings that are sold, to help make the project self-sufficient. Eventually the items will extend to candles and jewellery, the teenagers will have learned skills and a trade that will see them part of a profit-sharing project. This also gives them the opportunity to learn how to manage money and how to be financially independent.
We provide transport for children to travel from Jacodu to Vetca for school, and also from Jacodu to Sangeorgiu de Padure for those who attend further education. Without this transport to school, these children wouldn’t attend and would abandon school.
The project also makes transport regularly available for, access to health care, access to medication and access to legal aid. Jacodu is a remote village where not even a doctor is available on a weekly basis, when the doctor has visited, there is no means to access a pharmacy or specialist doctors. A transport program takes prescriptions for medication to a pharmacy fifteen miles from the village and is available to make hospital visits.
Often it is necessary to obtain new or renew existing legal documents, register babies, apply for or renew identification papers for teenagers and adults. Without transport the families at Jacodu have great difficulties in attending to these issues.
Over the many years that Love Light Romanian has been working in Jacodu we have always grown our own crops; this has expanded over the years and we now have larger fields and more growing areas. We have multiple Poly Tunnels where we grow vegetables, the produce that we grow is for use at The Sanctuary, most of this is frozen and preserved to be eaten over winter. The children also have a gardening project, the produce they grow they take back to their families. This activity shows both the children and the families what the children can achieve.
Education is the heart of the project, therefore school items are collected and distributed to the two schools associated with Jacodu, as well as the education program. The appeal is on-going and items are collected and delivered throughout the year. The two schools have poor resources and the families from the project have no means of purchasing school equipment, therefore this appeal ensures that the children receive the same chance to learn as the other pupils.
Clothes & Footwear
Before the project started, the children and teenagers at the Roma community in Jacodu were living a life without clothes and shoes, this meant they could not attend school. The clothes and footwear parcels are made up for individual children and teenagers, ensuring they are adequate and the correct size. Clothes and footwear are a basic right and without them, there was no other choice but to function with ill-fitting items. Supplying the clothes and footwear allows the children and teenagers to attend school, integrate into society and leave the feral lifestyle behind. Several appeals are made throughout the year for the following:
- Spring/Summer clothes parcels
- Spring/Summer footwear
- Winter clothes parcels
- Winter boots
- Back to school clothes parcel and footwear
The Christmas Appeal
For the young people at the Jacodu Children’s project, Christmas is now a time that does exist for them they are no longer forgotten. Each child and teenager receive their own Christmas shoebox and gift.
Summer Activity Program
Our summer activity program has taken place over many years, both for the Sanctuary residents and also the young people from our Roma support projects. We welcome volunteers and lasting friendships are made. The program can be made up of time in the mountains, either at a hotel or a camp, day trips, activities are arranged around the skills of the volunteers. Much fun is always had by all and many memories are made.