The Biggin Hill Romania Group
The Biggin Hill Romania Group (BHRG) was formed following a television appeal in 1990. After the end of Nicolae Ceausescu’s repressive regime, the rest of the world finally saw the truth of the country’s poverty and suffering, which included around 150,000 Romanian orphans, living in deprived conditions. Despite changes over the years, there are many children and young people at risk in some parts of the country.
Initially the BHRG intended to relieve the distress of sick and disabled children, but moved on to distributing aid to hospitals, dental surgeries, schools and churches. In 1997 the group opened the Robert Cole Centre in Comanesti, north east Romania, for children with special needs. More than 70 children attend regularly as well as others from mainstream schools who come for physiotherapy and speech therapy. The Centre aims to help each child reach their potential, and to encourage their acceptance by wider society.
In 2007 the Foundations for Life Centre was opened at the Centre, to help the first ‘graduates’ of the centre with vocational and life skills once they reach 20 years of age.
The family and shoe box appeal takes place in the Autumn. Gift boxes are transported to Comanesti to be distributed amongst the most needy, including many Roma children who would otherwise receive nothing at Christmas. Blankets, scarves, mittens and hats, knitted by Craft and Chatter members and others, are sent out regularly. Donations of good condition children’s and adult clothes are either given to those in desperate need, or sold in the Group’s small shop, with all profits going to the project.
Might you be able to help bring a smile to a needy child this Christmas? Details are on the noticeboard at the back of church or www.bigginhillromaniagroup.com