Romania, like much of Europe, remains in a state of alert. There are restrictions in place that impact the way the services FARA provides are delivered. The FARA team are following government legislation and are finding ways to continue to carry out their vital work. FARA Romania has developed a Covid policy and procedure which is shared with all staff and outlines the legislation and best practice required to safeguard beneficiaries and staff.
At present, the Therapy Centres have reopened and are running a reduced number of sessions to allow for cleaning and social distancing rules to be adhered to. The therapists and children are wearing masks and all group therapy has stopped. The programme of support for the families and children online continues and has been extended to complement the delivery of therapy in the reopened Therapy Centres. Children can attend the sessions at the centre, then the parents are given online support to help implement it at home.
The Tackling Poverty Through Education programme is normally delivered through schools, which had to close in March. The FARA teams have continued to deliver both food packages and education support packages to the children in the remote villages. During August, the month of annual leave for employees and the school holidays, the social workers carried on delivering support for the children in the form of teaching games, educational materials and worksheets in order to encourage the children in their learning.
In late August the teachers started to work with small groups of children to support them with reading and maths. Each child received a file of worksheets, notebooks and writing equipment for them to use to do their schoolwork from home. The families also received a fortnightly food package throughout the lockdown, including donated food goods and hygiene products.
The schools reopened at the beginning of September and the children were delighted. They have returned to their familiar routine of school in the morning followed by a hot lunch and an afternoon of educational support from FARA.
The Homes for Life are running smoothly, and life is carrying on calmly and peacefully for the adults. The pandemic has meant that visits into the community have been cancelled, however the joy of living in the countryside means trips out in nature have not been affected so the adults are able to experience some normality in their daily lives.
For the children living in the Family Home in Suceava life is getting back to normal as they return to school. The children spent part of the summer living in Cacica and spending time in the mountains. They are thriving and have been supported with home-schooling throughout the pandemic.
Young adults in the FARA Youth Services programme managed well during the lockdown. As society is beginning to open up and get back to a new ‘normal’ so too are the young adults, attending training and college and getting back to work.
Thank you to all our kind donors, supporters and team at FARA, it is with your kindness, support and hard work that we can continue, through the Covid pandemic, to help the most vulnerable and disadvantaged in Romania’s poorest communities.