Projects Abroad volunteers target key social problems in Romania

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Many column inches have been devoted to negative press for countries such as Bulgaria and Romania, from where it is feared an influx of migrants will soon be coming. Organisation Projects Abroad arranges valuable experiences in these countries, where volunteers help to tackle root social problems.

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Volunteers can significantly improve the lives of children and adults in Romania, and help make a real difference to their future – addressing the real underlying issues behind migration.

According to the Guardian on January 21, 2013, renowned historian Mary Beard recently suffered a torrent of abuse after claiming that the impact of immigration was not the dreadful thing the tabloid press often made it out to be. However, recently published figures from the Office for National Statistics show that net migration to the UK has actually fallen by a third in the year ending June 2012. So what will the ability of more Bulgarian and Romanian citizens to migrate to the UK mean for the country?

With the country still in the grip of tough austerity measures and likely to remain so for the foreseeable future, people are worried about pressures on education, social housing and the health service. However, immigration brings diversity and a huge range of skills (for example in the medical profession) that can be of huge benefit.

When considering the issues around immigration, it's easy to overlook the reasons why people wish to come to the UK. Although part of the European Union, Romania and Bulgaria are still impoverished countries. Volunteer organisations such as Projects Abroad have first-hand experience of working in Romania and are always looking for volunteers who want that same experience.

Many Romanian citizens still live in poverty, and the plight can particularly affect children. Many Projects Abroad volunteers work with children in the care field. Anyone alive in the early 1990s will remember how the plight of Romanian orphans was highlighted by the world's media. Large numbers of neglected orphans throughout the country were in desperate need of help. The Romanian government has been increasing funding for better homes, but Projects Abroad volunteers are still needed in Romanian orphanages.

A Projects Abroad spokesperson explained some of the work that had recently been carried out in Romania: “In recent years there has been a restructuring of the orphanages in the ancient city of Brasov, where Projects Abroad Romania is based. Volunteers can now work in smaller homes for orphans; each housing about 10-12 children aged between 4 and 16 years old.

“We also have a care project based in the paediatric ward of a hospital where volunteers help with the daily care of babies and children.”

Volunteers can significantly improve the lives of children and adults in Romania, and help make a real difference to their future – addressing the real underlying issues behind migration.

About Projects Abroad UK

Established in 1992, Projects Abroad is a leading organiser of volunteer projects, work experience and gap year placements. With a flexible approach and experienced in-country staff Projects Abroad has now helped more than 50,000 volunteers achieve their goals by working with developing communities in more than 25 destinations worldwide.

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David Flaschner
Projects Abroad UK
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