The Camp in Valea Screzii village, Prahova county, Romania
Father Nicolae Tănase
Everything started in Bucharest, in 1990, when poet Ioan Alexandru, also the senator for our county back then – now reposed in the Lord – got back from a conference in Oslo, where he basically “learnt” that the unborn had rights, too. That is when we started up our association — we called it “Saving Life – Provita Brâncoveanu”. During one of our conferences, a young woman, a student, got up and said: “I would like to keep my child, but neither of my parents know about it and I have no means to raise it.” — and because we offered to raise her child, that was the first child we took care of. Since then, over 1000 children have been raised or taken care of by our association. Some of them left, some stayed with their mothers for a month or two, and others were taken by their parents/relatives. We have likely had more than 1000 children in our care so far. At the moment we have only 208.
[Both in the camp and in the village, Fr. Nicolae takes care of orphan children and pregnant mothers, an initiative that has proven a fortunate alternative to the state-run orphanage system.]
In the camp, we have 28 small children; 11 children of school age; 36 girls — all of whom had been sent out of orphanages; 11 mothers with children; 6 girls whom we helped to get married, who have a total of 11 children; and three families, one of which has 9 children, and another one 12 children.
Our whole community basically lives on “begging”. We have been “begging” – in a more indirect way and so we live, in a rather not so visible way. We get everything we have that way: from food, to money, as well as some revenues from items that we sell ourselves. Our most important issue has been the building of houses, which would provide us with independence in terms of space and the general management of our community.
This would be achieved easily if we didn’t have to buy our food — and we do get food from Priests, monasteries, or from people who grow and market vegetables. There are also Romanians abroad who have been helping us; not to a spectacular extent; but they do. And there are also foreign citizens who have helped us. And it’s good that they do, only that everybody seems to have this idea that we don’t have enough clothes, but we do have clothes. What we don’t have is cement, doors, windows, concrete, wood that is, money to buy all these.
[For Christmas, MinimaxTV and its partners decided to make a surprise to the children and offered them a bus full of presents and cartoon films.]
So far, the government has not helped us. We hope that it will, soon. The question is whether there is eventually be a limit to all that we have been carrying out here. Because if we do reach a limit at some point, we will not be able to meet all our needs. We should make it so that we don’t encounter any such limitations. Helping should have no limits.
There are clergy who have managed to do more in the county of Alba, in the county of Cluj; also in Craiova there are Priests and even Bishops who have done a lot, a lot of things.
I suppose we will “go down in history” as people who have tried to put something together.
In order to avoid creating any discrepancies between our children and the children in the village, we have seen that the latter, too, have access to certain facilities that the village doesn’t have, such as the park, the slide, and the rest.
That way, on the one hand, our children have friends to play with and on the other hand, the village children aren’t discriminated and they don’t get jealous — which means that in 10 or 15 years from now, it’s all good. Because if the orphan children “lived better” than the village children, this would create “something” at some later point in their lives this experience will get “recorded” in their mind and it would eventually surface somehow.
Thus every time we receive various items and supplies, throughout the year, we also share everything with the school, so that both our children and the village children get everything we get.
After these 14 years of experience in our community, we have noticed that the people who have given us something come back to give us more – because they themselves notice that things are starting to change in their lives – in their families, companies, etc – and they come back. We can say that the people who give, are quite constant about it – and I would like to take this opportunity to thank all of those who have been helping us. Of course, all we have is our words, to thank them but God rewards them in concrete ways, which go beyond one’s mere contentment for having helped some people in need.
So this is how our community has come to life and how it has been living.
Minimax wishes to thank all its partners which have helped it to carry out this initiative: [end].