Transylvania - Giving something back

Giving something back

Haystacks, Horea, Transylvania, Romania by Paul BrummellMany charities work to support the preservation of traditional architecture and rural livelihoods © Paul Brummell 

Following the Romanian Revolution in 1989, a number of television programmes in western Europe highlighted to a shocked audience the excesses of the regime of Nicolae Ceauşescu, most harrowingly scenes of children who had been subjected to appalling treatment in Romania’s orphanages. In the United Kingdom, two episodes of the reality TV show Challenge Anneka were set in Romania: one involved aid to the children of the Siret orphanage in Moldavia; the other, set in Transylvania, involved the construction of an emergency facility at the hospital in Târgu Mureş.

Many charities were set up by people who had been shocked at what they had seen, and who wanted to help. These often started out as simple donations of toys and clothes, sent to Romania by the lorryload. But a number of charities offered specialised support in a range of fields, from supporting the deinstitutionalisation of children from orphanages into smaller family-like homes to helping to establish a system of palliative care in Romania.

Other organisations developed in response to Ceauşescu’s destructive environmental and rural policies, including the ‘systematisation’ of rural villages into modern apartment blocks, and have continued to support the preservation of traditional architecture and rural livelihoods. There are some great organisations working across Transylvania which welcome support, from donations of various kinds to volunteering. These include Asociaţia ACCEPT, ADEPT, the Mihai Eminescu Trust, and Pro Patrimonio.

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