Thousands of needy children received fully loaded backpacks from several Orthodox churches in Bucharest on Monday.
The recipients included 3,000 children from needy families and 1,000 from Ukrainian refugee families. The gifts were distributed at the Church of St. John the Russian in Bucharest, provided by six parishes in cooperation with the World Vision Romania organization
The students were selected on social grounds, being registered by Bucharest’s Sector 6 General Directorate of Social Assistance and Child Protection (DGASPC).
The event was attended by Ciprian Ciucu, Mayor of Bucharest’s Sector 6, Gabriela Schmutzer, Director General of DGASPC Sector 6, Nicoleta Trăistaru, School Inspector of Primary Education, and representatives of World Vision Romania.
“The Deanery, in its mission to provide help and comfort, supports, in partnership with the City Hall of Sector 6, disadvantaged groups, the elderly and children, through numerous social projects. For this, we are grateful and thank them. Today, we are happy because, together with World Vision Romania, we have come to the aid of 4000 children who will have the opportunity to start school in optimal conditions. We want to continue helping them throughout the year.”
“The gift for the Ukrainian children is also a comfort, as they are deprived of the joy of childhood and their parents’ home. Although they are far from their schools, we believe we can help them have a quality education. We thank our partners and the six parishes in the Sector who have financially supported today’s action,” said Fr. Costel Burlacu, Dean of Sector 6.
The Sector 6 Deanery has been involved in preventing and combating school dropout since its establishment in 2014, reaching approximately. 8,000 beneficiaries.
“There are a few more days, and then school starts. We, parents, grandparents, and authorities are concerned that each of our children starts school ready. I am glad that the Deanery of Sector 6, through Rev. Dean Costel Burlacu’s care, is with the community and the children and supports education. A strong community means a united community: School, Church, local authorities in close cooperation and involved,” the Mayor of Sector 6, Ciprian Ciucu, said on August 29.
The Ukrainian children who received backpacks and school supplies are in the care of World Vision Romania and DGASPC Sector 6. Since the beginning of the conflict in Ukraine, World Vision has helped more than 150,000 refugees worldwide, mostly women and children. In Romania, the foundation has helped around 60,000 refugees.
“We are happy to be partners in this project, which targets in particular Ukrainian children and, in general, children at risk of dropping out of school due to financial difficulties. Today’s event was made possible by the great results we have achieved through the opening of two centers (Happy Bubble) for the community integration of Ukrainian refugees (mothers and children), one at Brâncuși Parish, and the other at the Lord’s Ascension Parish, both under the Sector 6 Deanery,” said Mariana Arnăutu, Education Specialist – World Vision Romania.
In the Happy Bubble centers, children have daily access to socio-educational services, counseling for trauma management, Romanian language courses, and age-specific activities for harmonious development and social inclusion (creative workshops, play therapy, interaction with children from Romanian communities, excursions, etc.).
Photography courtesy of Basilica.ro / Mircea Florescu