Volunteers from an Isle of Man charity have traveled to Romania to deliver essential aid with support from the Steam Packet Company.
Hands of Hope was established in 2005 to provide aid to communities in an area of Romania roughly the same size as the Island. It is a small organisation with four volunteer trustees who work with partner charity Lumina Pentru Copii (Light for Children) in the eastern European country.
The charity was formed after Ruth and Chris Baker, who are trustees, visited a Romanian orphanage in 2003 and decided they wanted to help families living in poverty. Volunteers have visited the country several times a year since to deliver aid, spending several months at a time Dorohoi.
The Steam Packet Company has regularly supported the journeys by assisting with the cost of travel to and from the Island.
Volunteers left for the latest visit last week, taking a trailer of aid including clothes, shoes and educational materials, plus IT equipment to be used in the charity’s community centre. They will return to the Isle of Man in May.
Ruth explained: ‘On our first visit we realised many of the children were not true orphans but had been abandoned by their parents who lived in such poor circumstances that they felt their children were better off in an orphanage than at home with them.
‘With this in mind Hands of Hope tries to help families to stay together by building new homes on land the charity owns, enabling them to be more self-sufficient. We support poor and marginalised families, children’s education in mainstream schools and a centre for children with additional needs. We also distributes aid and food parcels.’
She added: ‘Over the years the Isle of Man Steam Packet Company has generously assisted with the cost of for ferry crossings, which has been a great help as we pay for travel personally, not from charity funds. I’d like to thank them for their continued support.’
Isle of Man Steam Packet Company Chief Executive Mark Woodward said: ‘Hands of Hope is a small but hard-working charity which we have been pleased to help over the years. They are doing important work helping families living in poverty to stay together, and delivering essential aid, and I’m pleased we are once again able to help.’
Children from one of the four classes at Horlaceni village school with Christmas shoe boxes delivered on a previous visit