Isle of Man Steam Packet Company again supports charity trip to Romania


The Company has regularly supported the work of Hands of Hope, established in 2005 to provide aid to communities in an area of the country roughly the same size as the Isle of Man.

It has now provided further backing by assisting with the cost of travel to and from the Island.

The volunteers, who are also helping develop a Community Centre for disadvantaged children in the eastern European country, left for the latest visit in March, taking with them a trailer of clothes, shoes and educational materials.

The group will stay for three months in the northern village of Cobila and return to the Isle of Man in June, before again setting off for a second trip until early October, which is also supported by the Steam Packet Company.

Hands of Hope was formed after Ruth and Chris Baker of Douglas visited a Romanian orphanage in 2003 and, moved by what they saw, decided they wanted to help families living in poverty. They and other volunteers have visited the country several times a year since to deliver aid, spending many months there at a time.

Ruth, one of the trustees, explained: ‘It became clear from our first visit that many children lived in such poor conditions.

‘Since then, we have been able to take out aid to help the disadvantaged and vulnerable, as well as develop the ongoing work of the Community Centre, installing a new spiral staircase to utilise the upper floor.

‘Although it is getting easier to source aid in Eastern Europe, there are still things which, even second hand, are of a better quality or better value so travelling across land and sea twice a year is a valuable exercise.

‘The centre at the charity site in Cobila is used for homework sessions, extra tuition, activities and children’s fun days.

‘Allowing children to access education and reach their full potential is important as we see this as one clear way of escaping the poverty trap. Poor children are often marginalised at school if they cannot afford the necessary text books and school supplies.’

She added: ‘It has been great to team up again this year with the Isle of Man Steam Packet Company. The company’s generous support for our work in Romania, helping with the cost of ferry crossings, 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 obviously a very dedicated charity which we are once again pleased to help. Its work is clearly making a difference by helping families in poverty stay together and by providing essential aid.’