The Romanian Aid Foundation
UK Registered Charity Nr 1060828
The Romanian Aid Foundation
with Asociaţia Neemia
Newsletter, January 2012
The latest newsletter has been prepared and will shortly be sent out to those on our mailing list. If you would like to be added to the distribution list then please go to our 'Further Info' page using the link on the left. Below we reproduce the text of the newsletter for those who prefer this medium.
From Steve in Romania: During the Christmas and new year break, when normal activities are on hold and there’s not much to be done outside, I spent the time looking through RoAF’s collection of photographs dating from 1994. So many people - whether helpers or helped - have passed in front of our cameras, each one with their own contribution or their own particular need. Where are they all now?
It’s good to see so many helpers still involved, and new ones joining, but what of those who have been helped? Thankfully, not many of the early beneficiaries are still in the same degree of hardship but it is sad to realise that the overall level of need has risen rather than fallen. Unemployment is still around 50% and we see the same poverty and despair, repeated through another generation. The consolation is that, although we can’t help everybody, we can help a good many.
During the year, four lorries were dispatched from Billingshurst and three originated in south Wales. In all, that represents about 80 tons of aid - not a record for us but nevertheless a very worthwhile amount. This equates to around 300 separate donations each month; a donation can range from a small sum of money for some medicine up to several boxes of food and clothing for a large family.
An initiative from Howard Redwood led to an arrangement with Budgens supermarket in Billingshurst whereby RoAF was able to set up a display of our work outside the supermarket and receive donations of food from the customers. Additional collections from schools in Billingshurst and Wallington have resulted in a total of some 2½ tons of tinned and dried food being received.
Having revived these old memories and many newer ones, I thought that it would be good to share them with you. We have started to put the most suitable photos into an online library, where you can see something of the history and achievements of RoAF and our supporters. It will take some time to add the full collection of photos but the library is now accessible using the link from the website or directly via www.roaf.org/gallery.
At the end of a year that looked very unpromising at its start we are once again in the position to give thanks for all that has been achieved.
From Graham in Horley: The work in Horley is very encouraging, with up to twenty-four people helping to sort and pack clothing on Fridays. An increase in donations is evident, and the lorry loading is going well. The warehouse needs managing and a volunteer warehouse manager on Saturday mornings from 09:30 to 12:30 is an urgent requirement. Transport from Horley to Billingshurst will now become an item that has to be paid for as my van is no longer available.
From Paul in Swansea: The opportunity to visit Dorohoi in the Autumn proved to be a valuable experience. Our established contacts continue to support us with goods, finance and prayer for all aspects of the work, whilst contacts from the business world are generous in their contributions. The introduction of the 'Free Bible' scheme is of particular interest to me.
The 'golden' opportunity to have the use of approx 2,700sq ft of warehouse space together with fittings and equipment, and a well-proven team, demonstrates the way God can work. This enables RoAF in South Wales to cater for everything from small packages to large pallets full of goods.
From Richard in Lampeter: Our lorry has made four trips to Dorohoi this year; 3 loads from Lampeter and Swansea, and 1 from Billingshurst. These loads of aid comprised clothing, shoes, toys, food and 60 new mattresses, which are always well received. We also collected about 10 tons of tinned food from Heinz, which is a very valuable help for people in hard times. About 800 shoeboxes were prepared by local schools and friends from Emmaus Christian Fellowship in Lampeter. In addition, Fellowship members support several families financially on a regular basis.
Wendy Dando co-ordinated the link with Cardiff prison, from where 100 refurbished bikes were taken to Dorohoi this year. Adult bikes are often essential for men to go to work, whilst children’s bikes are popular too.
We have supported the Bechet family throughout the year, refurbishing their home and helping with their wedding in May - a special time. The house is now completely insulated, with a new stove, kitchen and bathroom. They have mains water, a shower and a toilet indoors. A success story, for which we praise God.
Our next trip from Lampeter and Swansea will be in April, when we look forward to seeing our friends in Dorohoi again and continuing our support. Thank you to all our supporters who have helped materially and financially, especially to Paul and Gloria in Swansea whose continued support is much appreciated.
Trustees: Chris Edmonds stood down from his position as a trustee of RoAF at the end of 2011. Chris has been chairman of the trustees since 2006 and not least amongst his achievement are the resolution of the rates debate for the Salfords warehouse and the establishment of a new operating group in Swansea. Chris and his wife Ellena are keen to continue supporting the work of RoAF and AN, working with the team in south Wales, and we thank them for their commitment.
We welcome Roger Kidd to the board of trustees. Roger and his wife Mary have been RoAF supporters for many years and their son, Robert, was an enthusiastic member of the Horley warehouse team until a career move took him away from the area. Roger brings considerable experience in both business and agriculture, and we look forward to benefiting from his further involvement with RoAF.
Joy in a Box, 2011: Approximately 2,500 Christmas gift boxes were distributed to children and families in the two weeks leading up to Christmas. There are more photos on our Joy in a Box 2011 leaflet and on the website, where you can also find further details of how you can participate in the scheme next year. In previous years, sorting and checking the Christmas boxes has often been a cold and tedious task but the refurbished space on the first floor of the warehouse has made the task much more efficient and enjoyable.
From Beni in Dorohoi: Last year we described the busy-ness of the Asociatia Neemia team in Dorohoi during the two weeks leading up to Christmas. The fortnight prior to Christmas each year is our busiest time but the period at the beginning of each year is a close second. The accounts for both RoAF and AN need to be reviewed and finalised, fresh stock is put into the shop, plus of course this newsletter has to be written, printed and distributed.
Particularly at this time of year we get many people asking for help with food or heating costs. Fuel costs in Romania are disproportionately high and we can help only in the most severe cases. Food is easier to supply, whether from the various ‘Harvest’ collections or the bulk supplies received from the UK, or from the produce of the land at the warehouse. However, these stocks do have a limit and the ability to help people is dependent upon the supply continuing.
During the summer we were able to carry out some refurbishment of the warehouse at Dealu Mare. Most of the windows on the ground floor have been replaced with second-hand double-glazed units. The first floor has been strengthened and a level surface laid whilst the roof has been insulated and lined with white panelling. This has made the space much more usable and a more pleasant place in which to work.
In the autumn, sponsorship from south Wales allowed AN to give 60 Bibles and New Testaments to those who asked for them. Demand for these Scriptures remains high and a further 40 will be available in the new year.
Thinking about the quantity and quality of the goods that we received during this past year, I realise the amount of effort that has been required to get it all to us. We really appreciate that effort, and thank you for it.
Summary of Finances: Despite the unpromising economic situation, we are able to praise God for the way in which the work of RoAF and AN has been able to continue and expand during 2011.
1. The figures above for both 2011 and 2010 are taken from the finalised accounts for their respective years.
2. Transport costs are linked to the price of fuel and to the exchange rate between the pound and the euro. Fuel prices continue to rise but the full impact has been masked by an improved exchange rate during 2011 and a reduction in the number of lorries.
3. The new warehouse in Billingshurst has meant increased costs with effect from January 2011. These figures do not include any warehousing costs in south Wales.
4. Publicity costs in 2010 included the purchase of materials and equipment which were then available for use in subsequent years.
5. Our thanks are due once again to Graham Howard and Helen Cathcart for keeping our finances in order.
Thank you to all those who have made donations of time, goods and money to help this work continue.
This newsletter is published on behalf of the Romanian Aid Foundation and Asociatia Neemia. For further information or to be added to the newsletter mailing list please use our response page or write to us using the contact details below:
The Romanian Aid Foundation
179 Albert Road, Horley, Surrey RH6 7HS or Oaklea, Temple Bar, Lampeter, Ceredigion, SA48 8BQ
The Romanian Aid Foundation is UK Registered Charity No. 1060828.
Str Spiru Haret nr 9 bk16, Dorohoi, Botosani, Romania.
This newsletter is © Romanian Aid Foundation, January 2012.
RoAF can now accept on-line donations towards our work in Romania.
© The Romanian Aid Foundation, September, 2014.