How has the good turned into a pandemic?
The work of many organizations has been shaken by the beginning of the pandemic. What means did they find to continue their mission?
The pandemic has shaken everyone's lives. While the need for support among communities has increased, the capacity of organizations has been limited. However, there were enough NGOs that managed to stay close to the people in the new conditions. How can you help and stay safe? It's the big question that organizations that came into direct contact with beneficiaries had to answer.
Through the #linia2 campaign initiated by the Association for Community Relations, we got to know the stories of the organizations in Romania that continued their mission after March 2020 and we had something to learn from them. We were impressed by the impulse of those who did not stop helping their fellow human beings and their ability to rethink, reorganize and adapt the programs so that their beneficiaries would receive support in these difficult times.
A year ago we started thinking about an education project that would talk about some central themes of today's world: global warming, food waste and why it is still important to recycle (to throw away the garbage produced by us separately). It is a course designed in an interactive way, which will keep the students' attention together with elements of technology, precisely because we need to speak their language as much as possible.
Before this pandemic situation began, we had all the workshops scheduled and set up by the end of the semester in June. We were able to hold the first physical workshop, until the restrictions were put in place and the schools were closed.
Immediately after the Easter holidays we started to hold online workshops, having two workshops a week with various classes from several schools in Cluj. For us it was an unexpected and welcome challenge. Because we were no longer face to face, we continued to learn through online play through various polls, games and quizzes and we discovered that students are open to such topics, but they are also your most ardent observers. For them, we always learn how to deliver them in message in the most interactive and honest way possible. We will continue with our workshops until the end of the semester as we initially established, glad that we have adapted to this situation and what this opportunity has taught us for. We love what we do and believe in the power of education done with ethics and freedom of thought.
As we well know, the HoReCa industry has been and continues to be extremely affected during this pandemic period. Restaurants have had to close their doors since the first few days of the crisis. Most of them have reinvented themselves and reoriented themselves massively towards delivery, thus continuing to meet the needs of consumers and maintain a close relationship with their clientele. As a result, our restaurant projects have also had to suspend their activity indefinitely.
However, we are also seeing a good side in this time of pandemic. It comes from the consumer, due to the constraints of this period. Having to resort to delivery services and consume restaurant food at home, he will surely keep what remains on his plate for later. We hope this will become a healthy habit for the post-pandemic period in restaurants as well.
"We were in the midst of preparations to launch BufKids, the second day care center of the Hercules Association, on the day when the state of emergency was decreed in Romania. At the end of March we were going to open the gates of the beautiful center of Buftea, which for two years we built from scratch together with our partners, Habitat for Humanity. Few things were yet to be completed in March, but essential: the connection to utilities and the completion of the selection process of the 50 young beneficiaries.
We were of course very disappointed that we could not welcome the children into what we hoped would become the second home for them. But we did not give up, despite the impediments.
After a week of natural confusion – during which we were also involved in the endowment of two hospital wards in Costesti and Bucharest – we managed to complete the social surveys by phone, talking to the children and parents. The investigations were conducted by Gabriela, social worker, flori, educational instructor, Elena, psychologist Buff Kids. 49 children are now beneficiaries of the day care center, and the waiting list is long.
The budgeted money for the center's canteen and other money raised was turned into food packages, masks and hygiene products that we distributed in the community at the gates of families in difficulty. Although deprived of adequate resources (laptops, phones), a large part of the children participated in lessons and creative activities coordinated by Flowers. At flexible hours and using their parents' phones, we were able to help the children with homework when they had major problems, and with the transition to the "state of alert", we began to meet with two children from the same family, in the courtyard of the center, for a partial assessment of the children's educational situation. In addition to the constant distribution of packages with masks and food, this is currently the main activity of the center: to see the children, one by one, outside, in very small groups (two by two) and keeping social distance."
"The main activity of our association consists in carrying out socio-educational campaigns in the disadvantaged localities of Romania, with the aim of reducing school dropout. At least four times a year, we meet with students in schools and spend with them a day full of activities, games and surprises.
The covid-19 crisis has had a very strong impact on the association's activity and on the volunteers. The biggest challenge was to adapt the profile of our socio-educational campaigns to the new safety rules and turn them into "remote" campaigns. We have cancelled the campaigns scheduled for April and June, with the promise that we will return when we can operate safely.
We consider that the current situation is a decisive factor for dropping out of school, especially in disadvantaged areas, which is why we have decided to offer, in addition to psychological, social and basic product support, technological support for children who need to continue their studies online.
The main ATTU COVID19 campaign:
– the educational direction, through which we offer SMART devices for 130 students of the General School cls I-VIII from Puiești commune, Vaslui County, in order to continue their studies and participate in online courses (we will ensure the periodic loading of prepaid cards with internet option, since the locality does not have an internet connection). We estimate that by the end of the campaign we will offer material support worth over 50,000 RON.
– the social direction, through which we aim to help monthly with basic food products between 5-10 disadvantaged families and 5 elderly people in Bucharest, beneficiaries who have been directly and drastically impacted by the COVID-19 crisis. On May 30, we reached 5 isolated elderly people and 40 people who were directly affected by the coronavirus crisis to bring them food.
The United Youth Country Association is actively donating distributive processing power through volunteer computers to support the scientific initiative Folding@Home, which prioritizes computerized research/ simulations to find a vaccine against COVID. After identifying achievable technical solutions, we implemented ATTU is Folding@HOME, by using cloud technical resources combined with the participation of ATTU volunteers who got involved and donated their own computers. (team page)
We have started a campaign to promote responsible behavior during the epidemic, carried out strictly internally. Attu volunteers gladly participated in this project and each shared an aspect of the fight against the virus, in accordance with the recommendations of the Romanian state authorities. The video can be accessed here.
We have continued the mentoring project carried out since October 2019 in collaboration with one of our strategic partners, in the family-type centers in Izvoarele and Secaria communes (Prahova County).
In this regard, a platform was created on the ATTU website (mentorat.ongattu.ro), where the beneficiaries accessed distance learning tools and received one-on-one mentoring sessions, summing up about 300 hours of tutoring for the preparation for the exam subjects (mathematics, lb. Romanian, history, geography s.a.md).
More details about the project, here."
You can read the entire series about #linia2 here. For more details about the campaign, write to us at email@example.com.