Angela is a smart, active and talkative 13 years old girl living in southern Romania. She has big black eyes and a playful look, which spreads energy all around. As many children in rural areas, Angela used to have only a few joys and opportunities for development. The limits of her village were the limits of her universe. Every day, she divided her time between school and helping her parents at household chores. Her only joy was the time spent together with her friends on the dusty alleys of their village, playing with improvised toys. In 2008 World Vision started the Sponsorship Programme in her community and things took a new turn for Angela, giving her the chance to enjoy the educational activities she had been missing.
Angela lives together with her parents and Remus, her 16 years old brother. Her family is a modest, but a hardworking one. In their community, statistics speak for themselves: out of 4600 inhabitants, only 384 people work in the public institutions in the community: church, dispensary, City Hall, food stores or commute every day to work in the nearby factories and greenhouses. Migration is an issue: 17.5% of the inhabitants have left their families to work abroad.
A couple of years ago, Angela's father found work as a welder near the city. Every day, he wakes up early in the morning and comes back late at night, when the children are almost asleep. Though the commute is expensive and tiresome, this job means a lot for the entire family: "Most of the people in our village survive by working the land and growing animals. It is essential to have a stable income, to be able to buy what is necessary for the children. Every day they have to walk one hour to school. They need proper clothes and shoes, especially in the cold season when they have to face harsh weather conditions", says Angela's father.
Angela's first contact with World Vision was the first letter she wrote to her sponsor.
When World Vision set up a Children's Club in Angela's community, she was one of the first children to attend. The Club, equipped with furniture, games, toys, books and computers was an ideal environment for children to be involved in leisure and extra-curricular activities: painting, drawing, reading and playing team games.
"The atmosphere created in the club was a magical one: the vibrant laughter of children, the smell of books and the multi-coloured toys made us feel like we were in a fairytale. I liked to go to the club and spend time with my friends in a pleasant and constructive way.” shares Angela.
In 2012, World Vision opened Community Initiative Clubs in Angela's community and in 9 other partner communities. The activities in this kind of club are quite different from the ones in traditional clubs. Meetings are held once or twice a week and are coordinated by two/four volunteers, trained in advance. The learning is based on four components: active citizenship, commitment, social entrepreneurship and leadership. Clubs help youth become agents of change, develop social, civic and life skills and abilities, with long-term impact on community. The main tool for learning during the club meetings is represented by project writing and implementation.
Angela received this new opportunity with great excitement and she became one of the most active members of the club. She and her best friends, Sandra, 13, and Mihaela,13, are the ones who help the leader of the club organise all activities. In time, their club, named “Skilled hands”, became specialised in creating hand-made products, using the quilling technique. When the products are finalised, children organise selling expositions and raise money for the children in need in their village. At the club, children have also developed projects through which they renovated the park and cleaned the entire community.
“We are friends and we enjoy doing lot of things together. Apart from making others happy, our heart is happy too”, adds Angela.
Being among top students at school and also an active volunteer, Angela participated in World Vision Summer School that was organised in a mountain resort. There, she took part in workshops on fundraising, project writing, photography and public speaking, entirely facilitated by World Vision specialists. She also made a lot of new friends, visited beautiful places and returned homebeing excited and full of plans:
"It was really interesting to learn how to take a good photo and also how to present myself and speak in front of a public. We also discussed about our communities and children's needs and we came up with some nice ideas that I want to share with my friends and put into practice in our community", shares Angela.
Being passionate about music and having a warm voice, Angela became part of the school chorus. In order to facilitate children's learning, World Vision donated the necessary musical instruments (electronic pipe organ, guitar, and flute) to the school along with traditional costumes for children. The children participate in different local, regional, national contests and festivals and also sing in the community whenever there is a celebration. They always come back with prizes and beautiful experiences:
”We have a very nice activity. We have rehearsals every week and we prepare carefully for every contest. Last year, we managed to take first prize at a regional Festival of Carols, being better than other groups from towns. It was amazing for us all," shares Angela proudly.
Angela is a girl who would never stop experiencing. She is active, involved, enthusiastic, and eager to meet new people and learn new things. She is a teenager with initiative and participated in different exchange activities in the country with World Vision’s support.
"On these occasions I met new children and we learned from each other. I also reached places I only dreamt about. I saw the sea for the first time and I couldn't stop watching....", remembers Angela.
“World Vision opened new horizons for children in our community. The school has been modernised and equipped with furniture and educational materials. Children attend classes with pleasure and enjoy a lot the educational activities. In time, they have started to get more and more involved in the life of our community and do good deeds. They have plans for the future and believe in their power", says Elisabeta Vieru, World Vision community worker in Angela's community.
At present, Angela is a seventh grade student. She wants to go to high school in town to study arts or attend a pedagogical profile, as she dreams to become a singer or a teacher. She doesn't know which exactly for now, but no matter the decision she will take, one thing she knows for sure: "I am ready, prepared and look forward to it," Angela concludes.