Volunteers take environmental concern to new levels in Romania

The camp, organized by Transylvanian Ecological Camp in partnership with World Vision Romania, took place in August in the Padis tourist area of Apuseni Natural Park. The park boasts the largest karsts in Romania, with canyons, enormous sinkholes, a wide range of interconnected caves and a stone fortress.

“Our main purpose is to educate our volunteers and give them an opportunity to truly care for nature. This is the best way we can position them to be agents of change for a better future,” says Gabriel Parauan, president of the Transylvanian Ecologic Club. “Being an ecologist means practicing common sense,” he adds.

“Being an ecologist means practicing common sense”

Twenty-six volunteers climbed high mountainous slopes with large plastic bags on their backs to collect rubbish left by tourists. Although there are special places to dispose of rubbish, local authorities do not clean it up on time. The buildup leads tourists to discard their rubbish other places.

“The indifference of the tourists fills me with indignation. It is very important that NGOs organize activities and campaigns to change people’s attitude towards nature,” says Alexandra Trifan, a 19 year-old World Vision volunteer.

“You cannot provoke change without setting an example yourself. I guess that is why I went to this camp - to help change people’s hearts and minds regarding Mother Nature’s needs. We met with tourists on the mountain tracks who admired our initiative and thanked us,” says Ghita Todica, a World Vision staff.

This is the first year World Vision has partnered with the Ecological Club to support the camp, which the club has been organizing for 15 years. World Vision contributed food, tents, logistical assistance and human resources.

World Vision is committed to increasing awareness and care of the environmental. The organization plans to organize similar activities with rural communities in Cluj County, where volunteers will join school children in environmental campaigns and cleanup activities beginning this September.