December 2010: Newsletter

Hello to all our friends and supporters!

We last wrote to you in May and a lot has happened since then. Over the Summer period Sarah spent seven weeks in Jibou contributing to the work of HOHR. In August, Lacry, one of our long-standing volunteers in Romania, got married: Sarah and Karen were there for the wedding. Here in the UK in September we had our second annual ‘Walk Of Hope’ to raise funds and in October and November we have been busy packing Christmas boxes for children in Jibou and the surrounding area.

While in Jibou Sarah spent time doing practical HOHR tasks such as buying food for food parcels, which is hard work and time-consuming. Sarah and Rodica also managed to take a group of the Roma children out for a visit to the local botanical gardens one day, a rare treat for those children and a chance to get away from the hardships of their lives for a few hours. Sarah also had the opportunity to visit some of the families we have been supporting while she was in Jibou and to liaise with the new social worker, as it has always been important for us to work closely with the Romanian authorities.

In August Lacry’s wedding was a joyful occasion. Lacry has been a key volunteer with HOHR over a number of years, so it was an emotional occasion to see her get married and start a new life with her husband Simi. Lacry and Simi are living in Zalau, which is about fifteen miles from Jibou. We wish Lacry every happiness for the future and appreciate all the support she has given over the years. We will still keep in touch with Lacry and she will help us in December by distributing some of the presents for children sent over from the UK.

During the Summer we had to consider our position as a charity, like many charities in the UK, given the lack of funds we have been experiencing. This has meant stopping some of the activities we were previously running while matters were reviewed. In the interim some old friends from Jibou, Victor and his wife Nadia, were distributing some of the regular food parcels to Jibou families. We have already been supporting Victor and Nadia in some of their work with children in villages surrounding Jibou, so it was not too big of a step for them to become more involved. We had to suspend activities within the Roma community from August while matters were reviewed; however, we hope to restart some of the activities from Christmas particularly the support given to the group of Roma widows there. We have still been supporting Solomon and family and we hope to continue working together with them to support the Roma community in Jibou. Watch this space!

In September our second annual ‘Walk Of Hope’ took place. It was a fantastic day and we managed to raise £1200 for HOHR which was brilliant. (Just to give an indication, this pays for a significant part of the expenses for the Christmas boxes for children.) Sixty two people did the two long walks of either eighteen or twenty five miles, and a further 120 did the 2 mile Family Walk. We took a new approach this year and worked in collaboration with another local charity, the Maisie Rose Project, who were raising funds for their own charity, but helped us as the entrance fees came to HOHR. Next year we hope the 'Walk Of Hope' will be even bigger and better and plans are afoot to involve more local charities. The plan is that as organisers of the walk, HOHR benefit from the entrance fee (and some sponsorship) whilst other charities can use the day as a means of raising funds for themselves via sponsorship. A big thank you to everyone who helped on the day with all the practical tasks involved from registering all the entrants to providing drinks along the way and much more. We can’t do it without all the volunteer help, so thank you.

This Autumn has seen a huge amount of activity preparing the Christmas boxes for this year. A massive thank you to Jean, our secretary, who has again coordinated this project. Every year we have sent more presents, and this year we packed a staggering 630 boxes! A big thank you to everyone who helped in any way with this task, from donating funds, collecting items, wrapping boxes and eventually packing them! Again, we cannot send these presents to some of the most needy children, without the significant volunteer effort that it takes to achieve this task, so thank you! Karen and Jean will be travelling to Jibou in December to hopefully give out the Christmas boxes that we have sent over, assisted by Solomon and Rodica, along with Victor and Lacry. While they are there they also hope to renew the lease on our flat there which is used as a base and for storage. It will also be a chance to catch up with everyone and make arrangements for food packages etc to be provided by HOHR for families for Christmas.

HOHR is in a process of change and we ask that you would stick with us while we review our activities and perhaps make plans for some new ones! If you are a person of faith, we would value your prayers and any support practical or financial that you can give.

We wish you a Merry Christmas and a Peaceful New Year.

The HOHR Team