Volunteer with Children in Romania
Give love, laughter and lessons to some of Romania’s abandoned and sick children. Bring your smiles and enthusiasm into hospitals and children’s homes, and make a life changing impact as a volunteer with these adorable kids.
Give children the chance to smile
Help to make a genuine difference as a volunteer in Romania, working with children who have been dealt a pretty poor hand in life. As a volunteer with kids of varying ages and backgrounds, you will be able to help them work through their difficulties and give them the chance to smile.
Volunteering with children can be one of the most rewarding things that you will ever do. The plight of Romania’s children in care rocketed to the world stage in the early 1990s, when undercover reporters found children kept in unimaginable conditions. Today, it is estimated that 60,000 children are still in care in Romania, with up to 1,000 more abandoned each year due to rising financial pressures. Unfortunately, the world recession has led to a decline in international funding, and our volunteers are now more important than ever.
Oyster works with Brasov’s childcare department to provide volunteers to help at various childcare facilities in the area. Abandoned by their parents at a young age, these kids need access to positive role models; without the external help of loving and enthusiastic volunteers, some children will miss out on the affection, support and joy of a typical childhood.
Volunteers help at a variety of childcare placements, working with sick, abandoned and disabled children. These places are extremely inspiring, with many happy children who just want to play and to learn. Toys and staff are limited, so volunteers with a positive attitude and good ideas for games and activities can make a huge difference.
How can I help as volunteer with children?
The childcare system in Romania is vast. Oyster works with different family homes, hospitals and schools in and around the city of Brasov. The placements are spread across different areas, helping with abandoned, disabled or mentally ill children. Each placement is extremely rewarding, and we will take you on a tour at the beginning of your stay so that you can choose which of them would suit you best.
- Children’s homes: In Romania, children’s homes are known as “Family Homes”. These homes are like small, dedicated orphanages which provide a home to up to twelve disowned children. These facilities are usually divided into girls’ homes, boys’ homes and homes for children with disabilities. The kids that live here have been abandoned by their parents, unable to provide the care that they need. They lead a life as integrated into society as possible: attending school, helping with chores in the homes, playing with their friends, doing their homework and generally being children. Volunteers help the kids with their homework, get involved in their games, read with them, get them outside playing football and running about, and become their friends.
- Children’s hospital play therapy: The children’s hospital is a lovely place to work. The English-speaking staff love having volunteers, as it gives them more time to interact fully with the children in their care. As many of the kids here have been abandoned, they don’t have their parents to care for them whilst they are unwell. Your role is to engage them in games, arts and crafts and other fun activities so that they can have a speedy recovery. Many volunteers help on the neuropsychiatry ward, with young kids with mental difficulties or behavioural problems.
- Teaching: Teach your passions from English to art to young children in kindergarten and primary schools. Knowing English is a great start in life for the kids, so they will be delighted to meet you! You will find that they are desperate to learn and to make the most of fluent English speakers. If you already work with children then your expertise will be really valuable and will also provide you with the opportunity to learn about how other countries educate their children.
Accommodation and Food
You will be based in Brasov living in a comfortable, central flat that Oyster will rent for you and your fellow volunteers. Please expect to share a room. The flat is large with plenty of space to relax and unwind after a day out and about. Wifi is available, but you will need to bring your own device to access it on.
There is a fully equipped kitchen so you can cook for yourself or treat yourself at one of the many delicious and affordable eateries in the city centre.
The flat is located a few minutes walk from shops, bars and restaurants and is a great base for exploring the city.
When should I book?
Whilst late-availability is possible, we would advise booking as soon as you can to guarantee your ideal dates. Our projects are very popular and spaces can fill up several months in advance, especially for the months of June to September.
- Get involved in inspiring childcare initiatives designed to give Romanian children in care the best chance in life.
- Bring smiles, laughter and enthusiasm to these kids whilst having a great time yourself!
- Make a genuine difference to the lives of children who haven’t been dealt an easy hand.
- Live in the lively medieval city of Brasov and get to know Romania – ‘Europe’s hidden gem’.
- Meet other like-minded volunteers and make great friends along the way.
Whyshould I do this?
We think that the best way to sum this up would be through the moving words of Annie Stevens who volunteered on this project:
“In the homes, the staff are constantly busy and don’t always have time to play with each child; they have to spend most of their time looking after the children’s physical needs. The volunteers play with them and give them crucial one-to-one affection and attention. It was through the efforts of the volunteers that a 4 year old girl with Down’s syndrome learned to walk when the doctors said it was unlikely. I was lucky enough to see her first steps without assistance and see her grow in confidence and start to explore her surroundings; I can’t explain how it was to see her do this, I don’t think I’ve ever done something so worthwhile and rewarding, it was amazing.”
You fly in to Bucharest airport (OTP) on a Friday where you will be collected by Razvan. The drive from Bucharest up to Brasov takes about 2-3 hours. On arrival in Brasov, Razvan will help you to settle in and take you out for a welcome dinner.
You will have a couple of days to visit the various projects and have an orientation tour around Brasov with Razvan.
A perfect English speaker and probably the most dynamic person you will ever meet, Razvan has run our Romania programmes since 2003. A veteran rep – he has dealt with over 400 volunteers so far – he always goes way beyond his Oyster job description, organising wonderful trips (to Dracula’s castle and the Black Sea among others) for participants. He was personally involved in the fundraising and subsequent building of one local orphanage and champions both the bear sanctuary and children’s homes.
It doesn’t matter if you’re a short or long-term volunteer, you still get full support from Razvan, whose aim is to ensure that you have a happy and productive time in Romania.
What is provided
- Phone or face-to-face interview & informal briefing
- Placement information covering care work issues and placement advice
- Access to your personal ‘My Oyster’ account – our online portal where you can find out much more about the programme and manage your booking.
- Help and advice from our UK office before and after departure
- Finding you a suitable volunteer placement, organizing your accommodation, liaising with our contacts in Romania
- Return airport transfers to Bucharest airport
- Accommodation in a shared central apartment.
- All bills and utilities for the duration of your time on the project
- Free wifi connection at the accommodation
- Assistance and support from your representative whilst on your placement including regular social ‘meet ups’
- Thorough orientation and basic Romanian language guide
- Donation to projects
- EU VAT at 17.5% on UK cost elements
- Tour of Brasov
- Two weekend day trips are arranged by Razvan (transport costs covered only):
- Trip 1: Dracula’s Castle and Rasnov Hill Fortress followed by dinner in the mountains
- Trip 2: Sinaia town and PelesCastle
- Free access to InterHealth’s Travel Health Advice Service
- Oyster Worldwide volunteer t-shirt
On your return:
- Welcome home pack
- Certificate of Recognition (on request)
- References (on request)
What do I need
- A passport valid for the duration of your stay
- Insurance (we can introduce you to a specific policy)
- Flights to Bucharest. We can help you organise these.
- Cost of changing your return flight date if you need to
- All home country travel costs
- Criminal Record Bureau check/ police check (approx £43)
- Reference from a recent employer/ teacher or otherwise
- Medical tests before departure (expect to pay a fee to your doctor)
- An up-to-date CV/ resume
- Independent travel costs whilst in Romania and on the organised trips
- Cost of food and going out (£25-£50 per week dependent on lifestyle)
- Cost of changing your return flight date if you need to
- Cost of bus transport to reach family homes (approx £20 for one month)