Romania: ADRA Renews Hope Amongst Persons with Disabilities
SILVER SPRING, Md. – In Romania, the Adventist Development and Relief Agency (ADRA) is bringing a renewed sense of hopefulness and dignity to individuals often neglected and ostracized by others. Through a project focused on assisting persons with disabilities, ADRA has been boosting self-esteem and helping these individuals develop work-related skills. Persons with physical and mental handicaps now have a safe environment to express challenges they face in a society that often shuns them because of their differences.
There is an estimated 630,000 people with disabilities living in Romania; a conservative estimate as this figure solely represents the number of disability certificates issued. Integration into society remains a challenge, as they often endure unfair treatment and prejudice, while little advocacy is done on their behalf.
In response to this challenge, ADRA Romania has been holding classes for persons with disabilities, teaching them various skills in cooking, foreign language training, computer and Internet proficiency, and basic office skills.
Through these trainings, ADRA Romania is equipping project beneficiaries with knowledge and proficiency towards finding and securing employment, a very valuable resource as the overwhelming majority of these individuals are unemployed and rely on support from their families. In addition to skill training, recreational meetings are held for attendees to interact with others who face similar struggles. During this time, those enrolled in the project can creatively express themselves through music, poetry, painting, handcrafts, and openly share their experiences. The safe environment of the meetings is viewed as a haven where none are ridiculed for what they say, and has proven to be helpful towards improving the attitudes and overall view of life.
One of the project’s beneficiaries, Vasile Ionita, has been living in a wheelchair since age 20. Now at age 52, Ionita is caring for his younger sister who suffers from epilepsy, and his elderly mother who suffers from a heart condition. Since participating in ADRA Romania’s project, Ionita has found acceptance in ADRA’s familial environment, and feels safe to be in a place where he is able to be himself without the fear of rejection.
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