October 20, 2003

School supplies for children in Sibiu, Transylvania, Romania

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My name is Sister Mary Rose Christy. I am a Sister of Mercy of the Americas, the Burlingame, California Regional Community. I have lived and worked in Sibiu, Transylvania, Romania since June 10, 1991.

I am founder, president and director of Arapamesu-the Romanian American Association for the Promotion of Health, Education, and Human Services. Arapamesu became legal in Romanis in June, 1995.

Purpose-Short History

The purpose of Arapamesu is to work with families who are at risk of sending their children to institutions, to assist the parents to keep their children within the family. Arapamesu works towards this goal through a varity of programs. See website: arapamesu.20fr.com

Since its founding Arapamesu has worked with 1100 families with approxmately 2200 children. During that period only 2.7% of these familes have given children to institutions. We work with the hope of reducing this figure to 0%. The structure of these families has changed during these 'transition years', especially due to the increased poverty. Poverty is, I believe the single biggest problem in this country. Where as 8 years ago of 200 families assisted by Arapamesu 2/3 were families with 2 parents. Presently we are assisting 400 families of which 50% have a single parent.

Eight years ago the income of these families was low, today it is much lower Of the 707 adults in these families, 62% are unemployed, and the rest are underemployed depending mostly on only day work.
Some of thes families have lost even the poor homes in which they did live, and others are in the process of loosing their homes because of the lack of financial resources to pay for them, or for utilities.
Frequently these families have only one meal a daaay, usually consisting of beans, potatoes and bread, with no milk, vegatables, meat, or fruit.

Day to Day survial is the goal of these families, and the possibility of sending their children to school becomes almost imposible. This puts not only their present, but certainly, their future at risk. Arapamesu does help with food, cloths, loans for utilities, rent and clothing, has a turtoring program, and an apprentiiceshp program to assist these families to keep the children in school, but the increased need is presently beyond our resources

We are presently concerned with getting these children into school. At this time we badly need shoes, and school supplies We have received some school supplies from local sponsorships but we need much more if we are to help the number of children in need. We need note books, pencils, pens, erasers, and other school supplies, and we badly need shoes if the children are going to make it to school.

Presently the number of school children in our casload is 774 betwee the ages of 6 to 17 years in the following groups.

6 to 9 years---191 children
10 to 13 years--288 children
14 to 17 years-323 children

We will be most grateful for any relief anyone can offer for this problem. We believe that the future of these children (and even their present) is greatly at risk, and believe that this in turn , as it is multiplied throughtout this country, puts the future of this country at risk.

For further information please contact Sister Mary Rose Christy : arapamesu@logon.ro
Fax: 0269-210-565
Address: Str. Selarilor 7
Sibiu, Romania or
Emy Matesan at: emuloanta@yahoo.com
Phoenix, Arizona, United States

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