Since 1999, over 1, 850 individuals have served in Romania with Global Volunteers – providing more than 150, 000 service hours. And each year, people continue to graciously spend their yearly vacation time sharing love and offering care to the infants and toddlers at the “Elena Beldiman” Children’s Hospital ward in Barlad, Romania. Why? What inspires them to keep giving and giving? Continue on to read about what motivates volunteers, from the volunteers themselves…
Evan Boido, 13-time Romania Global Volunteer
“Talk about being hooked, 13 programs in Romania. What keeps me going back? The children.
Let me tell you something, I get way more than I give. I’ve fed children, sometimes more than one at a time; I’ve read to children; I’ve helped them learn to roll over, sit up, crawl and walk; I’ve sang songs, danced and made a fool out of myself; and, most importantly, I’ve held them and looked them in the eyes, and I hope I have made them feel loved. Part of the program is to develop personal and team goals. One of my goals in Romania is always to say, “Te iubesc” (I love you) to each child every day.
I come home tired and missing the children. I eagerly await Facebook posts and pictures from other volunteers. I delight in their progress, and yes, at times I’ve mourned when we’ve lost a particularly vulnerable child to his or her particular illness. I think about trying another program next year to a new location. And what do I do? I sign up for Romania again each and every year. I know I will reconnect with children I’ve met before, fall in love with new children, make friends with other volunteers, and I will go back.” Contact us for Evan’s contact information.
Venessa Humphrey, First-time Romania Global Volunteer
“In 2013, my friend volunteered in Romania with Global Volunteers for the second time. It was the first time I had heard of this, and she kindly included me in her email updates during her trip. I remember receiving one of her email updates while I was at work. This particular email moved me to the point of tears. I was crying at my desk, and I thought that if it’s affecting me this much, then I need to help.
I plan on returning. My main motivation is, without question, the children. I never anticipated that I would have formed such a strong connection with them and I miss them more than I thought would be possible. The staff do an amazing job, but they need the support that volunteers provide.
Volunteering in Romania was one of the richest and most rewarding experiences of my life. I will say, however, that it can be exhausting; physically, mentally and emotionally. It will test you at times. Be prepared for the fact that there are things that you cannot change; situations that you can only approach with love and support. Do the best that you can. Forgive yourself when you feel like you may be falling short (I assure you, you won’t be). Listen to Mihaela and Dan (local staff). Always help out Coca (local staff) as best you can. And give the kids big, squishy hugs for me!” Contact us for Venessa’s contact information.
Jane Louise, 4-time Romania Global Volunteer
“Firstly, the children have a way of burrowing into your heart that any Romania volunteer can attest to! They are so easy to fall in love with. We also have the privilege of watching these amazing children grow and develop. I know I’m not the only volunteer who thinks of the children as ‘my’ kids. We take ownership of their achievements like any proud parent.
Secondly, I have a huge admiration and respect for Mihaela, Dan, and Coca (the local staff – not to mention many other hospital staff), and a desire to see them encouraged and supported for the amazing work they do.
Thirdly, I enjoy learning about Romania and visiting different places on the weekends and after my trips. It truly is a beautiful country, very different to Australia (hometown).
Finally, there is the personal aspect. While the experiences have always been tiring, the demand of putting the children first has a profound and surprising effect on my own well-being. I hope that I leave a more gracious, empathetic person. I am certainly more grateful for the life of privilege I have been blessed with (and didn’t realise I had). It is also an honour to watch my team-mates have this same experience. The love that my co-volunteers show to the children is also very uplifting, and the bonding that has occurred between us has meant that life-long friendships have developed. I now have good friends in various parts of the world, how exciting is that!! We know that we will always be welcome in each others’ homes and communities – a truly global experience.
If others are considering this opportunity, I would advise them in just one word – GO!” Contact us for Jane’s contact information.
Ready to be part of a Romania volunteer team and help care for and support these children? Chat online with a Volunteer Coordinator to get started. Or, visit our Volunteer in Romania page to learn more. We’re ready to answer your questions!