FLORIN SAYS 'THANK YOU' TO FARA'S FIRST FOYER
Our highly successful 'Foyer'-accredited residential training centre in the northwestern city of Satu Mare is the first of an expanding group of FARA projects. Here, Florin Ursan (pictured second from left) writes to thank staff for the support he was offered over his two-year stay.
"First I want to thank you for everything you did for me over the past two years. I am very pleased I found out about the FARA Foyer, where I’ve learnt many things I didn’t know. Now I’m going to put them into practice and follow the plan I agreed. Thank you all once again. I’m looking forward to seeing all my Foyer friends at my wedding in October."
CLARA OWES SO MUCH TO CARMEN'S SUPPORT
Abandoned at birth, Clara grew up in an orphanage and at 17 moved to a foster family in a village in northwest Romania.
Fast forward to the birth of her daughter Sara, when she heard about the nearby drop-in centre for young mothers, based at FARA's Satu Mare Foyer. Clara hugely appreciated the support provided by centre director Carmen Pop (pictured left below).
In a recent interview with a Romanian mothers’ magazine Clara said: ‘I want to give Sara the love, life and education that I didn’t have myself. But the most important lesson I want her to learn is that in life you have to fight every day to win!”
- In this testimonial Nydes Ishiwatari explains his remarkable journey from a state orphanage to a new life in Japan. We are happy to say that the girlfriend he mentions is now his wife and that he is working full time in Japan.
"I met Mrs. Jane Nicholson, Chairman of FARA, and Mrs. Irina Anchidin, Director of FARA Charity Suceava, in 1997 when I was in an orphanage in Romania. At that time I was in my first year of high school and was introduced to FARA by Child Protection General Director Laurentian Ulici to see if the charity could help with my needs.
During my high school and university studies FARA provided me with financial assistance and moral support, encouraging me keep my dream alive about a better life in the future.
After I graduated from university I became a physiotherapist and worked with disabled children at the orphanage in Gura Humorului, Suceava, Romania for 18 months. The children made a lot of positive progress which opened up new opportunities for me.
Mrs. Jane Nicholson recommended me to Robin Nydes, a Chairman of UK Charity FRODO (now Humanitas) to work with a toddler suffering from arthrogryposis who was to travel to London for surgery. I accepted his offer to work with this child, both before and after surgery, during his time in the UK and in Romania. I had to work with the surgeon preparing the child for surgery on both of his feet in the hope that he could walk following recovery and ongoing therapy. I returned to Romania to continue post-operative physiotherapy with the child as well as working with other children with severe disabilities.
In 2008, after seeing my work with this child, Robin and Tilly Nydes invited me to come and live with them in London and work with their children. Now they consider me a part of their family. I visit them every year and have become a godfather to their youngest daughter, who was born in 2011.
Before and after my time in London I continued to use my physiotherapy skills whenever I could, helping disabled children at FARA and other child protection centres in Suceava and Cluj.
In 2009 I started to become interested in Japan. I began to visit the country and met a Japanese woman who became my girlfriend. In 2014 I moved to Japan to study the language, which was also an opportunity to try working privately as a physiotherapist in Tokyo with international families."
Virma Barcsa joined St Nicholas family home in Suceava in 1998 at the age of four. She is now a second year psychology student at the University of Iasi in northeast Romania but retains strong links to St Nicholas, which she returns to each vacation. The following testimonial comes from a speech she made to staff and residents at a gathering for celebrations on the Feast of St Nicholas on 5 December 2015.
St Nicholas my friend
"St. Nicholas... paradoxically, when I say this name my thoughts go in two directions: to a place, and to the feast we celebrate on December 6th. I have been in the care of St Nicholas for seventeen years, both spiritually and physically.
I was only 4 years old when I stepped into this place. Frightened, curious and sad faces greeted me. I didn't know how to behave. In time I fitted into its round of activities and learnt the rules. I thank my friend, "Saint Nicholas", for introducing me to the most beautiful gift a person can be given: God! With his help my character was formed, based on strong principles which arose both from beautiful experiences and also from sad ones that have left deep scars. These principles take the form of faith, hope, love and kindness.
This place has taught me that I am a mosaic made up of choices and actions. It has taught me that I am a sculptor, giving form to my own being. It has also taught me that people who talk a lot do less, that a longing for parents is unquenchable, that happiness is relative and that I shouldn't assume I can get it from people ... I’ve learnt that you can feel more fulfilled when you get a strong hug or a pat on the back than when you "hug" the wheel of a Mercedes. I’ve found out that wealthy people are more discontented than those who are poor, that people who laugh loudly and noisily do that to disguise a soul that weeps, that hearing, sight, smell, breath and everything else that seems insignificant are actually great gifts for which we should give thanks daily.
There have been many moments of despair ... there have been many! The thought that I needed a hug and there was nobody to offer it sent me to the cuddly toy that was also waiting to be hugged. I felt as if I was lying at my mother's breast, but I was only lying my head on the pillow and I began to cry. There were days when I wanted to talk about my soul, but there was nobody to listen. At those times I just looked at the sky! All these moments of suffering are always present in the life of a child deprived of parents, yet whenever I have the chance I give thanks because through them I've gained my human dignity, ambitious, rational and decisive.
Sometimes I worry that I'm too rational a person. I sometimes need to listen to my soul, but instead of that, I just follow my mind. Is that because I don’t really trust people? Is that what I’ve learned in this place? I don't have a clear answer.
'Saint Nicholas' grew me, fed me, clothed me, taught me, and formed me as a person. I thank him with all my being!
I am very glad that I’ve been able to collect my thoughts to talk about my friend, "Saint Nicholas". It’s been a long time since I last talked with him ... and that's why I'm here today: to thank you with all my heart that I have become the person you now see, hear and touch!"
THREE MEMBERS OF FARA'S EXTENDED FAMILY
"FARA means for me second home and family. Here I’ve grown up, here I’ve learned to live like a normal child, to enjoy childhood and become a mature man I’m 24 years old and due to Fara, I’m graduating the University this year. Fara gave me the chance to become an accomplished man with memories, with joy, with faith in God and hope that my life will be as beautiful. Thanks you Fara!"
"At the age of 21 years I came to FARA where I found a real family. Here I made many friends and I'm glad that I’m finally living a normal life like any young person in a family.
Many thanks to Fara and its staff for the understanding and love they offered to me."
"When I arrived at FARA it was like entering another world, where I can feel somebody’s taking care of me and my health. Now I’m working in physiotherapy room for recovering. Here I found my family! I’m very happy and I want to thank everyone in FARA for their support!"
SUPPORTERS FROM THE START
Richard and Shelley Olivier have been loyal supporters of FARA since it began. Here is an extract from a letter they sent to us following a visit to north east Romania.
"We went to St. Nicholas to meet the younger orphans. It was truly a moving occasion and it is obvious how much the lovely care has meant to them and it will be a pillar for them to become healthy and productive adults. The dedication of the staff is reflected in the happy faces of all the children who are, finally, being given the care and love all children surely deserve.
We were so moved by the inspiring presence of these dedicated young professionals who really are, with your help and the generosity of all Fara sponsors and supporters, making a profound difference in the lives of those in need. It is an honour to be part of the wider circle of support that makes all this possible.
Thank you for all you do and please, please keep up the great work!"