Helping Street Kids -- VERITAS


Veritas Organization
"Helping Hurting Kids"

Note: Links in text take you to individual photos

Click HERE for volunteer information.

     VERITAS is a non-governmental organization that operates in a town of approximately 30,000 people called, Sighisoara (pronounced see-ghe-shwa-ra). Located in the region of Romania known as Transylvania, it probably comes closest to what most visitors think an old Transylvanian town should look like. The city is still surrounded by medieval ramparts and the winding streets are lined with old buildings. Unfortunately poverty abounds, especially among the Gypsy parents and their children who wander town in hopes of a job, or to beg for food. A large portion of our energy and time as a program and as individual volunteers is spent ministering to the Gypsy population in Sighisoara. These people have tremendous need as they daily face extreme poverty as well as intense racial prejudice and discrimination. Most of the orphans and abandoned children that our volunteers work with are Gypsy children.

     Relief work through VERITAS in Sighisoara has grown up over the last four years around a program of Eastern Nazarene College (Boston, MA). Students come from the United States to study and serve in Romania for four months at a time. Also, an integral part of the relief work has been the work of longer-term volunteers from America and Europe. They serve alongside the students, helping to build an ever growing team of Romanian staff. The relief work and educational programs offer a wide variety of opportunities not otherwise possible to the Romanians who still struggle with the residual effects of 45 years of communism.

     Most of the VERITAS relief work functions from the newly opened Family Support Center, whose programs include the following.

KIDS' CLUB -- Provides a hot lunch, crafts, music, games, skill building, Bible stories, socialization, and drama for about 250 children from the poorest families. The majority of this work benefits children who spend most of their day on the streets.

KINDERGARTEN -- Four mornings a week about 35 children from poor families are given breakfast (often their only hot meal of the day) and participate in an educational class.

MATERIAL SUPPORT -- About 200 families receive financial, social, and spiritual support. Clothing, food, and household supplies are generally donated in small amounts from various sources. But recently, truckloads of clothes and hygiene supplies have come through the overwhelming generosity of caring people in Ireland and England.

HANDICAPPED CHILDREN -- This is a relatively new program that reaches out to families that have a physically handicapped child. As if poverty weren't enough, the stories of these social cast-a-ways living in sub-human conditions are heart-wrenching. Very few services or educational opportunities are available for children with disabilities. Many spend all of their life with a parent at home, rarely venturing outdoors. Social, emotional, medical, and spiritual support for the children and their families is equally as important as the future creation of an educational program for a few of these children.

ELDERLY -- Outreach to the isolated or incapacitated elderly is a deep concern. We have recently begun to visit and assess the needs of people living on small pensions and starved of human contact. Usually it is the social and spiritual needs that weigh heaviest, though there is often a need for food and medicine.

SICK AND ABANDONED CHILDREN -- Care for abandoned and sick infants and toddlers at Distrofici (State-run ward) and Spital (Hospital) is an ever constant need. While conditions have improved in these institutions in recent years, it is still difficult to see the high level of neglect as well as the lack of medical training or supplies. We provide affection, tactical stimulation, and help with their developmental needs. We also assist in feeding, changing, and bathing the children.


Education Center -- Two years ago a donation of used "486-computers" allowed us to open our Education Center. This is a place where clients have access to word-processing, the Internet, and computer services. We also offer Computer and English courses.

Theater Classes -- These classes have been very popular this year. Significant relationships have been forged with young Romanians who have had their first opportunity to be creative in the arts. They staged a production of an Easter play (written by the budding actors themselves) and performed some Shakespeare at the annual Medieval Festival.

Ecology Club -- This is another creative program that has drawn young people into community awareness. Dr. Roberta Bustin left a prominent teaching profession in the U.S. and shares with club members her knowledge about environmental issues. In Romania, children and young people play, swim, and fish in polluted streams and rivers daily with little, if any, awareness of the dangers they face. Many villages have shallow wells that are polluted with bacteria, nitrate, and other pollutants. Some even obtain their drinking water from the polluted rivers. The Ecology Club has worked on a year-long project to analyze and monitor the water in the local river which provides drinking water for the town. 

Small Business Development -- All of the above programs have, thus far, been supported through the ENC program budget and outside personal donations. As programs have expanded it has been important to look for ways to generate income that will help support our relief efforts. Sighisoara has a high rate of unemployment. Interesting and creative jobs are almost non-existent. We desperately need someone with business expertise who could oversee the development of a center in a building we recently acquired in the main part of the Old Town. The goal is to employ Romanians at an Internet café, a coffee shop, a book store and gift shop, a youth-oriented café, and perhaps also develop a tour guide service, desktop publishing, and translation services. Since many of the children we work with come from families where neither parents works, and prejudice makes it difficult for the gypsy population to get jobs, we dream about being able to create job opportunities for some of these parents who really want to improve their situation. A volunteer with knowledge of economic development could help us here. Writing grant proposals is another area in which we need help. We know there are sources of funding out there, but do not have the staff to make application for it.


Social Work Administrator
Teachers - Kindergarten, Elementary, Special Needs, Adult Literacy
ESL Teacher
Computer Tech
Business Projects Manager
Business Administrator

For more information contact:

 Dorothy Tarrant, Program Director

Centrul de Ajutor Familial
Str. H. Oberth nr. 25
Sighisoara, Cod 3050
Jud. Mures ROMANIA

Mobile phone: 65-777-865
Romania phone: 94-300-905
(If calling from the U.S., dial 011-40 before the phone number.)

Email: Copy this address to send mail to Dorothy Tarrant.

The designer of this site, Richard Kyle, was a volunteer to Romania and is now an ordained minister in the Church of the Nazarene.

Contact Richard here.

Designed by: Richard Kyle
Copyright ©1999-2001  All rights reserved.
Revised: August 15, 2001

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