in Europe

Romania: Investing in education, health, and social services and infrastructure in 37 communities


Through the SHINE project in Bacau County in Romania, one of the poorest regions in Europe, Terre des hommes improves the lives of disadvantaged children by investing in education, health, and social services and infrastructure.

To ensure that our work is truly impactful, we started the project by encouraging children to help us find the most important things they need in their communities. They told us they wish for good-hearted people around them, games, toys, colorful schools, roads, water in their houses, toilets in the schools, better school buses, and a place where they can eat lunch at school, but also swimming pools and cinemas. We gathered their proposals and, by the end of 2019, when the project finishes, we aim to make some of them come true.

37 communities from Bacau Country will benefit from improved education, health, or/and social services and infrastructure. In each of these communities, we organized a series of meetings with mayors and representatives of local authorities, with groups of children, parents, teachers, and other important actors, such as priests, doctors or policemen. During these meetings we identifies and discussed the communities’ needs. "The feedback we receive most often from children and parents is that it is the first time someone asks them what they think and what they need in their school or community. Children often show maturity, know what they want and what they need, and I think that if we listen to them more closely, we can help them SHINE," says Mara Matei, Tdh project manager.

Based on such indicators as priority or urgency of the common need, number of beneficiaries, and expected results and impact, the community representatives choose the most conclusive ones.  

During the first stage of SHINE, 58 needs were selected to become projects in these 37 communities. The years of 2018 and 2019 will be dedicated to making the investments and fulfilling these needs which involve setting-up dispensaries, building playgrounds, sports fields, proper bathrooms and heating systems in schools, renovating the schools and providing them with adequate furniture, supplies and blackboards, computers, buses and other. This process will also include activities with children, parents and teachers, where by using non-formal education methods we will transfer the new "property" from us to them. More than 11.000 children will benefit from the investments made within SHINE.

"I strongly believe that we need to learn how to develop our communities in order to improve both services and infrastructure, and to change or improve public policies, until all children in Romania have access to friendly schools and high quality education services," continues Mara.

The project is funded courtesy of the Botnar Foundation from Switzerland.