JUNIOR Boys’ Brigade companies associated to Presbyterian congregations in Northern Ireland have raised £10,000 to support a children’s project in Romania.
Step by Step is a children’s education programme based near Cluj in north-west Romania and last week one of the project workers, Ilona Veres, was in Belfast to receive a cheque from some of the BB boys and their officers who had helped raise the money.
Ms Veres has been living in Romania for 20 years where she has been working alongside the Hungarian Reformed Church as part of its mission partnership arrangement with the Presbyterian Church and in recent years has been assisting in a variety of youth projects in Cluj.
Now the local church is trying to help children in the nearby village of Mera and asked the BB for help with its Step by Step programme.
This project provides badly needed facilities to help 50 deprived children in the village where 30 per cent of the adults cannot read or write.
Every day the children are provided with a daily meal and are then assisted with their school work. Because many have not previously attended school they need help to catch up with other children in class. They are also helped with clothing and other items.
There is a waiting list for the project and if a child is absent for more than six days a month they are replaced by a child from the waiting list.
The local church is funding four teachers and two social workers to help with the project. However, a building which would include a classroom, a kitchen and other facilities is badly needed and that is what the BB was asked to help with.
Through its annual World Mission Appeal Junior BB boys collected money from their friends and family which has now been handed on to the project. Last year in the same appeal, the BB donated £12,000 to help build a bridge to span the Galana River in Kenya.