Unification News for April 2001

IRFF Romania Setting a New Tradition: "The Santa Claus Caravan"

The IRFF has been active in Romania during the last five years and has worked hard to network and support in partnership many of the effective work done by NGOís in that country. Based on these efforts, the IRFF could make a substantial contribution in organizing a large gathering for social activists and leaders. This effort is an important step in building a greater trust and cooperation among the various sectors of the Romanian society.

On December 2-3, 2000 in Brasov, Romania two hundred and fifty activist from diverse backgrounds of leadership in Romanian society gathered. Members of Parliament, leaders of NGOís, student organization and religious organization joined together and used this opportunity as a way to create a vision of positive change for the nation. A special evening session took place which highlighted the work of various non profit organizations including the worldwide efforts of IRFF, reports from Assembly 2000 were shared as was the speech of the UN Secretary General, Kofi Anan. The immediate result for IRFF was that many of the organizations represented asked that we establish cooperation on upcoming projects.

Based on the relationships formed from the meeting the IRFF choose to immediate work with the very active League of Women from the coastal city of Constanta, on a "Christmas Caravan". This project is designed to bring joy during the Christmas season and its was done with the cooperation of the League of Women, the Tatar Community and the Greaque Community from Constanta.

The Christmas Caravan visited five villages and offered Christmas gifts for 600 children from poor families. IRFF was able to contribute 10% of the funds for the gifts. The caravan was a sensation and news of it attracted local TV and newspaper coverage. The following is excerpts from an article in one of the newspapers.

"Santa Claus Caravan" The idea of a "Santa Claus Caravan" came in the middle of November and was embraced by Women League , The Association of Business Women "Pontus Euxin", Women Organization of Tatars and Greaque Community. Local businesses were asked to help support this new project but meet with refusals or were they politely ignored us. Because of this, we want to thank those that made it possible to have gifts and make happy 600 children from schools and kindergartens from the towns of Cochirieni, Rasova, Aliman, Independenta and Fantana Mare. We give our thanks to IRFF Romania whose help in this pioneer project was invaluable. Despite the shortness of the time for preparation we were able to succeed to bring joy to so many families. We hope that with more planning next year, we will expand this program and establish a new tradition in the region. Maria Frangeti, President of League of Women Constanta.

Upcoming Plans for IRFF in Romania: We are planning to have in Brasov a program for poor children during February and March. During the Summer we will have a second project in Constanta repairing a local orphanage. This project will involve the League of Women, the wife of mayor and the director of the regionís hospitals.

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