Bergen youths help Romanians

A group of 16 young people from Fana and Åsane have taken part in a unique EU project in the countryside in the poorest part of Romania. Here, the Romanians of the same age learned to organize leisure activities according to the Norwegian volunteer pattern

Seven hectic October days ended with a visit to the home of some of the Romanian children and teenagers who are part of an educational project. The Adina Foundation in Bergen runs in the village of Goiesti a few miles north of the city of Craiova. Several of the families who receive a helping hand live in poverty that is hardly believed to exist in Europe.

Shocked. - It is a shock to see such in reality, and it makes a strong impression to come home to people who have to live like that, says Elias Sandnes (16) from Sørås. He is a student at Nordahl Grieg High School. - I think it is useful to help the Romanians to get more out of their free time. The students get better grades and we know that none of "ours" drop out of the schools, says Elias.

Was impressed. Live O. Gilje from Salhus says she knew a little about the standard of living, but it impresses me that young Romanians have a positive view of the future as they have it at home. It was strong to see the differences in Romanian society where some lived in beautiful houses and other dilapidated sheds. We can not change an entire system, but it is possible to change and improve a little, Live believes.

The working title of the EU-funded youth project is TolerActive, which means that physical activity was the guiding principle - in addition to the fact that a total of 48 young people from Italy, Norway and Romania got to know each other. - The idea behind it is that tolerance is best built on knowledge of countries and people, says Hilde Sandnes, general manager of the Adina Foundation in Bergen.

Dugnad is contagious. All the young people were required to bring suggestions for activities that were then to be taught to children and leisure leaders in Goiesti. These were to be put into practice on an activity day in Goiesti. Organized leisure activities run on a voluntary basis are not widespread in rural Romania, but there are many indications that Norwegian ideas are contagious. Several of the Romanian young people were very motivated to make use of the handball and football tips from the Norwegians. The young people gained useful leadership experience as a bonus.

Activity day. As many as 85 children and teenagers showed up on the school grounds in Goiesti for what became a pure folk festival. The teams from Italy, Norway and Romania demonstrated exemplary cooperation. Tricks and systematic training were taught on the football field, while others taught the kids to jump over each other, a game that does not require expensive remedies. The Italians started with violent dance rhythms, and it struck a chord in a country where dance is a living element in folk culture.

A great job. The head of the Foundation Adina Foundation - Luminitia Dinca, was very pleased with the efforts of the supervisors from Fana, Åsane and the Puglia region.

- Everyone did a great job for the children from Goiesti, and there will be a long talk about this fantastic October day, says Luminitia Dinca who believes the event will stimulate more parents to let their children join the foundation's organized leisure activities after school.

Follows the money. The young people carried out the EU project in close collaboration with 16 young people from the Italian Puglia region and 16 young people from Goiesti. Everyone from the Bergen area has participated in various school actions for the Foundation Adina Foundation in Craiova, and during the week they got an insight into how part of the money is spent in the recipient country.

The cultural in the interaction between three very different nations gradually developed. The Italians baked pizza and the young people of Bergen taught the southern Europeans to like penny buns. There were hardly any crumbs left on the dish.

Sweating exercises. The "work week" in Craiova and Goiesti stretched from breakfast to dinner in the evening with planning and mingling. The latter was useful for gaining insight into the mindsets and behaviors of peers from southern Europe. And in between regular sweaty body exercises like Flash mob and Zumba ..