Romanian families benefit from locals’ humanitarian help

August 26, 2013

Bessbrook woman Ann Bradley and Teresa Mulholland from Dundalk recently returned from their latest humanitarian trip to Romania where they have made regular visits during the last 14 years.

During this trip the women again teamed up with their faithful Romanian helpers, Flore and Gusti, whose home they have stayed in since their first visit in 1999.

Ann and Teresa have spent the last 14 years forging close bonds with families from some of the poorest regions of Romania.  Through donations and gifts, they have managed to make a huge difference to the lives of some of those most in need, by helping provide basic necessities such as clean water and medical supplies.

Funding their trip themselves and with gifts from family and friends, Ann and Teresa plough all their resources into the communities they visit.

Last month they visited Timiosara where they spent 12 days with Flore and Gusti.  They provided building supplies for people in the village of Bencec – which were bought from a local company  – enabling them to carry out improvements to their homes.

Recalling the work they were involved in during this trip, Ann said: “When we first discovered the village of Bencec in 2009 the people were living in dire poverty.  The village is isolated, very few have electricity or water, however through our fund and with our supporters help, each visit we buy building materials etc., to help with home improvements.  It is a hard, slow progress but at least we can see the difference in each of the families living standards. Some of them now have wells our fund provided, they have stand pipes at each of them and the families share the water with the ones who do not have wells.

“At the onset of helping the villagers it was made clear how important it was to share with one another and to help each other with home improvements. The people in this village are very poor with no means to help improve their lives.  During the horrible Communist rule they were employed by the government in the local forests, they received next to nothing for the work but at least it was something. The men queue up daily in the hope of getting work with the now private owners of the forests and also some farmers, any who do get work, are paid a pittance.”

Ann says they hope to be able to repeat the trip next year with whatever funds they are able to raise.

“This visit the families received cement, sand, bricks roofing materials etc., With God’s help we will help them again next year with whatever funds we can afford.  It is difficult in the present climate to do as much work as we used to as we, with all other charities, are badly affected with a fall in  donations due to the recession.”

The lack of proper medical care given to families unable to afford medicines is something which affects the women deeply.

“This trip was made sadder than usual as we lost our dear boy Florin. He was 21 and had not been well since birth.  His brother Cosmin died in 2005 and their mum, gran and sister are so sad.  They cared for both the boys 24/7 all their lives and miss them so much,” Ann said.

“Also we had a terrible experience with another family. Danielle who was 33 had been sent home from hospital to die, she had cancer.  Even though her husband was employed as a window fitter, he didn’t earn enough money to pay for medical insurance, which is very common in Romania. The day we went to visit Danielle we could hear her screams from the top of the garden.  She was in agony and begging God to take her.  She had been getting morphine injections but hadn’t slept or eaten for almost three weeks,” Ann recalled.

“Through our helper Gusti we were able to go to a Doctor and get injections to mix with the morphine to help Danielle.  The following day we returned to visit and she was asleep. We had arranged to have Danielle admitted to a hospice a few days later, however she lost her fight for life.

“Philly McCann and I still, with the help of our devoted supporters, continue to bring help to many families in Romania, especially the elderly and the sick.  Since joining the EU the only difference I can see is the rich are getting richer and the poor getting poorer,” Ann added.

Anyone who is interested in supporting or becoming involved in the on-going efforts to help poor families in Romania, should contact: Ann Bradley Telephone (028) 90239202-Mobile 07720240633. Email: