September 2011

At the end of September 8 people including the Chairman, Revd Tim Price, 3 other Trustees and a former Trustee, made a week-long visit to the Seica Mare Commune. It was a very profitable week. We were able to visit a number of sponsored families and see the difference which the help they have received has made to their lives.

We saw the work done this summer to concrete paths up to the 3 cabins at the Rainbow Centre and discussed with our manager Florin and Alistair (Project Development Manager) how to improve the facilities. It is so much easier to have a useful discussion on site, so that one can view the present set-up and visualise the potential alterations and extension needed with regard to toilet facilities, storage and office space. Since coming home an office has been set in the building up with internet access which will greatly help communications as there are no mobile signals at Buia currently!

We discussed the future use of the Centre by the local community and by outside groups hiring the cabins, and the management and running of the Centre. It's an ambitious programme, which we are undertaking jointly with the Romanian Christian charity, Asociatia Lumina, which will eventually have the responsibility of running the Centre (Alistair is vice president of Lumina).

All the schools were looking brighter and at the Senior School in Seica Mare we saw on-going major building work/improvements, started in August using money from the World Bank. We visited a number of schools, including the new kindergarten in Seica Mare. At an older school in Buia, we saw some of the children receiving their sponsored bread. We also saw the appalling living conditions of the Roma families at Buia, where some of the school children live.

Several new requests for help were investigated, notably the little Spina Bifida girl Denisa. The response to the Chairman's appeal has been very generous and hopefully she will soon have her operation. At present her general health is not good enough.

Marius, aged 40, suffers from Cerebral palsy. He was filmed at the request of Frenchay Hospital who might be able to recommend aids to help him with his computer. At present he uses his nose and tongue to work the mouse and keyboard.
Stefan, who has worked so hard on the Rainbow Centre and is blind in one eye, has since come to Chard where the optician Simon Frackiewicz has provided glasses for his good eye and referred him on for investigation of the blind eye.
There are so many cases of individual need and we shall always treat requests with compassion.

The Rainbow Centre is a different "kettle of fish" which we have been definitely guided to develop. It will take a lot of fund raising to achieve the final goal but we are confident that the residential facilities at the Centre will be a very valuable asset to the local community when finished, offering them employment, and offering educational opportunities to so many deprived children in the wider community as well as respite to disabled children.

As a major ‘fund raiser’ the team is working hard to organise a 60 kilometer Sponsored Walk next summer in ‘Wild Carpathia’, the region just north of Seica Mare. (See This is an area of outstanding natural beauty and cultural interest. For more information about the Sponsored Walk, to be part of this exciting work at the Rainbow Centre, or to help any of the ongoing programmes please email Dawn Fletcher via the website.

September 2011

On September 28th a small team will be travelling to Romania to visit the Rainbow Centre of Hope and decide on a good route forward. Much work has been done there in July, August and September and phase one of the current project should be completed by mid October when the weather will become colder.

The team, which consists of some 'old hands' and some new members, including the new chairman, Revd. Tim Price, will also visit sponsored families and see the Bread4Buia programme in action during their week there. They have a small project to accomplish - they want to start building a greenhouse out of plastic bottles - of which there are MANY in Romania!!
see and scroll to "Plastic Bottle Greenhouse (2004)".

We have been so aware of the Lord working in the community in Buia and bringing in needed skills - please pray that this trip will be really profitable for everyone concerned

May 2011


This spring marked 20 years since the first team went from Chard to the commune of Seica Mare, Transylvania. That first visit by Revd Stephen Kivett, John Murphy, Andy and Dawn Fletcher Chard started a ball rolling with the Chard Churches Together which hasn’t yet stopped. To celebrate this anniversary Project Romania celebrated with a service of Thanksgiving at St Mary’s followed by refreshments and the inevitable Annual General Meeting on 20th May. The service was very well attended by newer supporters and members from the past. The new mayor of Chard Cllr Cathie Morrison and her consort Jim Morison came with several council members – including two previous mayors who had been involved with the Project and the town twinning in 2008.

The service was led by the Revd Marilyn Tricker (Chard Methodist Church) who had chaired the Project for the past 3 years but would be handing on that position at the AGM to Revd Tim Price (Tatworth and Winsham churches). Marilyn read greetings from Graham Watson, MEP., Patron of the charity; Revd Stephen Kivett, first chairman; Revds Peter and Kathryn Morgan, former Baptist ministers in the town - Kathryn was chair for a short period; and Stuart Galpin - the first student to live in the commune and who did great work there building play areas and also building bridges with the local people. A short video clip from Romania also showed Florin Benghea, the deputy mayor of Seica Mare and project Romania manager in the commune, with his family all in national costume sending greetings to the people of Chard.

Brian Turner and Peter Woolway, both past Chairmen of the project, shared anecdotal reminiscences of the first trips and gave a potted history of the first 20 years. Then Dawn Fletcher, who with Andy had just returned from 4 weeks in the commune, spoke of the current situation and outlined future plans and some exciting new developments.

Throughout, the emphasis was on the faithfulness of God and how the many members both here and in Romania had experienced this in many ways. The first hymn – How great Thou art – was very appropriate to the occasion, as well as originating in Eastern Europe. Over 80 people have travelled to Seica Mare since the first team set out to bring water to 60 orphans in Boarta, one of the villages in the commune. For most people this has been a life changing experience as described by several different speakers.

During the service Jill and Garry Shortland presented Andy and Dawn Fletcher with the mayor’s Outstanding Service Awards for 20 years work in Seica Mare thus allowing the town of Chard to benefit from helping with the work there. She explained that these were in fact given by her as mayor a few weeks ago to other recipients at a civic meeting – but Andy and Dawn were in Romania at the time so she was grateful to Cllr Morrison for letting her perform this final duty as mayor.

Following a time to socialise and enjoy refreshments the AGM was brief and to the point, and Alistair Ozanne was introduced as deputy chair of the Romanian charity Lumina which will link with Project Romania for the completion of the 6 cabins at the Rainbow Centre of Hope. This is aimed to provide a place where deprived city children, local disabled children like Denisa and their carers, and orphanage children can come and have a short holiday.

It will also enable school children to enjoy study courses and there are plans to work with Natura 2000, an EU initiative and a larger charity Fundatia Adept to categorise the very bio diverse local area with University students.

To do this the 2 charities need to build a new small toilet block, 3 new larger cabins and a play area, all to be served by green energy using solar power, thus creating an example in the community.
There will be major fund raising needed and Alistair invited all present tom consider the long-term advantages to so many children in Romania, and to the local environment, in the future.

Nevertheless, at this present time there are still many, many children in the commune who need regular monthly support for medical needs or just to be able to go to school. Project Romania is looking for new sponsors for children, for the Bread4Buia programme so they can continue giving bread regularly.

For more details of how you can get involved with the work of this Chard charity either to support a current programme or fund raise for the future, please contact Revd Tim price – 01460 220237 or Dawn Fletcher 01460 68617.

March 2011

It's Project Romania's birthday!!! 1991 - 2011
20 years ...
since that first Project Romania team, Revd Stephen Kivett, John Murphy and the Fletchers, set out in some fear and trepidation for the unknown village of Boarta and the orphanage.
They left in April, in some style from the Guildhall, all looking a lot younger than they now do!
The orphanage director welcomed them, and arranged for a team of 14 to go in the summer to repair the well and provide water for the children and staff.
No-one expected to still be working in the community of Seica Mare 20 years later.

To celebrate all that God has done for Romanians and for more than 80 team members over the years, there will be an
Anniversary Thanks Giving Service
at St Mary's Church, Chard
on Friday 27th May at 7pm
- followed by nibbles in the Church rooms, a chance to look at photos and Power-points, chat and hopefully meet up with team members from past years.

The AGM will start at 8.30pm.
We would love YOU to come - if you can, please email via the website to give some idea of numbers for the catering team.
Thank you - see you there.

January 2011

Going Green with Project Romania
By January 2011 the charity had recycled 3 Ton of milk bottle tops - see Recycling for how you can get involved - washing your tops is an essential thing you can do easily - and tell your friends!

Also we have sent off a large sack of cartridges (not Epson as they are not recyclable) and 9 mobile phones have been accepted by Cartridges for Causes.

Please continue to collect these for the charity - all finance form these ventures help very poor children in Romania

June 2010

The ‘end of year bursaries’ from Project Romania were awarded by the school in Seica to the ten best 14 year old pupils, who will now to go on to Sibiu for education. THREE of the ten were from sponsored families. They received awards from the Mayor.

These children would have found getting to school much harder without help. We are so grateful that God honours and blesses the work there.

July to September 2009

Visiting some of the poorer families was sad and quite depressing. One family lives in the remote village of Petis. Each week they travel to Seica and stay in a one room hut, so their 3 teenagers can have their last 4 years of education. They go to Sibiu on the 6.30 train, returning at 5pm. Mum, works hard but doesn’t know how to go on, especially as they need extra money for train fares.

Another lady is very poor, but has worked hard to build a second room onto her home by herself. Her prem baby, Roxana, was born by Caesarean section but separated from mum for 3 weeks. Now, at 3 months, baby needs a specific and expensive milk formula. Her son Ionuti, at 15 has worked for 2 years in Sibiu as a kitchen boy. He goes on the 5am train and works until 12midnight for 2/3 days, then has 1 day off. At home he walks down the hill with a bucket ½ mile to a water trough. Little Raluca, 7, walks ¾ mile to buy 5 litre bottles of drinking water. Both trail back up the hill to carry the water home. Ionuti is unwell, and baby Roxana had pneumonia in September. Since returning from hospital she and her sister Raluca have both been baptised. But it wasn’t all doom and gloom……

The Mayors have an EU bid in to upgrade Seica Mare: it includes making up 7 km of village roads. A local business man is building a fuel station just outside the village – the nearest fuel is currently 10 miles away. A garbage van now comes from Sibiu each week.

Manor Court School are hoping to replace all the tattered reading books at the Primary school through their Harvest collection.

Rainbow Centre & Holiday Club Team
This young team enjoyed the ‘facilities’ at the Centre when they did Holiday Clubs. The children loved the face painting and parachute.

Chard Mayor’s Twinning Visit – Cllrs Jill and Garry Shortland
This was very successful. Jill can help to obtain EU funding as a councillor, as this doesn’t fit into the remit of Project Romania. Yet results of Jill’s work will impact on our social welfare programmes.

AND - we celebrated the marriage of Cristina and Dan Cristina graduated with 10 in her Master’s, the very highest mark. 9 years sponsorship has given this excellent result. Her life has been changed by love of ordinary folk in the UK.

We praise God as He lets us see just a little glimpse of how much He loves His people in Seica Mare.

July 2009

Holiday Club Trip

On the 24th of July a group of youth from three Chard Churches representing Project Romania, Chard headed out to Romania in a minibus. Revd Marilyn Tricker, Project Romania Chair, prayed for them and they were ‘waved off’ by a group of people including the Mayor of Chard, Cllr Jill Shortland and her husband Cllr Garry Shortland.

To raise money for the trip the youth travelling to Romania carried out a 12 mile sponsored walk around Chard in fancy dress. (You may have seen them walking through the High Street, you could not miss them.)

They’ll run a holiday club for the local children in three different locations around Seica Mare. The children in the area have very little to do during their summer break other than work to help support their families so they are getting excited about the visit from their friends from Chard.

Last year Chard twinned with Seica Mare, but the charity has been running projects in the area for 19 years to help with the level of need.

The party is made up of Nick Robinson and Chris Bagg, who will be sharing all the driving, George, Jenny, Rachael and Rachel, Bryony, Rosie and Sophie drawn from St Mary's Chard, South Chard Church, Tatworth Church and Chard Methodist Church.

This will not be a holiday with those going experiencing a completely different way of life and living standards, as they will be staying in an old school building with one shower and limited water supply. Hot water can only be achieved when the wood-burning stove is lit, an unusual thing to do in the heat of a Romanian summer.

This will be an adventure that is likely to affect those going for quite some time afterwards.

A big thank you to all those who supported them with sponsorship and gifts and especially Dorset Vehicle Rental, Honiton which supplied the minibus at a greatly reduced price.

They return on the 8th of August.

May 2009

Pontnewydd Ladies Choir

May 9th was a special day for Project Romania. The Pontnewydd Ladies Choir came and sang at St Mary's church and in so doing raised £325.00 for the charity. The evening was fairly well attended - those unable to come missed a treat.

From the ladies in the choir we heard wonderful renditions of works such as Karl Jenkins' 'Adiemus', John Rutter sacred songs, Welsh traditional songs, plus Frank Sinatra hits amongst other pieces.

They had a real sense of fun and donned impressive hats for the 'CampTown Races'! The Siloam and Novello groups, the duetists and solist were all lovely, and Lawrence Crowley the guest baritone thrilled us all with his deep voice in 'If I were a rich man' from 'Fiddler on the Roof'.

The choir came to the West Country for a 'weekend away' at their own expense entirely staying in Taunton and paying for their travel. We are very grateful for their generosity - and if anyone wishes to contact them please ring 01460 68617 for their details. A special thank you to Phyllis who did all the organising with us for the event.

Traditional Dancing

Due to the very successful September visit to Chard the 34 dancers have had opportunities to use their talents in their own area. Gina Benghea and the dancers with the Mayor of Seica Mare, Nicolae Susa, and the deputy Mayor, Florin Benghea were invited to take part in a festival in the county town of Sibiu in the winter. This is a first for the group and they did very well. Tthe team will be dancing at a county competition on 24th and again at the Seica Mare Folk Festival on 30th.

Rainbow Centre

6 bases were established in the garden at the back in March. The actual chalets should be erected in May.

March 2009

St. Mary's Seica Mare Visit

In July 2009 a group of young people from 4 Chard churches will be going to Seica Mare to take a week of Holiday Clubs around the villages. They are going to go on a sponsored walk in fancy dress in June - for more information about all this and to sponsor them contact Nick Robinson 01460 61833.

Rainbow Centre

Florin Benghea, (now deputy mayor of the commune) is overseeing the building of 6 small cabins in the garden area of the Rainbow Centre at Buia to accommodate the team. They will also mean that the Rainbow Centre can be used for conferences and school trips in the future and will hopefully provide a means of sustainable income for the Centre.

February 2009 - Manor Court School

thank you from Seica MareThere was a very successful visit in September when 45 Romanians came to Chard for the Twinning which took place on 6th September at the Guildhall. The 34 children from the Traditional Dance Team led by our manager's wife, Gina, were amazing. They danced in all the Primary Schools, at the Twinning ceremony and for the Tour of Britain Cycle Race both in Chard and in Burnham. See Autumn Newsletter online.

Since then Manor Court School has turned up trumps and we sent two large parcels out to Seica Mare Primary School full of craft materials and tools - scissors, glue stix, paper, stickers, paints and so much more. The children there are delighted and have used them in craft lessons with Gina and the other teachers.

Milk bottle tops - this is still very much an ongoing venture and we should reach 1000 kilograms in March. Keep up the good work.

Sponsored Walk to Support Dance Team Visit

Download your registration forms and sponsorship forms here.

Dance Team - UPDATE


In September there will be 35 children coming to Chard to perform traditional Romanian dance, with 10 adults including the newly elected deputy mayor of Seica Mare, Florin Benghea and his wife Gina who heads up the dancing team.

The new mayor of Seica Mare has deferred to Florin as Florin has been an integral part of all interaction between Chard and Seica Mare for many years.

Delia Pascu, known to many who have visited Romania in the past, is also coming and the new Orthodox priest from Buia where Project Romania runs many humanitarian programmes. There may be another young lady who has been sponsored for many years through her schooling and now University, a credit to all.

They will arrive on September 3rd and dance at the Guidhall for the the twinning ceremony on September 6th. We are expecting Graham Watson MEP and Patron of Project Romania, and David Laws, MP for this constituency to be amongst the guests.

The team will also be visiting several Chard schools during their week here.

Much of the itineray is still to be confirmed but on :-

  • Sunday September 7th there will be a joint churches Civic Service of Celebration and Praise held at St Mary's Parish Church which will include a shared tea and opportunity to meet all the team and dignitaries, plus enjoy the children dancing and singing.
  • On September 9th they will be dancing at Crowshute Link for the start of the Tour of Britain (3rd Leg) which Chard is hosted this year by Chard.

Bianca will be with the team. Many people in Chard have given to help her get much needed digital hearing aids. She is 16 now and wants to come to help with the younger team members, but also so she can personally thank Chard for all they have done for her.

The team return on 10th September.

Related Activities:
Cllr Jill Shortland and Cllr Martin Wale, Mayor of Chard, are involved in organising a Festival of Culture and Activities during that week and many voluntary organisations will be atking part.

There is still a need for help with transport and other activities during that week.

For further information or if you can help, contact:
Dawn Fletcher 01460 68617, Cllr Jill Shortland 01460 67357 or Stephen Zenda 01460 66793

April 2008 - Traditional Dance Team

The youngsters of Seica Mare have been practicing their steps – and they are very good – a delight to watch.

In late August we want to bring them to Chard for all of you to enjoy – and, in conjunction with the twinning of Chard with Seica Mare, we hope to have a big multicultural festival event including all the communities who now live here.

Most of the children come from very poor and underprivileged homes yet are so enthusiastic and dedicated in this activity. It would be good to get them seen by the British public and we would love to enter them into any festivals – so if you know of any where they can dance – let us know.

They will be here hopefully around 28th August – 5th September 2008. We are expecting to get them to dance in the schools during the final days of their visit.

We need offers of transport, accommodation (preferably from people with CRB checks), and funds!
Come on Chard – let’s make a difference to this small group of young people and give them a chance to shine.
If you can help in any way please contact Dawn Fletcher (via here) – or ring 01460 68617

There is a short promotional DVD (12 mins) available and a series of pictures.

Thank you
for your interest and co-operation.

January 2008 - Maria

I went to the doctor again and he is so pleased with me. He said that I may not have to have all 12 treatments! I am so happy because it’s very hard travelling to the capital every month and I get very scared.
All my family and friends say I look a lot better


JANUARY 2008 - Sebastian

This little boy, Sebastian, is 21 months old and was born with congenital cataracts. He had the cataract removed from the left eye by surgery on 23rd January.

His father does not have a permanent job, although he has some cows etc in his yard. His mother looks after little Sebastian, and has a little money from the Government as child benefit. They are not a very poor family, and they try hard to make ends meet, but they had to pay about 500 lei for everything in January, which is £100. Some of the total cost was supported by Health Department. The cost will be the same in April too.

The operation for the left eye was done in Sibiu and was successful. The doctors had to do the crystalline lens transplant. They need to operate on the other eye the beginning of April as the cataract there has to mature, and they need to do the same procedure.

Both parents are related to people who’ve had help from Project Romania. Currently Alexandru – the boy with burns, and some years ago baby Ioana, whose father died the day she was born.

So could Project Romania help this family?

Luke 4 v 16 – 20 - Jesus … stood up to read the prophet Isaiah where it is written: "The Spirit of the Lord is on me, because he has anointed me to preach good news to the poor. He has sent me to proclaim freedom for the prisoners and recovery of sight for the blind, to release the oppressed, to proclaim the year of the Lord's favor." He rolled up the scroll, gave it back to the attendant and said, "Today this scripture is fulfilled in your hearing “ Can Project Romania help this child to see ?


December 2007 - Alexandru

Alexandru is only 2½. He was badly scalded with boiling water in July 2007 when 60% of his body area was affected.

After several operations his aunt, who lives in Italy, helped and took Alexandru there for a medical examination. The treatment he has to follow is very expensive and the family has little money. The father is a building worker, but does not have work at the moment.
Alex needs 2 types of ointment for the child’s wounds and the monthly cost is approx 700 lei - about £150. (No NHS there!) They have to follow this treatment for the next 6 months at least.

There have been 2 generous donations :
£160.93 from the service at the Chard Methodist Church for the Week of Prayer for Church Unity on 20th January
£150.00 from a concert by the Alive Theatre Company in The Barn at the Square and Compass, Ashill on Saturday 26th January, including amazing performances from the ‘Wing It’ young people.
Thus the first 2 of 6 monthly treatments have been covered. We praise and thank God for this answer to prayer for such a desperate need.
Please contact the Project if you can help with further treatment costs. Thank you.


Autumn 2007 - Maria

Hallo, my name is Maria and I am 4 years old (going on 16).
I have to be brave and stand up for myself as life is cruel and I get pointed at. It’s because I have a red face – the doctor calls
it an ‘haemangioma’.
Some people in England sent some money so I can go to Bucharest each month, and the doctor there points a laser gun at me.
Mummy says it’s getting a bit better, but I have to go 12 times for this treatment.
We go on the night train, and come back on the night train, staying in the noisy city all day. It costs a lot of money, and I will be very glad when I don’t have to go again.
I like playing and dressing up. I feel the same as my friends but they call me names. Mummy calls me her little flower … perhaps my face is like a petal, or a tear … I don’t want to be like this all my life.