Emmaus Club – A wonderful development program for children with special educational needs in Dancu.
Besides many problems the families will face in Dancu, there are many parents who often baffled by the problems presented by a child with learning disabilities. Often this “invisible disability” does not become obvious until a child reaches school age. Even then, difficulties may be subtle and hard to recognize.
We are very glad that this year we had the privilege to help 30 children who needed help to acquire the school curriculum and not just that, but to help them to really feel included in the school program and to feel the love which most of them missing at their homes and in the society. This is possible with the support we have received from Link to Hope which we thank God for. Many thanks to Link to Hope and all its supporters for with your very special help these children who live in a remote village and much poverty, have access to education, food, receive social activities and socio-emotional help. Together we can bring a smile, a hope and a better future for children around us. This year 2016, Emmaus club, upon the request of parents, we have 30 children and 5 teachers who are involved with much passion and love to help these children. The reason we have many teachers is that a few children are especially slow and it is very difficult to help them in groups so we work with them individually. We are really pleased with the big impact this project has had on the lives of these children, teachers and parents.
All the children we help come from poor families and they are from the 1st to 4th grades.
Buruiana Lilian 2nd grade, is coming from a large family and living conditions are very difficult. Lilian’s father is employed as a watchman at the kindergarten with a salary 1,200 lei (40 GBP) per month. His mother doesn’t have a job and the family is very poor. Lilian had no motivation to learn but we have tried to cultivate love for books through various attractive activities and he has gradually started to like Emmaus Club. He now knows a few letters and numbers and begins to form short words with the letters learned. He has no patience and cannot focus too long. He needs different learning methods included in a lesson that can keep him attentive to what he has learned.
Lungu Denis, also a pupil in the 2nd grade. Neither parents have a job and are trying very hard to find work in the village to sustain the living of their children. Life is very hard for all of them. The home also has 2 younger sisters who go to kindergarten. Due of this great despair sometimes the father has a problem with alcohol and the mother can’t work because of her health conditions. Denis is also a child with psychological problems. He doesn't really love to communicate, easily getting cross, very hard to come into contact with the teacher and the children. Watching him throughout the year at the lessons of the Emmaus Club, we noticed that little by little he began to communicate, to play, to participate in group activities. Even if he is withdrawn, we are always trying to find ways to occupy him that will motivate him to get involved in the Emmaus program. It is an enormous work for our team but worth it when we see the results. We are very encouraged and we thank God for He is giving us enough patience and love to work with such children.
The needs and possible problems of the children are discussed together with the Emmaus team, to develop plans for offering help to each child individually. This facilitates progression through the program and offers all children the opportunity to be included in the school program.
Every Tuesday and Thursday, after school hours, the children are collected by a small minibus by Vadim who is also one of the teachers and brought to the Community Center to carry out activities in the Emmaus Club. Although the minibus has only 8 seats available, often we bring with 15-20 children and drive there twice.
When we started the project in 2009 we gave them just a snack but now we are also preparing them a very basic warm lunch. This is because most of these children are coming from poor families and it is very important to give them something to eat before we can start any activities with them. The children really appreciate this and we have heard that the food they receive and the fun they have is a big factor that attracts them to the project. The food children receive is prepared by a very poor lady who is a church member and she does a really a good job.
It is so encouraging for us to see all the children coming with so much joy to our club and they are always waiting for our driver to collect them from the school and bring them to our community center, the wonderful place which we also have with the help of Link to Hope. The Emmaus Club is not just for teaching these children mathematics or English but teaching them to be human, sharing the love of God with them, developing their communicating skills and making new friends. We try to give the best to these children so that they and their parents will see that God lives in our lives. Both children and their parents are very happy and very pleased with this program and we pray that this program will continue to be a big encouragement, hope, joy and much help for many children who live such a hard life. What a great joy for us to be with these children for these additional hours and help them. We feel greatly encouraged and very motivated to continue in this very important ministry. On behalf of all our children, parents and teachers involved in this project we would like to thank you very much for your great support.
Words cannot be described just how much we appreciate all the encouragements and financial support we have received from Link to Hope which had a huge impact on the lives of these children, their parents and our school teachers. We are so grateful for God gave us this opportunity to do something for them so that can change their future. I am happy to see the progress of this project but also our relationship with the parents. It is very important that the responsibility of the welfare remains with the parents so we would like to continue this program by giving the children the help they need but also developing a strong relationship with their parents. Thank you for being with us on this very important journey. – Veronica, project manager