Is Romania a business-friendly country

DAY 2: PARALLEL WORLDS

August 13, 2012 - Why do we work in a country that is part of the European Union? Voica Pop, child rights expert frowns. “Romania is an industrialized country and a developing country at the same time. Very many children do not have a real home and there is hardly any functioning child protection. A lack of education and broken families are the biggest problem. "

A rusty suspension bridge with wooden planks leads to Rusavatu.
© UNICEF / DT2002-43288 / Tarneden

I find out what that means in the province of Buzau on the foothills of the Carpathian Mountains. The bridge to Rusavatu is hanging on rusted ropes. We cross the river on swaying wooden boards. The stony dirt road meanders over several hills until it descends into a valley. I meet Neluta Tapu and her six children near a tiny rusty train station. You can see poverty and exhaustion. The friendly, reserved woman in the dirty yellow dress is only 29 years old. She stills the youngest with a tired look while she talks about life in this loneliness.
Her husband makes ends meet as a day laborer. At night he sleeps with the three boys on a dirty bunk in the tiny room with adobe walls painted blue. Neluta lies down with the girls in the pink-painted kitchen, where a few apples are stored by the tiny fireplace. “Hardly anyone speaks to us here,” she says. Her eleven-year-old son Ionut is registered at school. But the way is long. He has to walk there alone for over an hour; often he doesn't make it. "Ionut likes going to school, but he always forgets everything."

Ionut (11): Growing up in loneliness - It is over an hour's walk to school.
© UNICEF / DT2002-43278 / Tarneden

The children listen with a mixture of skepticism, curiosity, and devotion. Like their mother, they seem to submit to a seemingly hopeless fate. “We go to bed when the train is over at eight o'clock,” says Neluta. They don't have a watch. Bitter poverty in the middle of Europe.

Neluta and her children: "Hardly anyone speaks to us here."
© UNICEF / DT2002-43280 / Tarneden

The strong mayor with the wide gap between the teeth, who brought us here, is waiting impatiently and also a little uncomprehending. His look expresses a bit of astonishment why someone messes with these children. "Many people here think that the families on the fringes of society are their own fault," says Voica Pop from UNICEF. “Many mayors don't even know how many children there are in their communities.” Every tenth child in this poor area is considered to be at risk - due to the fatal mixture of poverty, lack of education, indifference and violence.

Mariana, Miruna and Stefania - what will their future be like?
© UNICEF / DT2002-43282 / Tarneden

UNICEF organizes cooperation between social workers, health and child protection institutions in the province and trains helpers. People like Ciprian Parvu, who is now coordinating aid for children on the fringes of society in Buzau on behalf of UNICEF. “People don't know how to improve their own situation,” he explains. “The grandfathers could read and write. They built the houses. Your children don't even manage to sustain it anymore. "

Leo, Adi and Toni: Roma children in Calvin are left to their own devices most of the time.
© UNICEF / DT2012-59913 / Rudi Tarneden

Ciprian is happy to have UNICEF's support. “The authorities are completely overwhelmed by the large number of broken families. They also do not know what to do if there is a suspicion that children are experiencing violence, being abused or exploited. With the help of UNICEF, we work together much better today. UNICEF sees our practical problems and adapts to them. We have also learned how important it is that we set clear goals and then check whether we have achieved them. "

At the lonely train station.
© UNICEF / DT2002-43286 / Tarneden

Rudi Tarneden's travel diary

»Day 1: Bucharest - capital on the edge of Europe
»Day 2: Parallel Worlds
»Day 3: Buzau emergency room
»Day 4: Conversations on the street

»To the overview page of the travel diary from Romania