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The Romanian Aid Foundation

with Asociaţia Neemia

Newsletter,  January 2013


The latest newsletter has been prepared and has been sent out to those on our mailing list.  If you would like to be added to the distribution list then please go to our 'Further Info' page using the link on the left. Below we reproduce the text of the newsletter for those who prefer this medium. 

Loading team at Billingshurst, December 2012The principal activity of the Romanian Aid Foundation (RoAF) during the past year has been the collection, preparation and dispatch of humanitarian aid items.  Items such as good quality clothing, bedding, toys and household goods are sent to north-eastern Romania, to help alleviate poverty and hopelessness amongst needy people in that area.  November 2012 saw the twentieth anniversary of the start of that work, which pre-dates the formal establishment of RoAF.

RoAF is funded by personal donations and receives no government aid, other than Gift Aid refunds.  Income received during 2012 totalled some £35,200, a reduction of some 5% on that for the previous year.  Nevertheless, the charity was able to dispatch a total of 7 lorries during the past year, at a total cost of some £37,500 including all transport and administration costs.  These consignments comprised 80 tons of aid items with an estimated value of some £63,000.  

In Horley, the Friday packing team has continued its activities throughout the year, with the usual breaks for holidays. In addition to its practical function this group also has a valuable social dimension when supporters are welcome to drop in and talk with the team.  Elsewhere, supporter groups in Essex, Oxfordshire, south and west Wales, northeast England and Scotland have continued to supply valuable quantities of aid items.  In addition, there are numerous smaller social groups who focus on RoAF for at least some of their activities.  This includes churches, knitting groups, shoebox clubs, pensioner groups and similar groups. Finally, there are those individuals who make donations, whether of goods or finance or prayer support.

In January 2012 RoAF’s online Photo Gallery was launched.  This has proven popular with supporters, who can see more of the conditions that we are seeking to address and the people that we are helping.  New photographs are added regularly, both maintain an up-to-date insight and working backwards to share photographs previously help privately.

Since June 2012 RoAF has been publishing monthly Prayer Notes, sharing positive aspects of the charity’s achievements and highlighting special needs.

Achievements in RomaniaThe Romanian Aid Foundation works closely with its Romanian partner charity, Asociatia Umanitara Neemia (AN), which acts as its principal agent in the distribution of aid items in the Dorohoi area of north-eastern Romania. AN operates year round using the local knowledge of its Romanian staff to distribute aid where it is most effective. These activities, including warehousing, vehicle costs and staff salaries, are fully funded by the AN shop in Dorohoi (which sells a proportion of the clothing received). Subject to a steady supply of suitable items, the aid distribution operation in Romania is not dependent upon funding from the UK. 

During 2012, goods to the value of approximately £56,300 were given to a total of 1,460 people asking for help. Needy households are registered for assessment and follow-up, and the team has worked well together to ensure that as many people as possible get the help they need. 

Cash donations totalling £8,300 were given to needy households, to help with rent, fuel bills, medical costs and similar domestic emergencies. This includes 18 households who receive designated sponsorship of typically £20 per month. All these cash donations are funded from the proceeds from the shop. 

In addition to practical help, AN offers the services of a qualified Social Counsellor who visits needy households and advises as appropriate. Camelia currently has a casebook of 618 households, some 80 of which have received follow-up visits. AN also works in co-operation with local authority social services and other charities in the area, to maximise the effectiveness of our collective efforts. 

Through specific sponsorship, AN makes Bibles and other Christian literature available to those who request them. There has been a healthy level of interest in both adults’ Bibles and children’s illustrated Bibles. No pressure is put on any of the recipients but further advice is available to those who request it.

Snapshots from 2012: 12 photos that give an insight into the range of activities that AN has undertaken during the past year.   (Click on any of the photos to open the photo gallery)

Coropca family

The body of Maria Coropca’s husband was found after three months. He had fallen into a river whilst returning home one evening. The family is now dependent upon AN and sponsorship from the UK. 

Cornelius’s new bike reduced his journey to work from 2 hours to 40 minutes. Many thanks to those at Cardiff jail who refurbish the bikes prior to donation.

AN was asked to distribute food boxes on behalf of Dorcas Aid International in Holland. Georghe Sandu has a family of seven to support but is unable to work due to poor health. 

AN offers advice and expertise to help people in other practical ways. Here Vasile and Beni discuss the installation of a double-glazed door that was discarded in the UK.

Rural families often have land that can be used for crops.  AN helps poorer families with the costs of ploughing and seeds.

Graduation day at a village school - but what will become of these children?  AN supplies many local schools with necessities, including stationery, handicraft materials, computers, uniforms and furniture.

Mihai is one of several people who receive food and clothing sent by sponsors in England.

Ionut and his children received a bag of locally sourced food items funded by a sponsor in south Wales.

AN has the facilities and local knowledge to undertake this type of distribution, and provide detailed reports back to the sponsors.

Last Autumn, Romania lost about 80% of its crops due to drought.  One memory from the past year was the encouraging level of response, both in terms of cash and kind, when the failed harvest was made known. 

Raluka was brought up in an orphanage. She is now married with two small children but still needs our help with food and medical expenses.

Dana and Cristi lived in a derelict house that was falling down around them. With sponsorship from the UK, AN was able to provide a new home for their family.

Olga is a widow in her late fifties who looks after a grand-daughter whose parents work abroad. She supports herself by the sale of milk from her cow.  This year she received a Christmas present for the first time in her life.

From little acorns mighty oak trees grow 

Richard Burgess reminisces on his first twenty years of helping the needy in Romania.

2012 has been a memorable year for me as it marked the 20th Anniversary of my first visit to Romania and the conception of  The Romanian Aid Foundation. When I made that  trip in November 1992 with Jon Norman, our first destination was Timisoara and then we went up north to Dorohoi.  It was Dorohoi that I felt drawn to because of the poverty and scars which Communism and the Revolution had inflicted on that area.  Orphanages were overcrowded; the stench of urine and the unloved emptiness in those poor children's eyes are experiences I will never forget.  Old people's homes were in similar condition. 

So the question was   "WHAT CAN WE DO TO HELP ?" 

As Christians, Jon and I were able to share these situations in Dorohoi with our respective Churches ie. Horley Baptist Church, Surrey  and Emmaus Christian Fellowship, Lampeter, and were encouraged and supported by them to reach out and help.  To begin with we had assistance with transport and warehouse facilities from Jon's employers  Royal Mail and subsequently Parcel Force and, with the support of both Churches and the wider community, we were able to collect Aid in many forms and deliver it to Dorohoi on a regular basis. 

As the needs grew so did the support and very soon it became necessary to form a Charity and hence RoAF was born. This was followed by  the setting up of  Asociatia Neemia (AN), our Romanian counterpart, to ensure the efficient distribution of the goods taken out. The success and smooth running of this operation owes much to the effective administration by the co-ordinators,  Beni and Ionela, who have been involved since its formation.  Initially a small ground floor flat was purchased in Dorohoi to serve as an office and base for the work of AN but as the work grew it became necessary to buy a warehouse to assist in the storage and distribution of the ever increasing volume of goods being received. 

In 2000 permission was granted to sell a small percentage of the clothes donated so a shop was acquired and refitted, in the centre of the town, to become a focal point for the work, giving much appreciated employment, providing sufficient income to finance the running of AN and in addition giving  support to many local families e.g .for medical emergencies, winter fuel and other incidentals - the list is unending.

Many changes have recently  evolved in the UK;  having a large  new warehouse at Billingshurst managed by the Horley Team and an additional warehouse in Cardiff managed by Chris and Elena, Paul and Gloria, has made it possible to send out 7 40-ton-lorry loads of aid in 2012. 

In December approximately 3,000 "JOY-IN-A-BOX" shoeboxes were collected for Dorohoi.  I was privileged to fly out and assist in their distribution, seeing firsthand the extra workload this puts on the AN team who in spite of the severe weather conditions ie. (SNOW 2-feet deep) carried out the delivery of these precious gifts under the excellent organization of Beni, bringing a Happy Christmas to so many families, especially the delighted children. 

A very special  THANK YOU  to everyone involved.

In summary, our 20 years of helping the needy people of Dorohoi have been a real blessing to them and to me.  Over the years we have known many answers to prayer, making the seemingly impossible possible.  God has always been faithful, He has never let us down and never will.

As expenses increase (it now costs app £3,000 to send each load) so we need your continued support both financially and prayerfully to carry out this work.  My latest trip in December was my 67th journey to Romania and as I reach the ripe old age of 70 in June please pray that I continue to enjoy the health and strength needed to play my part in this worthy cause which brings Glory to God's name in Dorohoi. 

Thank you to ALL who have and do support His work, may you be Blessed in helping those much less fortunate than yourself.    Matthew ch25 v40

                                           Richard Burgess

p.s. one day when my wife is not busy I will write a book!!

Summary of Finances:  Despite the difficult economic situation, we are able to praise God for the way in which the work of RoAF and AN has been able to continue and expand during 2012.





  Income from donations




  Fundraising Events




  Tax reclaim








Total income












  Transport (7 lorries in 2011, 8 in 2010) 2




  Warehouse costs (including rent, materials, insurance) 3






  Special projects (including specified family support)




  Publicity (including phone, postage, stationery) 4




  Miscellaneous expenses





Total expenditure




  Balance of income over expenditure








  Income from Donations

28,141   28,297   -1%  
  Fundraising Events 3,747   2,709   +38%  
  Tax Reclaim 3,317   6,039   -45%  
  Interest 3   5   -40%  
Total Income 35,208   37,049   -5%  




  Transport (7 lorries in 2011, 8 in 2010) 1 16,832   20,190   -17%  
  Warehouse costs (including rent, materials, insurance) 2 13,210   10,842   +22%  
  Special projects (including specified family support) 3 7,036   762   +923%  
  Publicity (including phone, postage, stationery) 4 255   290   -12%  
  Miscellaneous expenses 210   9   ~   
Total Expenditure 37,543   32,092   +16%  
  Balance of income over expenditure (2,335)  4,957   ~   


1. Transport costs are linked to the price of fuel and to the exchange rate between the pound and the euro. An additional lorry was separately funded, as were two consignments from Holland and one from northern England. 

2. Warehouse costs include the advance payment of some property taxes normally falling due in 2013.

3. Special Projects includes sponsorship for the rebuilding of one house and the purchase of another.

4. Publicity does not include the costs of maintaining the website, which is sponsored separately.

Our thanks are due once again to Graham Howard and Helen Cathcart for keeping our finances in order.

Thank you to all those who have made donations of time, goods and money to help this work continue.

This newsletter is published on behalf of the Romanian Aid Foundation and Asociatia Neemia.  For further information or to be added to the newsletter mailing list please use our response page or write to us using the contact details below: 

The Romanian Aid Foundation

179 Albert Road, Horley, Surrey RH6 7HS  or  Oaklea, Temple Bar, Lampeter, Ceredigion, SA48 8BQ

The Romanian Aid Foundation is UK Registered Charity No. 1060828. 


Asociatia Neemia

Str Spiru Haret nr 9 bk16, Dorohoi, Botosani, Romania.

This newsletter is  © Romanian Aid Foundation, January 2013.  


Printable version (.pdf) ..... Link to previous newsletter ..... Link to photo gallery


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