Winter has finally ended in Romania, and we are happy to report that some progress has been made on the demolition and construction of the proposed social enterprises on the Valenii de Munte site.
Pro Vita has finally received the local government’s permission to proceed with the demolition of the existing wooden buildings, but the Town Council is withholding permission on construction depending on the resolution of the future of the existing 1910 police station which anchors the site. The Council wants that re-habbed first, but Pro Vita has already assembled much of the construction materials needed for the two factories and wants to do that work ahead of the police station renovation/reconstruction. Mihail Tanase continues to plead his case with the Council. AFPVO will forward additional monies to Pro Vita when they are able to start the construction of the long-awaited “Economic Trampoline”. Many thanks to all the donors whose contributions will help make this dream a reality.
Pro Vita has received a three year grant (renewable) from the EU to develop additional social enterprises. The 300,000 Euro grant requires them to identify and develop 41 enterprises! Very exciting but a much bigger grant and project than Pro Vita originally envisioned. You can follow this activity at www.acceleratordeidei.ro or on Facebook at Accelerator de Idei
The number of beneficiaries remains somewhat stable at about 500 people — over 250 children, almost 60 elderly, and the reminder — intellectually disabled adult women, homeless adults, battered wives and their children, and pregnant young single women — all bringing their unique individual issues and challenges.
Organizationally, Fr. Tanase, Pro Vita’s founder, has retired from his position as president of the Board but will remain involved to provide spiritual guidance. This required the transfer of guardianship of 141 children from Fr. Tanase to Mihail which has resulted in numerous, time-consuming court appearances as the Romanian courts will only review a few cases each time.
The 56 member Board unanimously elected Ionut Bunea as the new President. Mihail and Melanie Tanase are hopeful that he will be able to relieve them of some of the overwhelming amount of both day to day and long range tasking.
Financial updates – The AFPVO Board authorized Pro Vita to expend monies on the installation of central heating for the houses in the Valea Screzii compound. Approximately $7500 was spent last fall. Site surge protectors were also installed after lightening storms “fried” some computers and appliances in Valea Screzii and at the Social Center in Valenii de Munte.
Pro Vita also provided $3000 for emergency housing for a recent widow and her two children to prevent having the children taken into State custody.
Fr. Sean Cavanaugh once again led a group of students and staff from St. Stephen’s and St Agnes high school (SSSAS, Alexandria, VA) to Pro Vita in March for a successful week of service work. Fr. Sean will be returning to Pro Vita in late July to confer with the Tanases on current and future priorities for AFPVO’s support.
The long-delayed 3 phase power connection at the Social Center finally occurred, and the staff is now able to use the commercial kitchen equipment (bought 18 months ago) to serve the residents and volunteers in the Social Center.
One of our Netherlands-based supporters is organizing a small group of skilled and willing DIY carpenters to spend a week or more in Valea Screzii in the Fall, working on completing some partially built houses on the hillside behind the children’s homes. This will give Pro Vita much-needed space to house additional beneficiaries on both emergency and longer-term bases.