A Travellerspoint blog

A Little Bit of History

A bit of the history behind Habitat for Humanity of Romania

Habitat for Humanity in Romania
In 1996, Romania became Habitat for Humanity’s 50th country worldwide. Since then, Habitat Romania has overseen seven affiliates in Beius, Cluj, Craiova, Comanesti, Cumpana, Pitesti and Radauti. In 2011, another affiliate will open in Ploiesti, which is only 60 km away from the capital and will have a significant strategic importance for the development of Habitat projects in Romania. The affiliates are spread across the three historic provinces of the country, with the national office in Bucharest.

The housing need in Romania
According to the national statistics, 35 percent of the housing stock in Romania is in a state of complete neglect and needs urgent repairs. Progress toward a stable market economy has been slow and difficult after years of the oppressive rule of dictator Nicolae Ceausescu. Real wages for working Romanian families have dropped by about 40 percent, putting additional pressure on the strained social system. The unemployed, farmers and housewives are the social categories most affected by severe poverty. Two-thirds of Romania’s poor live in rural areas.

In the cities, many dwellers live in cramped apartments in condominium complexes. Much of Romania’s housing stock is lowquality and deteriorating because of a lack of maintenance. A family of eight is more likely to live in a two-room flat than in a house. More than 10,000 blocks of flats were constructed before 1980 and now need serious renovation to their infrastructure, heating systems and roofs. More than half of rural communities have no access to piped water.

Since 2005, Romania has faced its worst floods in the past 100 years. The summers of 2008 and 2010 brought new floods in the country, leaving thousands of people in temporary shelters.

How Habitat addresses the need
Habitat Romania acts as a catalyst for improving housing conditions and offering support, expertise and experience to various groups and parties. The organization has taken leadership on tackling repairs, renovations and rehabilitation of old communist-era block apartments and disaster response projects.

Here are some examples of Habitat projects in Romania:

  • Construction and rehabilitation of homes and apartments blocks

Habitat for Humanity Romania builds and renovates homes in partnership with low-income families throughout the country. This can range from one-house builds to blitzes of 10 or more houses in just one week. Rehabilitation work is aimed at improving living conditions for families in the communist-era apartment blocks.

  • Energy-efficient housing

Habitat Romania helps families all over the country to save on energy cost by thermo insulating houses and doing minor repairs that will minimize the heat loss. In addition to this, 160 families in Moinesti , Comanesti and Darmanesti area will receive trainings covering practical tips for more energy efficient households.

  • Affordable housing for vulnerable groups

Habitat for Humanity Romania is actively working to provide simple and decent shelter for vulnerable groups such as the Roma, the mentally disabled and former orphans raised in state-run institutions. These groups are marginalized in society and have no access to funds to improve their housing situations.

  • Disaster response program

Thousands of families are left without houses following natural disasters: floods, earthquakes, landslides and wildfires. Over the years, Habitat Romania has helped more than 750 families in all the areas of the country affected by floods. Wherever possible, Habitat Romania has rehabilitated homes destroyed by water, but often has had to rebuild them entirely. This is by far their biggest program, carried out in partnership with government and local governments.

Meet a Habitat family
Daniela Moldovan (40) is a widow that lives with her two daughters:Anamaria (17) and Dana (15) in a semi-derelict house situated right next to a railway station. Their house consists of one room that serves both as a kitchen and a bedroom and a space converted into a lumber room. There is no bathroom or toilet in the house. There are cracks in the walls, and the roof is deteriorated. Due to location of the house Daniela is constantly worried about the safety of her two daughters. They have been living in these conditions for 13 years. Habitat Romania is helping the family build a new house on the land that Daniela inherited from her late husband. Daniela says: “I still can’t believe that we are going to have a new home, with at least one room, a bathroom and a kitchen. I’m so happy to have found and work with Habitat.”

(Special thanks to Habitat for Humanity for all their information on this page - this was taken from http://www.habitat.org/where-we-build/romania)


Posted by gooberkn 11:52 Archived in USA Tagged romania habitat habitat_for_humanity hfh Comments (0)

5 Months To Go!

And our team is growing...

In 5 months, we will be heading to the town of Beius to start our week volunteering with Habitat for Humanity.

We've had several folks join our team in February. Here's our current list:

Ken and Bonnie Mumm are joining us from Nebraska and they have recruited a few friends to join them. Judy, Rodger, and Kay round out the crew from Nebraska. Miranda Liska, a two-time volunteer in Beius, just informed me that she is ready to come back for another build! I'm excited to have her as my unofficial co-leader. She'll be a tremendous help to all the folks new to Habitat and/or Budapest/Beius.

I have a few more interviews this week and can't wait to add more folks to our growing team!

Here's a picture from my 2011 team to get you all excited for Romania. It's a picture of me and Miranda shoveling lots of dirt for cement. Who doesn't love getting a little sweaty and dirty while mixing cement for a concrete foundation?



See you all in five months!

Posted by gooberkn 19:19 Archived in USA Tagged for habitat humanity Comments (0)

A little bit about Beiuş

Our home for the week

A little bit about Beiuş, Romania thanks to Wikipedia.

Beiuş is a city in Bihor County, Romania near the Apuseni Mountains. The river Crişul Negru flows through Beiuş.
According to the 2002 Census, Beiuş has a population of 10,996 inhabitants.

The ethnic structure of the population is:
Romanian 89.56%
Hungarian 8.45%
Others 0.46 %

Beiuş's earliest mention in recorded history was in the year 1263, where it was mentioned as being burned down during a Mongol invasion in 1241. During the time of the Habsburg Empire and Austro-Hungarian Empire, between the late 18th and very early 20th centuries, Beiuş constituted one of the most important learning centers of the Romanian language in Transylvania. This occurred during a period when Romanians had little or no political rights and their representation was very poor.

Here is a picture of the town from above:
The View

The View

Today, Beiuş is a peaceful place, combining few ethnicities and three times as many religions as in previous times. The city contains superb architectural edifices, including a few old churches and the "Samuil Vulcan" highschool, built in 1828, which obtained the "National College" designation in 1998. The city is a key point in reaching the Apuseni Mountains and their rich mines, or mountain resorts like Stâna de Vale or Arieşeni through smaller but picturesque communities and villages like Budureasa or Vascǎu. The nearby mountains are hosts to some of the most dense and spectacular limestone cave systems in the world. These caves contain remains of the extinct cave bear (Ursus speleus) and prehistoric humans, huge colonies of bats, subterranean lakes, striking calcareous formations and giant earthworms that live in the guano-flooded cave floor.

Beiuş has its own city museum which houses over 3,000 pieces. The museum exhibits reflect its natural history, military history and art, but most famous are its folkloric artifacts: peasant tools, pottery, garments and folk art gathered from the entire central and southern county of Bihor. The underground tunnels in the city are also famous, as they are believed to link together and act as escape routes used during the Medieval Age. Their construction began during the rule of Hungarian king Bela IV. The nearby landscape includes: agricultural hills with crops ranging from corn, wheat and potato to fruit orchards like apple, pears, plums and strawberries. A long stretch of wildlife depleted forest that is rich in flora begins in the north-east of the city. Industry is represented mainly through production of furniture and fashion destined for European markets. The nearby distillery and beverage factory of Sudrigiu also employs a large part of the city's labour force.

Available or popular sports in or around Beiuş are: fresh water fishing (trout, catfish, carp, barbel chub dace and at least a dozen other edible species), speleology (spelunking), soccer (Sunday soccer is a local ritual for all ages), skiing, snowboarding, sledding, tennis, hiking, camping, backpacking and rock climbing. Hunting for species like: wild boar, roe deer, rabbit, pheasant, dove, partridge or ducks (mainly mallards) is also popular.

A beautiful old orthodox church about ten minutes outside of town:
Orthodox Church

Orthodox Church

If you are interested in joining my team on this adventure, feel free to email me at gooberkn@mac.com. No experience necessary! All you need is a willingness to help and a love for traveling!

Posted by gooberkn 17:52 Archived in USA Tagged habitat beius habitat_for_humanity Comments (0)

Welcome to my GV Beius Romania Page!

I'm very excited to be leading my 11th team to Beius Romania this summer. Find out all the information here!

Beius, Romania
August 2 – 12, 2013


Katie is looking for adventurous people to join her on an eleven-day build in the beautiful town of Beius, Romania. Katie has been leading teams to Beius for the past decade. This will be Katie’s 11th team to Beius, Romania! The team will be comprised of fourteen to sixteen energetic people who enjoy traveling and making a difference in someone’s life. After landing in Budapest, Hungary, the members will enjoy the beautiful mountain region of Romania while working in the small villages outside of the town of Beius. Together with the caring and friendly people of Beius, the teammates will help build homes with our hearts and muscles. It will be a unique experience as we help the incredibly friendly people of Beius, Romania improve their lives one family at a time.

About Romania
Romania is located in southeastern Europe. It borders the Black Sea and is situated between Bulgaria, Hungary, Moldova, Serbia and Ukraine. Romania has an estimated population of 22.3 million.

Its landscape is broken by the Carpathian Mountains and Transylvanian Alps. The climate is cold and cloudy in winter, with frequent snow and fog and sunny in Summer, with frequent showers and thunderstorms.

Romanian is the main ethnic group (nearly 90 percent), but there are also sizable Hungarian (6.6 percent) and Roma (2.5 percent) populations. Romanian is the country’s official language. The dominant religion is Eastern Orthodox (87 percent, including all sub-denominations). Minority religions include Protestant (7.5 percent) and Roman Catholic (4.7 percent).

About Habitat for Humanity Romania
Romania became the 50th Habitat for Humanity country after being invited to help in Beius. Six other communities, including Cluj-Napoca (Cluj), Pitesti, Radauti, Comanesti, Cumpana and Craiova have since taken up the challenge of ending poverty housing as part of Habitat. Now, more than 1,200 families in Romania, who previously lived in miserable conditions, have a safe and healthy home.

About Beius
Beius, where this GV team will be building, is a small town of 12,000 inhabitants located in the northwest of Romania’s Bihor county, near the Romanian-Hungarian border. The town is located in a beautiful valley with many villages surrounded by mountains. Beius has a rural feel, and one should not be surprised to see a wagon with horses crossing through the town.

Founded in 1996, HFH Beius became the first Habitat affiliate in Romania and has since provided 100 families in the Beius community with safe, decent, affordable shelter. Partner families pay back the home mortgage over 20 years at no interest and invest 1,000 hours of sweat-equity labor on other Habitat homes.

For more information about Habitat for Humanity Romania, visit http://www.habitat.ro/.

Types of construction for volunteers
Depending on the stage of construction, teams will work on a variety of tasks, including new construction of single and duplex wood-frame houses and home renovations and repairs. No construction experience is required for GV participants.

Standard itinerary
Day 1, Friday: Depart for Romania.
Day 2, Saturday: Arrive in Budapest, Hungary; overnight in hotel; team dinner.
Day 3, Sunday: Travel to host program; welcome and orientation with Habitat host program staff member; dinner.
Days 4–7, Monday–Thursday (workdays): Breakfast served before traveling to work site; work from 8:00 a.m.–4:00 p.m. with lunch on site; free time after work to clean up; dinner in local restaurants; time for team activities; walking tour of host city; cultural activities during a few of the evenings; farewell dinner on Day 9.
Days 8–9, Friday–Saturday (workdays): Breakfast served before traveling to work site; work from 8:00 a.m.–4:00 p.m. with lunch on site; free time after work to clean up; dinner in local restaurants; time for team activities; walking tour of host city; farewell dinner on Day 9.
Day 10, Sunday: Travel to Budapest, Hungary; free time; final team dinner.
Day 11, Monday: Departure day.

Note: Trip includes special events throughout the week, such as market tours, museum visits, etc.

Teams traveling to Beius, Romania, should expect to stay in a modest guesthouse with double- or triple-occupancy rooms and shared bathrooms. Meals are usually taken at local restaurants or prepared by the team. The first and last nights, the team will stay in double-occupancy rooms with a private bath at a hotel in Budapest, Hungary.

Trip cost
$1,740+ airfare

Team leader
Katie Boland has volunteered with Habitat for the last fifteen years either as an extended volunteer in Americus, GA, a volunteer at her local affiliate, and a team leader for the Global Village and Collegiate Challenge departments. Katie has led a global village team to Mexico, Chile, Costa Rica, and ten teams to Beius, Romania. Currently, Katie is a Social Studies teacher at Trumbull High School in Trumbull, Connecticut where she gets her students involved with Habitat too. Katie is enthusiastic to show you why she keeps returning to Beius, Romania every summer!

Any Questions? Contact Katie at:
Team Email: gooberkn@mac.com
Katie’s cell: 203-820-4894
Webpage: http://kboland.travellerspoint.com

Posted by gooberkn 18:36 Archived in USA Tagged romania habitat habitat_for_humanity Comments (0)

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