To a policeman in Ramnicu Valcea, recycling is a means to help disadvantaged children
Selective recycling means, to most of us, protecting the environment and our planet's resources. To a policeman in Ramnicu Valcea, though, by the name of Eusebiu Predonescu, and to those who share his convictions, selective recycling is a means to help disadvantaged children, more specifically several hundreds of children from across Valcea County, in central Romania, faced with hardships that most of the time steal their childhood. "We are waiting for you every day to help us sort and distribute ...hope!" , "Come and recycle with your soul!"; these are just some examples of how our guest today urges people to join him, because there is a lot of work and help is never enough.
Eusebiu Predonescu has a particular professional background: a psycho-pedagogical councilor for 8 years and a football coach for the youngest players in Romania, some of them even 3 years old. Currently, he is an officer specializing in the science of education with the Valcea Police Inspectorate and a volunteer at the 'Children without Childhood' Association. Here is Eusebiu Predonescu himself talking about his work:
"By wearing these many hats, as a teacher, coach, policeman, I have identified many children who've been deprived of a normal childhood. They miss something important, a family, somebody to support them to go to school and many of them do not benefit from the care of the most important person for a child, the mother. So, we started helping them, at first the little ones in our football club, but then things got bigger and we started helping children from various localities in Valcea County. There are situations in which children need support in order to be able to go to school, they need clothes, footwear, books, notebooks, etc. They also need transport to the nearest school. Some high school students need accommodation in a hostel or dorm for a week, in order to be able to attend school. There are so many cases and so many needs."
But Eusebiu's association does not only help children facing poverty. Some of them have health issues, such as the little girl who needs a hearing device, or another one who cannot see and needs special help. Some of the money raised by volunteers is also used to bring electricity to the homes of those children who still read at candlelight or refurbish houses that are about to fall down. Here is Eusebiu Predonescu again:
"Some time ago we started building little houses there where the old ones could not be renovated. We found children whose parents had died and so the team made efforts to build something basic for them, using recyclable materials. So everything is done based on the principle of selective recycling. In this way, we draw on our side also the communities and the teachers."
Aluminum cans, plastic bottles, carboard, used batteries, detergent recipients, old VT sets and other household appliances, are all used by the volunteers of the association that Eusebiu Predonescu is the heart of:
"We started with little things: a few plastic bottles, a few cans, some recyclable paper, old appliances...but, in time, as the results became visible, people from all over the county started to get involved, because they've seen how these recyclable materials can help children have a home and grow normally. There are many people supporting us now. Huge quantities of recyclable materials get to us to be used in our projects. This recycling part is rather recent. In the past, we used to help with clothes and things like that. But, since the needs were growing, we started looking for solutions, because I don't support the idea of getting money from somebody, I think money should be the result of our work. If you could see us in our warehouse! We are like ants. Taking each sack, sorting the content and distributing all materials so that they are used to the fullest is no easy job, but this is the only way in which we can help these children without childhood. Every month we manage to get some 2 thousand Euro from recycling. This money goes to building materials or is used to connect poor homes to the electricity grid. And we are so happy to announce when light can be turned on for the first time in such a house."
Things are tough but the volunteers in Valcea find strength in their love for these children. Their actions give them a lot of strength to move on, hoping that these children will get to grow up as they should. But there are also people who help from a distance. The volume of work is huge, but the reward is big, as these children without childhood thus stand a chance to enjoy normality. Here is Eusebiu Predonescu once more:
"What is important is to help them get to adolescence in normal conditions and then focus on the little ones, who need full support. There is a phone number than anybody can call on, anytime, to help such children, and it's posted on all our groups.ʺ
One can also access Eusebiu Predonescu's Facebook page, because sometimes a picture is worth a thousand words and it can be a source of inspiration. (M. Ignatescu)