The Association of Premature Babies in Romania and the EESC Civil Solidarity Prize

the association of premature babies in romania and the eesc civil solidarity prize Romanian NGO wins European Economic and Social Committee Civil Solidarity Prize.

The Civil Solidarity Prize of the European Economic and Social Committee was unveiled on 15th February in a virtual ceremony. The Romanian Association of Premature Babies was one of the 23 EU and UK recipients of the prize for their exceptional contribution to fighting Covid-19 and its disastrous consequences. Each winner received a prize of 10,000 euros.

The project submitted by the Association of Premature Babies in Romania formed part of a category related to the production and distribution of medical equipment, which included projects on the production and distribution of facemasks and hygiene products, the transformation of buildings into hospitals, the building of new medical structures and the purchase and donation of medicine and technical equipment.

Diana Gămulescu, the founder of the Association of Premature Babies, explains:

"It all started with a need that had to be addressed, namely, at the beginning of the pandemic, many medical workers were telling us that premature babies were having less access to hospital services due to the Covid restrictions and that funding for neo-natal wards were suspended or cut and used to turn maternity hospitals into Covid support hospitals. So the organisation mobilised itself and the community, with the aim of helping as many maternity hospitals as possible. We didn't know at the time how much we would be able to raise from donations or whether we would be able to reach all the maternity hospitals in need of protection equipment, UV lamps and hygiene products. There were maternity hospitals where you couldn't even find soap, but we took it one step at a time and by the end of September we managed to raise the necessary funds and make donations to six maternity hospitals."

Diana Gămulescu told us more about the work of the Association of Premature Babies before the pandemic:

"The equipping of maternity hospitals in general is a priority, because there are 22 such hospitals with special neonatology wards and 64 general maternity hospitals around the country and each and every one of them needs something at all times. Apart from raising money, we also carried out projects aimed at the medical staff, such as continuous learning, we held workshops in hospitals and helped prepare families with new-born babies for the moment when they take their babies home, we ran webinars and projects to prevent premature births and travelled around the country to less privileged communities. We also provide financial support to disadvantaged families with premature babies who need long-term care. So, we've got a lot to do!"

The European Economic and Social Committee launched its civil solidarity contest in July 2020 on the theme of civil society against Covid-19 as a one-off event to replace its traditional prize. Its aim was to pay a tribute to civil society in Europe, which became actively and selflessly involved in solidarity projects from the very early days of the pandemic. Other Romanian projects that ran for the EESC prize include a social solidarity project ran by the Adi Hădean Association. A chef who saw his restaurant closed because of the pandemic, Hădean made sure his staff together with volunteers prepared and distributed warm meals to doctors, other medical workers, families in isolation and the elderly. Diana Gămulescu from the Association of Premature Babies in Romania told us how her association decided to run for the civil solidarity prize:

"When we found out about the contest we realised it would be a solution for us to be able to continue the donation raising campaign we began. We saw it as an opportunity in this respect, but we didn't think we would win. One of the most important things when you're trying to do good is finding solutions to ensure funding. It's complicated to find businesses and convince people to make donations and for us the contest was simply a chance to continue our work."

Winning was a big surprise and Diana Gămulescu is still overwhelmed:

"I still can't believe that miracles happen, that there's a Santa Claus in February. I'd like the prize to help raise awareness about premature births in general. I'd like to thank our supporters, individuals and businesses, and my team for their involvement and dedication. I would like it very much to be able to increase the impact of charitable actions nationwide."

In the near future, the Association of Premature Babies will continue to raise money to provide maternity hospitals with the needed equipment, hoping to reach as many hospitals as possible, and to carry out information and support programmes for parents.
Publicat: 2021-02-23 14:00:00
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