A group of staff and students from Cookstown High School have returned from a humanitarian trip to Romania.
The group made the journey as part of the 2018 School Aid Romania project, thanks to the Mid Ulster community which provided significant financial and aid support.
A spokesperson for the group wrote: “In the build up to our trip, our pupils spent months fundraising in order to be able to buy aid for the different places we visited. Each day we embarked on visits and our week started with our usual visit to Sacele old people’s home.
“In total there are 60 residents who live in the home. During our morning visit we firstly put together gift bags for each of the different residents in the home and once these had been prepared we then put on a small show to entertain the residents.
“We were saddened to see this year, much younger residents who are confined to bed; however, it was good to be able to spend a little time with them. When we asked what the needs of the home were, we were asked to buy incontinence nappies and sheets for the bed. Such easy commodities to obtain at home and yet very expensive in Romania.”
The group visited a number of special schools, bringing food, stationery, cleaning materials and money to buy additional educational supplies. A visit to two orphanages was next on the itinerary for the Cookstown entourage.
“Today the orphanage looked different and there were many activities set out which we had never witnessed in previous visits. Not long into our visit we discovered that the World Human Rights inspection team were on their way for a visit. It was sad to see such a pretend front going up for the inspection when we know interaction and care is not great in this institution.
“We travelled to Timis orphanage which is for young and older adults alike. Most of the people in the orphanage have been abandoned from a very early age and have spent their lifetime in different institutions.
“This was one of the hardest places to visit, as there just seemed to be nothing that we could really do to bring hope into their lives.”
The group also witnessed the worst poverty they had seen during a visit to Comana. They also learned that one of their friends Danny had died since their last visit to Romania.
“School Aid Romania were able to continue to support Danny’s family, providing them with what was necessary to ensure Danny got a proper burial.
“It was strange to have been in Romania this year and not see Danny; however, we do believe he is happy with the angels and for that we can be truly thankful.”