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Project Ruth - uplifting, emotional, exciting, and so rewarding

by Wendy Westwood

This is a UK based charity that supports children and their families in Romania and Moldova.

It all began in a very small way back in 1992. A visiting speaker to Providence Baptist Church in Ferentari, a very rundown and poor area of Bucharest challenged the Sunday morning congregation to provide some help and support to the Roma street children outside the gates of the church.

This was not an easy challenge, this was not a rich church, people struggled, many living in overcrowded high rise flats some distance from the church, but gradually a plan came together.

The children were invited into the basement and some members of the church provided a Sunday school. The children were eager to come, the children were very dirty, hungry and with no schooling. They could not read or write but were eager to learn, and enjoyed any food that was provided.

Gradually a small day school developed, it grew so much that classes had to split between morning and afternoon. The lunchtime meal was very important.

That original small school is now a nursery school and provides rooms so the mothers can learn skills, e.g., sewing so that this can provide some financial support to their families.

A large school was built about 10 years ago not far away from the church. Today there are 175 students; 70% of the students go to the further education or training.

Many of the students are the first in their family to read and write, to gain qualifications, or to get paid employment.

Over 2,000 children have been educated, cared for, and loved by those involved in the project.

The church I used to attend in Stourbridge has close links with Providence Baptist Church and the Ruth School. I had the opportunity to visit and could see for myself the excellent work being done and how the money we raised was being spent.

About 6 years ago I was asked to become a trustee of the charity and continue that work from Burnham on Sea.

I was so impressed with the hard work and commitment of workers but the children are such a pleasure to meet and engage with. The school doesn’t just provide an excellent education there is a health and hygiene programme; children can wash and clean their teeth at school. There is a doctor based at the school so the parents can get regular health checks, help and advice also a dentist.

Clothing is provided, school bags and all the equipment necessary for school. There is a library which all the children are encouraged to use. There is a homework group and after school support, play schemes and every day, food at lunchtime which continued right throughout the pandemic. Workers found ways to get the much needed food to families.

I have found my visits to Project Ruth uplifting, emotional, exciting, and so rewarding to share with Roma families in a tiny church in a small village their fellowship and worship of God. I truly felt that in that place I was closer to God than every before, which is why I am committed to supporting Project Ruth.


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