2021-06-12 ROMANIA

The Marist Centre in Moinesti and the International Children’s Day

Lavalla200> Community in Romania

1st June is a public holiday in Romania: the International Children’s Day is celebrated with great prominence, an idea dating back to 1925 during the World Conference on Children’s Welfare held in Geneva. There is practically no locality in Romania that does not organise a public event on this day.

In Moinesti this year, the Marist Daycare Centre (“CENTRUL DE ZI MARISTI“) was the star of the day. We designed a project to be put to the three primary schools in Moinesti. “COPILARIE, VIS SI FANTEZIE” (Childhood, dreams and fantasies) was the title; and the project aimed to make the Marist Centre better known, to dialogue with the schools’ leaders and teachers, and to foster the inclusion of our children into into the wider community, all at risk of dropping out of school and social exclusion.

The proposal was for the pupils to participate in a drawing competition on the theme of children: their dreams and fantasies about the future …

All three schools took part and we received around 170 drawings from 19 different classes.

The prize-giving ceremony was scheduled for 1st June, with a public event in the “Bai Park” at the Moinesti Centre. But instead… a change of programme!

The heavens opened the whole day and we were forced to seek  shelter in the Lira theatre, run by the municipality.  This unfortunately limited our time to just 30 minutes, before a children’s show from the local folk group.

We displayed all the drawings on the walls of the theatre and awarded prizes on the spot to the children who had produced the best works, while promising to go to each class to award prizes to all the participants.

The Mayor gave the initial greeting, a few words about the Marist Centre and the project, and then the series of prizes for the schools and individual winners began. The folklore show followed.

The next day, 2nd June, we visited the schools. We were allowed to meet each class that had joined the project and so we were able to congratulate each individual child with a diploma of participation, a pack of colouring pencils and souvenir photos.

We also had a party with our children from the Day Centre: pizza and cakes for everyone, prizes and a balloon launch. It wasn’t the 200 balloons that had been planned for the prize-giving ceremony in Bai Park, but at least for our children, it was an important moment of celebration.

We had been waiting for more than a year for a public opportunity to put ourselves on the map, since this long period, with all the restrictions caused by Covid-19, had not allowed us to contact the schools or even hold the official inauguration of the Centre planned for early March 2020 and cancelled on the eve of the event, due when a ‘state of emergency’ was declared.

We have worked so far with the few children we had at the beginning and we have also lost some of the older ones, as the lure of street life is often stronger than our ability to attract them. Now with the contacts generated by this project, the conditions have been created for a dialogue with the schools and in particular with some teachers. We will take this up at the beginning of the next school year, because no one is better than the homeroom teachers when it comes to suggesting to the families of the most disadvantaged children that they could profit by attending the CENTRUL DE ZI MARISTI.


Br. Mario Meuti – Lavalla200> Moinesti


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