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“We want to help the school children of Vâlcelele”

Silvia Negoita about her charity project in Romania

The old and tiny school in Vâlcelele in Romania.

With its fitness initiative "Schunk läuft!" (Schunk runs!), Schunk has not only been getting its employees moving for years, but also supports a range of social projects. For every kilometer covered by the now more than 800 Schunk runners, Schunk donates a certain amount to a social or charitable project, such as the German Children's Fund. In the current season, "Schunk läuft!" is supporting a project for schoolchildren in Romania, which was initiated by Silvia Negoita, HR specialist at Schunk Romania.

Ms. Negoita, you are committed to helping schoolchildren in southern Romania. What is that about?

Silvia Negoita: I am member of a non-profit association, which supports families and children with poor material possibilities, people with health problems and other categories of disadvantaged people. Unfortunately, many of the rural schools in Romania do not have enough funds to carry out their regular activities. Thus, the children who study at these schools do not have access to education because of this.

How did you become aware of this topic and can you tell us more about the particular project?

Silvia Negoita: Through an action of the association which I am a member of, I came to several areas in the southern part of Romania and learned about the problems that the people there are facing. Unfortunately, there are no jobs in the area, and due to the low standard of living there is a permanent risk of dropping out of school for children growing up in this environment. This is especially the case for the village of Vâlcelele. Only 260 people live in the village, most of them subsisting on social subventions. There is no internet. 22 children are studying in an old, deteriorated school building which is generating high maintenance costs for the community. An investment in a new facility is not feasible for only 22 children, living in a depopulated area. Pupils from four grades are learning at the same time, in the same room, with the same teacher. So, as the conditions are bad, there is a high risk of school dropout for these children.

Silvia Negoita_blog
"As the conditions in the school are bad, there is a high risk of school dropout for these children."
Silvia Negoita, HR Specialist at Schunk in Romania

Has there been any prior connection between Schunk and the school in Vâlcelele?

Silvia Negoita: There has been no connection between Schunk and the school in Vâlcelele before. The site of Schunk is located in the metropolitan area of Romania’s capital Bucharest, which is some 250 kilometers away.

How do you plan to help the school children in Vâlcelele?

Silvia Negoita: We want to increase education opportunities for the school children, prevent them from school dropout and in a long run want to ensure their social integration. So we want to make it possible for them to visit the school in Darabani. This village is only four kilometers away, but it’s bigger than Vâlcelele. Its school is in much better condition, it has 41 school children and two teachers. There’s already a bus commuting from Vâlcelele to Darabani. At the moment, the school in Darabani does not have the capacities to accommodate the children from Vâlcelele. But it has two former classrooms that are currently used as storage rooms. Our plan is to help renovating these two rooms: changing the doors, painting the walls, replacing the existing flooring, equipping it with new furniture, printers and computers for the school usage. Depending on the amount of money that can be obtained, we will make a list of necessities and analyze the priorities.

Why does the state not provide sufficient equipment for the school in Vâlcelele?

Silvia Negoita: It is difficult to answer this question. Unfortunately, the state generally allocates funds to schools in large cities, for smaller cities and villages with smaller number of inhabitants the funds are often not enough. This is especially true for Vâlcelele with its old and tiny school. We want to help the children quickly.

How much money is expected to be needed for the project?

Silvia Negoita: We estimate costs of approximately 20,000 euros.

How is the project received by the colleagues of Schunk Romania?

Silvia Negoita: Over time the colleagues from Schunk Romania have shown their willingness to support charitable activities. We have colleagues who are open to such activities and want to support the project for the school children of Vâlcelele. And they are proud that corporate social responsibility is important to Schunk, as the donation to those affected by the recent flood in Germany has shown.

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