This week we were thrilled to continue our partnership with Emmaus Romania’s Satu Mare community by providing solidarity donations to support the community’s growth.

Our team at Emmaus Cambridge, gathered furniture, bric-a-brac and homeware items to send over for our friends at Satu Mare to sell in their shops and create much-needed income for their charity. The donations exceeded a value of £3000 and will support their companions, who they fondly call ‘youngsters’ to access a home, work opportunities, therapies, and wellbeing activities.

Throughout February at Emmaus, we have been championing kindness as we celebrate 70 years since the Emmaus Uprising of Kindness. Giving back and supporting others who are in need is an essential aspect of Emmaus life and it’s been wonderful to see the positive impact this donation will have on the Satu Mare community.

Mark, one of our Operation Assistants, led on the solidarity project and shares “Solidarity is the key for Emmaus as a movement to grow and progress with this action we are showing unity and strength together. It’s been a great opportunity for our companions to meet and support companions from an Emmaus community abroad and to build relationships.”

Dalma and Katlin, members of Emmaus Satu Mare also took the opportunity to stay at our community for a few days to get to know a bit about a UK communities and meet our companions. Dalma, a support worker shared her experience of visiting Emmaus Cambridge and told us about the work they do to alleviate poverty in their local area.

“At Emmaus Satu Mare, we work with youngsters, between 18 and 26 years old, but mostly 22 years old. The people we support grow up in childcare protection and orphanages, so they have no family or a very harsh family background. When they turn 18 years old, our government says, okay you’re free to go but they still need support. A lot of the youngsters didn’t finish mandatory school education, they have hygiene problems and unfortunately, they have experienced a lot of trauma from the childcare system. 

We work with individuals to support them for up to three years, in this time they can finish their schooling, they can do other professional courses, or they can access therapies and medical care. All our youngsters, or companions as you say in the UK, spend time in our shops and they learn the responsibilities of having a role within our community while gaining new skills. We work also on the social support, we run workshops on topics they’re interested in like climate change and politics. We help them to make plans for the future and work out what their goals are.

This is my first time visiting an Emmaus community in England. There are a lot of similarities between our community and Cambridge’s community, we both have shops and accommodation for companions, but the age range is slightly different here and you have people stay more long-term. Everyone has been so welcoming, friendly and really interested in our community and lives in Romania.

We are facing some financial issues in our community and we’re really grateful for the support of Emmaus Cambridge. Supporting our companions full time is a big cost that we sometimes struggle to meet. Our government is not very helpful. Emmaus is very well known here but in Romania it is seen as a standard second-hand shop so it’s a challenge to communicate what we do and attract support.

This donation from Emmaus Cambridge is going to be a big help because it is guaranteeing that we can carry on the work we do and that we will have products in our shop to sell. It ensures that companions will receive their financial support. Last year, at the end of the year, our government cut off some of the support that they provide us with, so we are facing a very challenging period. We are needing to find other ways to create income. We have been teaching youngsters how to sew and create products that we can sell without relying on donations as we get very poor-quality donations coming in to us.

It’s been amazing to visit Emmaus Cambridge along with one of our youngsters, Katlin. We have loved seeing how we’re all working together across the world to support people, and although we work in slightly different ways, we all have one mission. Mark and the team have been so kind and generous we hope we can welcome them to Romania soon.”

Learn more about Emmaus Satu Mare and the work they do here

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