From April 27 to May 13, 2019, our own Kathi Perkins took part in an District outreach trip to Romania along with three other Rotarians from District 7780. They flew through Turkey to reach Bucharest where they started their Romanian adventure. This adventure ultimately took them across the breadth of the country through Sibiu to Oradea. 
In Bucharest, the District 7780 team was greeted by Rotarians who treated them like royalty.  During their two days in that city, they met Rotarians from 5 clubs and visited projects that included an after-school enrichment program, an academic and vocational school for the deaf, and Casa Sperantei hospice.  Romania is now part of the European Union. Medical professionals can easily travel for better pay, so Romania struggles with not enough doctors and other medical professionals. The largest NGO in Romania is this hospice for both adults and children. 
They traveled north and west to Sibiu on May 1 on their way to Oradea.  They visited two castles in the Carpathian Mountains, including Bran Castle (also know as Dracula’s Castle). While in Sibiu they stayed with Rotarians and toured a local hospital with a special program to treat children with spina bifida – a project of a local Rotary Club. The rest of their trip from May 2-12 was spent with multiple clubs in Oradea.
During their time in Oradea, they stayed with local Rotarians and learned a lot about the region and how Rotary is helping.  The Oradea club funds economic development grants to local start-up businesses, although existing businesses looking to expand can also apply for the grants.  Romanians pay income tax, but this money goes back to the towns in which they work not where the employees live.  As a result, towns work hard to develop local businesses and expand business opportunities. 
The District 7780 team saw lots of hands-on projects like a back-pack food program for school children, a program for autistic children, children’s theater, and a summer art camp. A signature program that they were shown is a foster care/orphanage program in which the kids live in houses.  Each house has 12 children with two “parents”.
Near the end of their trip they toured a village school in Cojuba Mare. They saw old computers and old books in a very small library.  The village has limited medical care and there is arsenic in their water. Kathi noted that there are many opportunities for additional Rotary projects in this area. 
District 7780 Romania Team Roland Gagnon, Melissa Lesniak,
Phylis Wolfe and Kathi Perkins