Positive Changes in Budesti!

Prayers are answered in so many ways. Whilst we are struggling to create change in the village of Budesti, I can honestly say that thanks to the care and compassion of so many people, change is taking place!

Meeting the physical, educational, moral and spiritual needs of a community can be, at the best of times, an overwhelming responsibility. A child’s view of life is not developed by mere words. It requires actions and a commitment to serve.

I am delighted that Father Ed Elsey has kindly agreed to come to Budesti to serve within the community. Fr. Ed is particularly valuable to the village due to his impressive scholastic qualifications combined with his endearing spiritual personality.

It was almost exactly a year ago that I accidentally slid down the muddy embankment which was to become the steps leading to the new school. My, what a difference!

Now that the school is completed, we face the important task of ensuring that children receive a quality education and guidance, to prepare them for the unique challenges they face. We recognise that these children are the future of Moldova and we must heartily embrace our responsibility to not only provide the finest education possible, but to inspire the children to become part of the positive changes within their beautiful country.

Fr. Ed will be travelling to Moldova at the beginning of December. He will immediately take up residency in the village of Budesti. Each time Fr. Ed and I speak over the phone, I find myself apologising to him as I am so excited about his coming that I almost trip over my words in sharing all I need to share to help him learn about the children and their needs.

We still desperately need your help for many things.

Knitting Instructor: The beautiful knitting machines I carried to the village are helping the children to learn basic knitting. However, we desperately need a volunteer to come out and teach our instructors on how to use the machines. If you’d like to come for a long weekend we’d be delighted to have you!

Sewing Machines: We could do very well with four more machines for the community centre. The children are learning essential skills, which will help them not only provide their own sewing, but provide skills which may lead to employment. We also need bolts of material and associated sewing supplies. Dotti Currier from America has generously helped in providing funds for supporting supplies as well as many other essential needs in the village. I’m so grateful for the help she has provided.

Computers: I’m so thankful to Jonathan Soverns who has kindly provided a quality scanner, and other materials to help the children develop their computer skills. We have the lovely server and a ‘slave.’ But we still desperately need a proper classroom of computers in order to provide educational courses. Once we have a sufficient number of computers we will certainly need a trainer to provide training classes to our educators and students.

Hairdressing School: I’ve been disappointed with myself over this project. It seems no matter where I turn, or leads I follow up from suggestions made by others, I just don’t seem to be successful in reaching the right people. Of course, it’s a big project, but the benefits to the community and surrounding communities will make a dramatic positive change! One kind lady in England named Jackie Lawson, found for us a hairdressers that was closing down, but ultimately, we had less than a few days to clear out her shop and simply were unable to do so in such a short time. And, when I looked at the items, their age was such that it actually wasn't practical. Sadly, we need a much broader commitment that includes someone who will deliver the materials, help us to install and set them up and hopefully provide training and education.

School: The school still needs virtually everything you could imagine that a new school might need. The new gym is lovely, however there is virtually no sports equipment. The kitchen is prepared to provide a hot meal daily for every child. However, we need to fill the pantry with nutritious foods and we need industrial grade utensils.

Emergency Medical Centre: We have literally little more than a thermometer and stethoscope, which were generously donated by Chris Bindon and Dr. Cooper. These two gentlemen also purchased boxes of suture threads for a physician in Transnistria. I’m so grateful for their kindness.

Art Supplies: Jonathan Soverns has very generously purchased over 35kg of dried water colour paint for me to carry to Budesti. I’m delighted to do this, but I need help in getting the excess baggage there! (I’m not complaining at all!)

Bed and Breakfast: We are looking for a couple who would consider either redeveloping an existing house or build a house to serve as a small B&B. Our goal is to provide a Hospitality and customer service training programme to prepare young people for hospitality jobs in this rapidly developing market within Moldova.

If your organisation or company would like to help with specific or general projects in Budesti, all funds are managed through Salvati Copiii Moldova. We have account facilities to accept Euros or US Dollars. Other currencies are welcome and will be exchanged by our handling banks.

Gifting for children’s items, or essential Winter needs such as food, coal, and firewood may be done through the Project New Life website and is processed by Paypal International. If you have a specific request as to how you wish those funds to be used, please be so kind as to indicate in your transmission notes.

If you would like to learn more about the village of Budesti and the remarkable changes that are taking place, we would be delighted to have you come visit. If you would like for us to address your group, church, or organisation regarding the village of Budesti, or the challenges faced by the children of Moldova, we would be pleased to assist. You may write us at: info@projectnewlife.org

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A Child's Vision of the World

This 7 year old Boy, named "Cristian Bradu" shows incredible talents. His creative style and understanding of shadows and depth-of-field are impressive. I pray I can find someone who can help provide continual materials and training so that the children may sell their goods, towards the goal of establishing a savings scheme, or helping to reduce the hunger in their family. Many of these families are quite literally starving and freezing to death.
For Cristian, he paints 'only when he feels he is being told to in his heart.' But what is most amazing is that Cristian paints to raise money for his younger sister who requires constant medication for a life-threatening illness.Posted by Hello

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The Village of Budesti

The village of Budesti lies about 20km outside of Chisinau. The local mayor is Nina Costiuc. She remains the one and only democratic mayor in a heretofore Communist country. From the moment you arrive in Budesti, it is clear that her dedication is to the children's future.

Mayor Costiuc has been a virtual one-woman band, working tirelessly to reach out wherever she could, to find help for her village. Such has been her success that in the recent elections Nina was again voted as mayor, with a percentage of 96% of the village voting for her! And when I arrived in this poverty stricken village I immediately saw why.

The road leading into Budesti is similar to any country's roads that may lead out and past farmlands. The road is paved, but only barely. There are no markings on the roads, and without the benefit of daylight, you place your life at risk driving there.

Part of the village rests upon the side of either a large hill, or small mountain. If your intent is not to see the village, you could easily miss it, except for the view of the spires of the basilica in the distance. But as you approach the village you'll notice something quite unusual. On the left is a large, new, clean two-story structure, painted in a bright magnolia colour. Directly across the street is another structure that resembles a country one-level ranch house or cottage.

The structure on the left is a community centre. I am chagrined to say that, in England, we wouldn't have anything this nice for a town of 30,000 people, much less for a village of 5,000! Across from the community centre is the single-shell cottage, which has been built with the hope of becoming a medical centre for the village. Neither of these buildings has any contents. But nevertheless, the structures are there.

This came about as a result of Nina's tireless campaign in writing almost anyone she could to ask for help in revitalising her village. They have worked diligently to address some of the specific needs of the village such as: schooling for the large number of handicapped children, community transport for people securing work in the city of Chisinau, and inviting local programmes for the young people of the village.

It is a credit to the mayor as well as to the people of Budesti that they have a beautiful structure to help serve as the foundation of a life-changing opportunity. But now the next step is essential to help save and change lives.

I met with many villagers in their homes. Many were ashamed of the poverty in which they lived and it burdened my heart to even ask if I could take photos; I know they would have agreed, but I wanted to protect their dignity.

Many of the homes are without electricity, water, heat of any sort, other than pieces of coal that may be donated by other villagers. In some of these shacks, people sleep three and four together in order to keep from freezing to death at night. Toilets, gas or propane, television, etc., are unheard of. And when you speak to the young people who live in these conditions, their dreams are profoundly different.

One sixteen year-old girl told me that her first dream was to have a floor! She said this as we stood on the uneven dirt floor of the shack she shared with her sisters. Her "Biggest Dream" was to have someone teach her how to cut hair. She wanted to learn a skill so that she could get a job and bring money home to her family.

I innocently asked her if she had a boyfriend. My question caused a torrent of response. No, she didn't have a boyfriend, but there are "men," (as she squenched up her face to show disgust), "who come by all the time and say they can introduce her to wealthy boyfriends who will be nice to her and take care of her and help her with her family." And then she continued; "but they are like the other men who come to the village and say they will give me a job and I can make lots of money being a hostess at clubs that rich people come to." And at that she looked me in the eye and asked if "these clubs are nice,yes?" I gather it was her assumption that all people from the west go to clubs to meet girls.

Mayor Nina told me that she had spent considerable time trying to warn and teach the young people about the predators that rove the villages in search of innocents and vulnerables. And the young girl nodded in agreement. But she then said, almost wistfully, as if in disagreement with the mayor, "but some of them are nice. they bring us things - food, candy, gifts, and they don't ask for anything - ever!" And this, of course, is part of the problem, when the villages face groomers who work on these children and hit them at their most vulnerable moments.

If you are not familiar with the Eastern Orthodox Church, it represents the pinnacle of village life. I spent a considerable amount of time with the village priest. I instantly liked him and we got along well. And although I am fully versed in my understanding of his following, as well as his communal requirements, I always ask the same question, of every Orthodox Priest I come to meet; How many times a month do you visit your parish members, and how much is your budget each month to help your parish communicants. This time, Fr. Vladimir's response was different than what I typically experience in Romanian villages.

Fr. Vladimir put his head down, as if in shame. He paused for a moment then looked at me and said: "It is different, I do not see people. They must come to church. I do not give money. They must give money. It is different." He then, again, put his head down. The mayor turned to Fr Vladimir and asked him "Why is it different? Same God? Why Fr Vladimir?" He looked up and responded to Nina by saying "because we are poor." Nina didn't let go, " The poor visit the poor, it does not require money." At that, Fr Vladimir clapped his hands is if to make the conversation go away and told me he was taking me to the cemetery - I imagine he was either hoping to just bury the conversation, but possibly me along with it!

We desperately need your help, please: I am not asking for anything too costly, or complex. But your actions can not change just one person's life, but an entire community.

I am not being a "do-gooder" in asking for things which I feel will help, but I am responding specifically to what the children have asked for:

We need, please:

A Hairdressing School
Chairs, sinks, carts, curlers, mixes, virtually everything to create a school for a minimum of six-10 hairdressers at a time. This school will not be for just the village of Budesti, but will also bring young people from adjoining villages. By gaining these skills, the young will be able to travel into Chisinau to gain jobs.

A Sewing School
Sewing Machines, bobbins, threads, materials, patterns, etc. I need a minimum of six electric sewing machines that we can use to create a sewing school. By creating this school, the young people will be able to make their own clothes and help their community. The goods they make can be sold to buy food and heat.

I need up-to-date computers, preferably with modems and a router, to allow distance-learning courses in a wide-range of classes, from home-care to travel. Please can you help? I would also love to have a satellite to use for connections to the internet.

This may be one of the greatest challenges of all. I need books, lots of them, but the first preference is that they be written in Romanian! This was a particular request by the mayor.

If I can find a small bus, that meets EU standards, the village will be able to provide transport to-and from schools, into the city, and especially provide meals for outreach programmes for the elderly. It needn't be anything fancy, just basic, simple transport, perhaps one of the used coaches that collect passengers at airports to take them to their hire cars, or hotels. Truthfully, I need two coaches; I desperately need one in Chisinau.

Finally, within these groups of images, there is one small photo of a young lady with her cousin. Her name is Nathalia Procu. She is the daughter of the woman who was killed last Christmas. Nathalia is the "shining star" of her village. She has recently earned a civil law degree and the village have all joined hands to help her with transport to work, because they not only honoured her mother so much, but they have faith that Nathalia will be able to help change their village's future.

I am trying to find a job for Nathalia in England or America. Prefereably the role might be in the legal profession, or possibly tourism. Nevertheless, I have a handfull of recommendations for her. Anything you might be able to do to help, would be greatfully appreciated. Personally, I feel that Nathalia can make quite a contribution to your organisation. Her spoken English is good and according to her boss in the Ministry of Tourism, Nathalia is one of their finest employees. I would say, truthfully, she needs some help in her writing English.

As you can see from this, I have not been shy to ask for many things. I need your help, desperately. There are numerous projects at hand currently, but this is one of the larger ones. But I believe that there is someone out there who is just waiting to be touched.

Is it you?

My photos are a bit in reverse. If you want to follow the story better, it may be best if you begin from the bottom. Thank you for caring enough to read this. Thank you from my heart.

If you are able to help I would be honoured to introduce you to the organisations that will help facilitate the necessary paperwork, visas, invitations, etc. Your act of care and compassion can make a difference for many lives and you may be part of the experience.

Father Bill+Budesti

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The Village Comes to Meet Me

I took notes as I listened. No one interrupted, everyone was serious in what they wanted to suggest regarding their dreams for their village. During all my missionary work throughout the world, I have never experienced anything like this before.

In this image, Mayor Costiuc is asking the young people to personally thank me as they leave, and to show me that they are proud of their village. I didn't need them to do this, it was already evident. The young lady on the right presented me with a stuffed-animal bag that one of the villagers had made as a gift of thanks for my having faith in them and listening to their needs.

I was moved to tears. Posted by Hello

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The Hopes of Youth

During my first morning's visit, Mayor Costiuc invited me to come back to the village that evening to speak with the young people. I told her that I would enjoy this, but I had other committments and couldn't say exactly when I would arrive. She said it didn't matter and that they would all wait for me.

My evening was very full as I visited other areas of need and due to the late time, I almost had to phone the mayor to say I couldn't come due to the time. But I felt committed to attend. You can't imagine my shock when I arrived to find literally hundreds of young people there, patiently waiting for me! They were happily chatting, but they had refused to leave in the hopes of getting to talk about their village and their needs. The children reminded me of the strengths I rely upon so often when I face sights that touch me to the depths of my soul.

Sometimes my faith becomes tested, but I never lose hope. It is that "Hope" that drives me and, quite admittedly, saves me at times. And the children here that evening all demonstrated their hope that I would come and listen. Posted by Hello

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Young People of Budesti

As the mayor introduced me, there was absolute silence. I gazed out into the hall at these hundreds of young people; all of them, virtually all of them, were clean cut, presentable, smiling, and obviously keenly interested in participating. I had nothing tangible to bring them. But the power of hope was an unbelievably powerful driving force.

They spoke with me, sharing what they hoped for for their futures. As I listened though, I noticed that not one of the ideas mentioned to me was an individual hope, moreso, it was a hope or dream for the entire village.

These young people asked for training and education: The girls wanted to learn hairdressing skills, sewing skills, art, and medical skills. The boys wanted to learn electronics, computers, nursing care, social services, to drive cars, install telegraph equipment, use heavy equipment, drive buses, etc. Many of these requests can easily be fulfilled by people from the west with their discarded and used equipment. Posted by Hello

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The Local Priest

This is Father Vladimir. He is the Orthodox priest for the village. Whilst he and I get along well, he is clearly nervous about the concepts of ecumenism.

Fr. Vladimir does not visit anyone in his parish; they are required to come to him at the Basilica. Fr Vladimir has never once in his life helped anyone in the village financially; the villagers must give money to the church. The church has never, ever, contributed to the village; the village MUST support the church! And the list goes on.

However, despite this, the Orthodox Church holds great power over the community and it is essential to work "with" the local priest and nurture him to ensure that he constantly feels as if he is in control of a situation. Several years ago there were some clashes over a visiting Baptist missionary, who, unfortunately, created a bit of a stir.

Subsequently, the missionary was invited to leave. It's my feeling that had the missionary invested in building relationships first, and had demonstrated respect and understanding towards the mother church, many things could have been accomplished to help the community.

But sadly, many of these lessons are gained from years of experience. I found Fr Vladimir helpful and open to working with me in any way he could to help the community. Posted by Hello

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Meet Nathalia. Can you Find Her a Job?

I've singled out this part of the photo so that you may get a closer look at Nathalia. I was so very impressed by her. She speaks excellent English, Russian, and Romanian.

Nathalia works for the Ministry of Tourism in Chisinau, and is responsible for the contract enforcement for Moldova's tour operators. Her salary is approximately USD$54 per month. From this, she must pay her transport to Chisinau, heat and survival for her sister and father, as well as their food.

I'd like to find a work-experience job for her in England or the US, towards the goal of helping her further her skills, so that she may help to change her own village's future. Nathalia has excellent presentation skills and will be of benefit to help represent her nation when the need calls for this.

I have an endorsement from not only the mayor, but from vasile Batcu, the Director of Salvati Copiii (Save The Children, Moldova), attesting to her good character. I have also been promised help from both Bernard Whiteside, the British Ambassador to Moldova, as well as the Consulate General of Moldova.

Now, I need your help, please. Please hire this girl, perhaps for a year for the first time, so that she may gain experience. I believe she has skills which will help you in your business and I will promise to work to help her as well in further developing those skills. Please contact me if you are able to help.

Please. Posted by Hello

Hundreds of Young People Come To Meet Me

After my visit with the young people, the mayor and I went to a quiet room. She wanted to introduce me to someone special. In the centre of this photo, there is a boy wearing a grey pullover, with a girl holding onto his arm. The girl's name is Nathalia.

Nathalia is the first child to have not only graduated in her village, but to have earned a degree in civil law. Sadly, Nathalia's mother was killed at Christmas, by a car driving through the dark. Nathalia has a younger sister and an elderly father. According to Mayor Costiuc, Nathalia's mother was a guiding light for the village and was responsible for having written to so many people in Germany asking for any kind of help they could get to make changes in the village.

All of the villagers loved Nathalia's mother and looked to her as a person with the highest esteem. Mayor Bustiuc asked me, pleaded with me, that whatever did, if there was nothing I could do to help the village, could I possibly do something to help this child.

Mayor Costiuc told me that the entire village looks to Nathalia as someone who represents promise and a new future for them. It was evident to me during my visit that all of the young people had a great deal of respect for Nathalia and liked her very much. Posted by Hello

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The Cemetery

The cemetery is a focal point for the village. It rests at the highest point in the village, next to the basilica, with hundreds of small shacks below. The Basilica is in desperate need of repair. There is severe water leakage that is destroying icons and art. Posted by Hello

Their Mother is Dead and They Are Alone

The mayor asked that I try to help this particular family. The mother died last year, leaving five children behind. There is no husband - he died six years ago. The boy suffers from mental illness and is unable to make any contribution to the family.

The two girls in the image work in their garden, but it's virtually impossible to grow anything in the winter. Both girls are ashamed to come to the community centre because they are so poor. But most alarmingly, the girl on the right told me and the mayor that the "visitor" comes at night to tell her that she can have lots of money, a nice home, and money to send home, if she comes with him to work as a "hostess" in a restaurant.

She said that sometimes women come with the men and tell her that she is pretty can can be a model also. This barrage is constant in these villages. Every single month, despite the continued warnings of the mayor and other villagers, a child will disappear, never to be seen again. Posted by Hello

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Only Bread To Eat

If you look closely enough, you will see two bread rolls. This is the food for the week! These children have a goat, from which they get milk, one chicken, which is so emaciated, it can no longer lay eggs, and a garden, in which they grow carrots during the warm months. They have no funds for anything. The children are at risk. The boy has limited capacity to do anything. Posted by Hello

Up to Five Children in One Room

There are families who live up to five to a room, in 10x12' rooms, that have no electricity, no water, and no flooring. There is no escape for these children. It is too expensive to travel to Chisinau ( a big city) and is a frightening prospect to these innocent villagers. But many leave each week, dreaming of finding work. Sadly many never return, only to be confirmed dead, when the morgue advises the village of the find. Posted by Hello

We Need Sewing Machines!

Sewing machines! I heard pleas for sewing machines and materials from more young people than any other item. The girls told me they could make clothes for their families, and they could make goods to sell. But there are only two ancient manual machines in the village; one of them barely works.

I would love to have a complete sewing class for the girls and women of the village. Even boys expressed interest, which I gathered to be part of their determination to help feed their families in any way they could. Posted by Hello
Big World Small Boat

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Children's Clay Art

The local children come to the centre weekly and use whatever supplies the locals can find. In this case, we had clay that the children used to make small figures. I was extremely impressed by the talent exhibited by these 6 and 7 year-old-children. Posted by Hello

If you can provide art material for the children, 'dry' water colour powders (the weight of liquid is weight restrictive on flights), scissors, modelling clay, etc., we would be most grateful!

Empty Library and Computer Room

Germany donated basic furnishings, including facilities for a library, fro which there are no books, an art class room, for which there are no materials, other than tables, a computer learning centre, for which there is one extremely old computer that was donated to the village. Otherwise, the building is empty. Posted by Hello

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Excellent Venue for Meetings Training or Church

There is a common area on the ground floor of the building, which can serve as a theatre style environment. The chairs are moveable, so that the floor area may be used for other activities. There is also a small stage available, for theatre, church services, etc. Posted by Hello

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The Empty Computer Classroom

This small community of 5,000 has no employment and the poverty level exceeds 80% ! Yet, there is this magnificent community structure that has been built with the hopes of creating education classes for the youth, and programmes that can reach out to other smaller villages nereby.

In the recent local re-elections, the mayor, Mrs Nina Costiuc, received 96% of the votes; which is a tribute to the hard work she has done in finding help for the village. But it was obvious to me that there was despair in her demeanor over the fact that there were virtually no job opportunities for the hundreds of young people in the community. In this image there is one working computer, without internet access, and one monitor without a base.
Big World Small Boat Budesti
Posted by Hello

The Mayor And Her Community Centre

This community centre was funded by a grant from Germany. The local mayor worked diligently to bring awareness of the povertry and unusual number of young people in the village. It is an impressive building, but unfortunately, is completely empty. I desperately, please, need your help to create small education programmes for the young people of this village. Posted by Hello

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Making a Difference

I am very grateful to all who have offered so many wonderfully creative suggestions as to who 'I' might contact for help and assistance for the village of Budesti and for Aschiuta Home.

Someone suggested I contact Rover cars, which I did. Another person wrote to say I would do better to focus on haircare companies in the US and Canada for help. I have. And one kind and thoughtful chap suggested that I write to 'hundreds of churches around the world.' Well, I may not have written to hundreds, but it feels jolly close.

I've been deeply touched by some of the mail I've received from individuals who have been sincere and honest regarding their own limitations, in that for one reason or another, they're unable to write to anyone or travel any longer. However, they've offered their prayers and thoughts.

Those are among the most valuable assets anyone could ever have when it comes to our daily struggles to increase awareness of the plight of others. I am deeply grateful for those prayers and thoughts and I ask, please, that you continue.

One benefit of this medium of communication is that it becomes a defacto letter to the world. And in this light, it becomes the initial vehicle to reach far beyond my limited capacity, on our small island, to reach people who may be able to make an important decision that will help to change children's lives.

So I respectfully ask, please, that if you know someone who may help, or if you know someone who 'knows' someone else, who might be able to help, please, would you kindly share this blog site with them.

All it takes is one small mustard seed of faith!


Banking Details

Salvati Copiii Moldova charity registration number: 0447
Registered since: 7 April 1998

Official street address for forwarding financial funds:

ONG "Salvati Copiii" Moldova
str. Constantin Stere 1, MD 2009
Chisinau, Republica Moldova

Banking details. (Transfer information)

ONG "Save The Children" Moldova
BC VICTORIA BANK (Beneficiary Bank)
filiala 3, str. 31 August 49, Chisinau
(bank code) 280101416

US Dollars:
(account no.) 222 4101 0010 3919 (for US Dollars)

IBAN: 222 4101 0010 3919 (USD)
Correspondent bank: CITIBANK N.A., New York, USA

(account no.) 222 4117 0010 3919 (for Euros)

IBAN: 222411700103919 (EUR)
Correspondent bank: COMMERZBANK AG, Frankfurt/Main, Germany

Salvati Copiii Fiscal: (tax Nbr.) 793987