Four local girls have returned from a life changing trip to Romania where they volunteered in Casa Bridget, the home for 16 special needs adults set up by Dundalk man Connor Hughes.
Aoife Clarke (Dundalk), Marie – Christina Mc Manus (Dromiskin), Síomha Murphy (Knockbridge) and Zoe Nevin (Louth Village) are friends from the Red Cross and are also students in St. Vincent’s, Dundalk. They decided that they wanted to do something for others this summer before heading into their final year at school and thought that Cross Cause, the charity set up by local man Connor Hughes was exactly the project they would like to get involved in.
The girls headed off to Nicoresti, Romania on the 5th of August for a nine day stay and couldn’t get over the welcome they received from the local people. In the mornings the girls ran an “arts and crafts” summer camp for the local children who come to the day centre for schooling, hot meals, washing facilities and clothing.
The girls were accompanied by Blackrock siblings Brian and Laura Kilboy and admit they would have been lost without them. “We were very lucky to have had Brian and Laura’s help and guidance as they knew the run of the place and helped us organise ourselves to make the most of our time over there”.
After lunch the girls headed off to the local park to do some much needed renovating and painting. They provided the funds to build a bridge over a ditch so that the wheelchair bound residents of Casa Bridget could be amongst their peers who visit the park on their walk every day.
In the afternoons the girls spent some time with the residents, painting their nails, doing their hair and playing some games which the residents really enjoyed. Síomha celebrated her 18th birthday in Romania and was delighted to share the celebration with Florin, a resident of Casa Bridget who was turning 28 on the same day.
In the evenings the girls visited the homes of some of the children in the day centre and were shocked by the conditions some of the children were living in. “It was hard to connect these bright happy children with the places they come from, the day centre really has made such a difference to their lives”.
The group also arranged a surprise trip to the forest for the entire foundation (100 people in total) where they organised fun games, traditional sports day races and an Ireland vs Romania football match!
This trip has helped the girls see how much Conor and his supporters have improved the lives of both the residents and local children in Nicoresti. The girls loved every minute of their stay in Nicoresti and can’t wait to go back next year once they get the leaving cert out of the way. The girls would like to thank Conor and all local businesses for their support as without them this eye opening trip would not have been possible.