In 2020/21 The Camphill Foundation UK & Ireland seed-funded the early stages of Harom Galamb’s purpose-built Day Centre project by providing a grant of £8,063 for the architectural design brief. This was the first stepping-stone in striving toward their objective of creating a day service provision for young adults with learning disabilities in Romania. Their mission is for Harom Galamb to offer opportunities for 12 to 20 young people in the Day Centre at any one time meaning 40 to 50 beneficiaries of the service each week.
With further funding received from the Michael Foundation (Germany), building work began on the building foundations of the new Day Centre in the Autumn of 2022.
The national and local context for people with disabilities in Romania
Although over the years there has been a positive change in how people with disabilities are viewed in Romania, unfortunately adverse feelings towards these people are deeply rooted in Romanian society. They remain low priority for the Romanian Government, which currently only provides a social assistance service to a very small percentage of people with disabilities.
Harom Galamb has become one of the new services offering help to these people and their emphasis on meaningful work recognises that people with disabilities have a much lower employment rate than other people, and well below the average of other EU countries.
Their work, together with other social service providers, expects to make an impact on poverty levels in Romania by enriching lives, unfolding potential, and enabling people with disabilities to become active citizens.
Progress and partnerships
With money already raised, Harom Galamb has renovated a small workshop on site which provides a wonderful learning and social space. Besides this workshop, the local church offered them a bigger building, free of charge, which Harom Galamb adapted to the care standard requirements and thus the day centre became a licensed service in May 2023. This temporary space should be exchanged with the new built centre, once completed.
Currently they have 10 young adults, who live with their families, and attend their day services on a weekly basis plus a further 8 adults, who live in a state-run residential house, and attend one day a week, taking part in therapeutic activities such as baking, gardening, and weaving. In addition to this, approximately 11-20 young people come to a weekly folk dancing session, where new friendships are made, and a social circle is formed, supported by professionals and volunteers. They host many special events where families can get together and take part in activities, share their concerns, and receive support from experts and each other.
Many local and international volunteers are involved in Harom Galamb. They enhance the quality of support they can offer, and at the same time, become advocates for Harom Galamb as they return out into the world. Harom Galamb has also developed a vast regional network with other civil and governmental organisations, professionals, and businesses. They have invested a lot into their garden with the intention of developing it into a self-sustainable social enterprise for market gardening, where a vegetable box scheme and food processing can be set up, thus contributing towards the sustainability of Harom Galamb as a whole whilst creating more meaningful activities for the beneficiaries supporting them to become active citizens.
Whilst achievements to date have been remarkable, Harom Galamb is looking to raise a further €140,000 this year, to complete the building work on the purpose-built Day Centre.
To find out more about Harom Galamb and how you can support their Day Centre project, please visit www.haromgalamb.com