Danutz, who has been off work for months, has left the Centre for a week to stay with Cipri, a former Daniel Centre resident. The 3 social work students, who have been doing their practicum there, will cook Christmas dinner on December 18th while Jeremy Campbell, the new CEO is in Romania. He will be there for a 3-day visit to Ukraine with Balazs and Olga – their new Ukrainian organiser – to make their next Shoebox film. They will do this in co-operation the Heritage Foundation and Light of Reformation in Ukraine.
Contractual negotiations for renting their Cluj depot have stalled as the principal renter is not willing to meet their minimum rent price.
Balazs has just returned from a 21-day sponsored trek in the Annapurna range of the Himalayas in Nepal.
Christian Aid funds have been delayed for the first time and that is putting pressure on the Ukrainian partners.
Balazs will then accompany James Campbell as they fly out on January 10th to visit the projects that Blythswood sponsors in Africa.
There is no current update on Adi’s afterschool work with the children in TK1, TK2 and TK3.
The Daniel Centre is now stable with 6 positive residents and little drug issue. 3 social work students have been doing their practicum there and have been having good interaction with the residents.
Contractual negotiations have started for renting their Cluj depot as they wait for the completion certificate on their rebuilding project. The Blythswood chairman David Laing has now visited Montenegro and has given his blessing for their support to the Roma church there.
Balazs has just returned from a 3-day workshop in Chișinău, Moldova with Blythswood’s Richard from Belfast, 2 Christian Aid staff and representatives of their 3 Ukrainian partners – the Heritage Foundation in Odessa, Light of Reformation in Ternopil and Serve Now in Irpin, to discuss their ongoing aid to that country. Some of the partners’ workers have miraculously escaped relatively unhurt from having their van bombed by a Russian drone.
Blythswood have now taken on Olga, a Ukrainian living in Cluj with her husband, to be responsible for their Ukrainian work. She will make quarterly visits to the Ukraine but not initially with Balazs and Jeremy Ross for the filming of the next Shoebox appeal as it will clash with her daughter’s singing in the church choir.
Balazs leaves soon for a sponsored walk with a friend in the Annapurna range of the Himalaya in Nepal.
There is no current update on Adi’s afterschool work with the children in TK1, TK2 and TK3.
Ionuz with the severe psychiatric issues is doing better and has moved on to a rental apartment. The other Ionuz continues to be a very positive influence in the Daniel Centre and does well at work.
Dany had a small accident with his eye but is back at work again. Jeremy Ross, the new Blythswood CEO, will visit Cluj in December to make the new Blythswood film on shoeboxes and will include the Ukraine on this visit. Balazs is still busy with Christian Aid work and they will have an initiation workshop in Moldova next week with 10 Ukrainians, 2 Blythswood workers and 2 Christian Aid workers.
A Ukrainian refugee had moved into the Daniel Centre apartment but has been given notice to move on after beating up the two boys of the woman already there and asking the Daniel Centre lads for drugs.
The lawyer representing the potential renters for their depot in Cluj has had an accident which is delaying the contractual negotiations.
Blythswood now has 5 possible Ukrainian candidates for a position with responsibility for Blythswood’s activities in Ukraine. They think they know which candidate best fills the job profile.
Balazs sets out with a friend on November 19th to do a “Just Giving” sponsored walk in the Annapurna range of the Himalayas in Nepal to raise funds for Blythswood.
The Talita Kum 1 & 2 teaching is going well with Adi and his daughter now filling their vacant positions. They have 70 children to work with in addition to the 7 children in the fledgling TK3.
The new resident with severe psychiatric issues, also a Ionuz, has been off drugs for the last 6 weeks since they, combined with his psychiatric medication, can make him suicidal. The other Ionuz is now a very positive influence in the Centre but struggles with money management.
Finlay MacKenzie is now on his final visit to Romania before retirement. Jeremy Ross, son of Jackie Ross (the founder of Blythswood), takes over from James Campbell as the Blythswood CEO next week and will be monitored by James till he officially retires in 4 months’ time.
There has been no recent movement on contractual negotiations for renting their depot in Cluj. Balazs has visited Montenegro, part of old Yugoslavia, and Blythswood have undertaken to support a church there, largely composed of Roma refugees who now have citizenship in that country. The pastor, himself a refugee from Serbia, does not yet have citizenship in Montenegro.
Blythswood are still looking for a Ukrainian, among the 10,000 Ukrainian refugees in Cluj, to be responsible for what they are doing in the Ukraine.
Adi has now raised the salaries offered by Talita Kum in line with government salaries. His own daughter returns early from pregnancy leave to fill one vacant post and Adi is doing some teaching himself.
He already has about 10 older children who have graduated to high school into a fledgling TK3.
The new resident with severe psychiatric continues to be a challenge but Ionuz has benefitted greatly from his time in the Centre but still struggles with money management. They have now lost 3 lads within a few weeks but are expecting two more coming in.
One of Blythswood’s partners in the Ukraine has dropped out since they have other sources of funding who require less accountability than Christian Aid. Negotiations continue for funding of Ukrainians still in Romania.
Balazs’ wife Agnes is coming on Blythswood staff to deal with contractual negotiations for their depot in Cluj. A potential tenant would like to lease the whole depot.
Blythswood are still looking for a Ukrainian in Cluj to be responsible for what they are doing in the Ukraine.
Adi has still not found replacements for the two teachers he has lost and may have to take a more active role in TK2 himself.
He already has 8 older children who have graduated to high school and therefore has them in a fledgling TK3.
Another resident has been expelled for drug use and a new resident has arrived with severe psychiatric problems at the request of the local psychiatric hospital. So, challenges continue, particularly for the night staffers, Sergiu and Avram.
Balazs has a significant load of paperwork with Christian Aid increasing their requests for accountability from Blythswood’s partners in the Ukraine over the next year’s funds. Negotiations are also going on for the funding of the Ukrainians still living in Blythswood premises in Cluj.
Because of other paperwork commitments, Balazs has fallen behind with contractual negotiations for letting the Blythswood depot in Cluj.
Blythswood are also looking to take on a suitable Romanian who speaks Ukrainian to be responsible for what they are doing in the Ukraine.
Adi’s summer camps have all gone well and the Blythswood shops in Jimbolia continue to be a major contributor to the running costs of the afterschool TK1 and TK2 activities.
Having lost the Head Teacher for TK2, Adi has now reported the loss of a key teacher in TK1 – both because of the recent salary increases in the public sector.
Despite these setbacks, Adi has not given up his dream of launching TK3 for older children.
The lad who was pepper-sprayed is reluctant to attend a programme on drug issues as he claims he doesn’t have a problem, so he may still be sent away.
The carer in danger of emotional burnt-out is on 2 weeks’ holiday. The professional counsellor doesn’t see him as fit for the job and Balazs wrestles with this opinion.
The electricians have disappeared again and Balazs may have to take them to court for breach of contract.
A Ukrainian lady has been appointed as Christian Aid’s representative for the Ukraine and wants to sideline Blythswood from CA’s operation, much to the dismay of her more experience Christian Aid colleagues.
Blythswood’s Ukrainian partner Heritage has been greatly affected by the dam destruction in their area but has still run very successful 2 one-day Bible camps for 50 children and their parents.
Balazs’s daughter Ilka has her exams next week to decide which high school she can attend.
Adi’s Talita Kum Children’s Day Show in Jimboliya’s main square and their year-end celebration on June 6th were very successful.
They are still on course for taking the 35 TK1 children to camp in late June and the 45 TK2 kids with young helpers from Inverness in August, both camps in the Southern Carpathian mountains.
The Romanian teachers’ strike has ended and now puts financial pressure on Adi to find enough teachers.
Drugs have loomed large with one of the lads having to be sent away for pepper-spraying another of the lads. He had stolen the pepper spray from his security work at the airport and also lost his work there because of his attitude. The lad who was pepper-sprayed is also in danger of being sent away.
One of the carers, himself a former resident of the Daniel Centre, is in danger of emotional burnt-out. Iva, who works with their sister organisation, Bonus Pastors as a professional counsellor, acts as a back-up for the staff.
The electricians finally came this week for the Depot. Every delay prevents the potential renters from concluding contracts with Blythswood.
Balazs has now had his initial assessment with James Campbell after taking over foreign operations from Finlay MacKenzie and the assessment was very positive.
Balazs’s daughter Ilka has a stressful exam in 3 weeks’ time to decide which high school she can attend.
Ending the school year, Adi’s Talita Kum will have their Children’s Day Show in Jimboliya’s main square and their year-end celebration on June 6th after a very positive past school year.
Adi will take the 35 TK1 children to camp in the Southern Carpathian mountains in late June and the 45 TK2 kids to a new location with a group of young helpers from a Free Church in Inverness in August.
The Romanian teachers’ strike for higher pay could put financial pressure on Adi to find enough teachers.
On Tuesday this past week, Balazs took the visiting Blythswood trustees to see the student ministry (Puluz) and the Christian Publishing and Café ministry (Koinonia) in Cluj and then the Elpis Christian Kindergarten facility and hour away before returning to the Daniel Centre for dinner with 13 lads, half of them ex-residents of the Centre.
On Wednesday they visited the Bonus Pastors therapy centre for recovering addicts with its 17 residents, mainly 18-50 year olds, before spending the night at Jimboliya to spend Thursday seeing around Adi’s ministry at Talita Kum.
On Friday they drove into Serbia to first see the Jovica church plant which faces a lot of opposition from the Belgrade Orthodox Church. Saturday was for visiting the work of Dragisa and attending a service with about 30 present, mainly young people who had come out of an Orthodox background.
On Sunday, they were in Nis for a service led by a father and son team, Cedo and Emmanuel, from the Balkan Theology Faculty and visited an up-market gypsy encampment there before the trustees flew back to Scotland and Balazs to Cluj from Belgrade.
It was an altogether encouraging visit for all concerned as even Balazs himself had not been to all of these places himself.
Balazs, because of his increased commitments for the overseas work of Blythswood, has given up much of the financial responsibilities of Blythswood Romania to Christina. Agnes, Balazs’ wife, who currently runs a project for 30 impoverished Romanian families and also helps administer the aid being funnelled into Ukraine for Christian Aid, is also being considered for beginning a safeguarding project for Blythswood’s partners in the Ukraine.
There have been two new arrivals at the Daniel Centre, with one of them having spent a year independently in Bucharest after leaving the orphanage of his upbringing. This year has obviously affected his attitude negatively. There is also internal debate in the Daniel Centre as to whether Cosmin should be asked to leave because of his ongoing drug influence.
Blythswood board and trustee members visit Romania and Serbia next week to become more acquainted with the work there, only one of them having visited that region before.
The trustees will spend a day in Jimboliya, acquainting themselves with the work of Talita Kum. The owners of the land behind the Talita Kum houses, which Adi hoped to get for a sports area for the children, have given no indication of reducing their asking price for the land.