The 5-year licensing is in progress but is usually quite a bureaucratic process.
The residents have been generally in better form over the past few weeks. Dani meets them more on an individual basis because of the Covid restrictions.
Negotiating goes on with the local council as the Daniel Centre refurbishes one property for renting and they await a better offer on a second property – the airfield property – they want to sell.
These ventures would release more funding for the Centre as the Cluj charity shop becomes less viable.
Food deliveries continue for the families of the TK children and for older people in the community.
Adi has arranged picnics for children who would normally be attending Talita Kum at this time of year.
Summer camps and the annual International Arts Camp will take place as planned with funding now in place.
Infections continue to rise, now up to 400 a day.
Alix has taken over from Titi as cook. One resident, another Alix, is worked off his feet in a courier service, but no resident has lost his job because of the lockdown.
Ciprian had been suicidal but is now recovering with psychiatric counselling. István wants to quit his job rather than get up for morning shifts. Soreen will have to leave the Centre soon for disciplinary reasons, seemingly always in the centre of any trouble in the Centre.
Ionuz who had previously left the Centre to live independently continues to deteriorate in his health with more frequent seizures and will probably have to go for a retirement pension.
The Centre had a BBQ, in spite of very thundery weather, for about 15 previous residents on Friday, 5th June, to mark the 20th anniversary of the Daniel Centre opening.
The three shops re-opened on June 2nd and continue to do well. Food deliveries for the families of the TK children and for older people in the community.
Schools will re-open in September but Adi has arranged picnics with social distancing for children who would normally be attending Talita Kum at this time of year.
Summer camps will go ahead, this year without foreign volunteers like Millburn Academy in Inverness and are looking for funding. The annual International Arts Camp with artists from countries less affected by Covid 19 will also take place as planned. This camp is funded by local government.
In Romania generally, infections have been on the rise again, up from 120/150 to 300 a day.
The lockdown restrictions have eased in Romania over the past days. Please remember the young men of the Daniel Centre in your prayers. Some have lost their jobs due to the crisis. Some will be returning to work in the days ahead and one young man has a job interview.
Alex, himself abandoned as a child because of a crippled leg, is taking over from Titi who was cook for the Centre.
The Blythswood shop in Cluj has been declining and faces growing competition from shops selling new cheap clothing sourced from Poland and Turkey.
With financial support from the shop declining and even terminal, Blythswood are now selling land they have had for many years and redeveloping other facilities to provide ongoing financial support through rentals.
Talita Kum in Jimbolia is supported by three shops which continue to receive a good supply of goods from Austria.
Because of heavy rain on June 1st, Talita Kum moved their International Children’s Day celebration to June 2nd with their outdoor barbecues and other events.
Romania moves from a military state of emergency to a state of alert on 15th May, with deaths still contained at under 1000 for the country. Alix and István still work and keep to their own rooms when back at the house, but no Covid 19 testing in place poses problems for the others. Abram is on his two-week supervision of the Centre.
Balazs and family are currently on a break from the city, the children schooling online. This year looks to be the driest year since 1947 – the country will have to cut down on grain exports to non-EU countries.
Balazs returns to Cluj today to work on claiming government furlough subsidies for the Centre. An offer has been made for one of the Centre’ outlying properties and Balazs will meet the potential buyer in Cluj.
No updated news at the moment but Talita Kum’s teachers continue online support to children normally attending Talita Kum under regular circumstances.
Adrian supports the children, their families and elderly in the Jimbolia community with meals from Talita Kum’s soup kitchen. This provides some relief for Talita Kum in its current cash-strapped situation.
The Talita 3 & 4 project is now in the detailed planning stage.
Three of the young men at the Centre have now been allowed to go back to work; István at the supermarket, who had had pneumonia, tested negative for Covid 19.
Danny, the staff member currently doing his two weeks supervising the young men, expected to be Covid-tested before this present stint but local government did not have the facility to test him. Balazs or another staff member will take over from Danny on 9th May, but they are concerned about the local lack of necessary testing.
There have been 11,000 confirmed cases of Corona virus and 600 deaths in Romania.
Schools don’t re-open till September – older children get online classes through Zoom with their teachers but younger children get emails from teachers and parents do most of the actual teaching at home – less satisfactory.
5 Talita Kum’s teachers now offer online support to the children who normally attend Talita Kum.
Planning for Talita Kum 3 & 4 goes on and has now reached the detailed planning stage.
There was little uptake to continue the fortnightly quizzes online, so they have been dropped.
The money previously assigned for the refurbishment of the large depot in Cluj has had to be temporarily re-directed to Blythswood in Deephaven to maintain essential services, including the food banks, across a wider spectrum of Blythswood projects which are currently in lockdown.
The Daniel Centre is in complete lockdown which means that all the residents have to be in isolation for 14 days and those young men who have been working will lose their jobs because of this. Two of the lads have left the Centre for the time being, another would like to leave but this would probably have to be permanent, and seven remain with different members of staff taking turns to spend two weeks in the Centre with the young men. The cook retires at the end of April but one of the current staffers will take his place.
The Daniel Centre has been delivering care packages to 30 homes, about 100 people, on a regular basis, but that has now to be curtailed to only the two most elderly and vulnerable people. The Daniel Centre will transfer money regularly to the accounts of the other 28 family units till the crisis is over.
The lockdown continues and the staff are now on furlough and receiving 75% of their normal salary.
Balazs has had no news of whether their fortnightly quizzes going online has been successful or not. They may have to stop their care plan for the elderly in the current situation.
Plans move forward in the longer term to refurbish Blythswood’s large depot and sell a property in Cluj to generate funds for the Daniel Centre and Talita Kum on a more sustainable basis.
The Centre has sufficient funds to continue for the time being but will no doubt soon be challenged financially with the ongoing spread of Covid-19.
The fact that some of the young men at the Daniel Centre are being sent home from work because of the health crisis will inevitably mean that the normal pressures of spending most of their days at close quarters will be ramped up.
The Talita Kum houses, like the Romanian schools, will be marking time during the current health crisis. It will give opportunity, however, to work on projects that cannot so easily be carried out while the houses are in top gear.
Like the Daniel Centre, Talita Kum will continue to face the challenges of reduced funding with the present pressures on their fortnightly English quizzes and the Blythswood shops.
85 deaths have now been reported in the country with almost 2500 confirmed cases of Covid-19 in the wake of large numbers of Romanians returning from Italy and Spain because of the lockdowns in those countries.
Balazs’s meeting with a retired Christian investment banker for funding to refurbish their large depot went well with a possible commitment to provide about 20% of the required amount. They also hope to sell a property in Cluj.
The plans are however overshadowed at present by the lockdown occasioned by the corona virus and the effect it is having on all business transactions.
Meanwhile some of the young men at the Daniel Centre are being sent home from work because of the health crisis and may be off work for a considerable period of time. Florin has not been improving in attitude or performance and has been given two weeks to find alternative accommodation.
The Centre has sufficient funds to continue its work for 2 to 6 months according to the unfolding circumstances.
All schools in Romania, and with them TK1 and TK2, have been closed although the milder version of the coronavirus is the more prevalent there. No deaths have been reported in the country but a large number of Romanians returning from Italy and Spain because of the lockdowns in those countries could radically change that.
The fortnightly English quizzes and Blythswood shops which brought in considerable funding for Talita Kum have also been affected though they are looking into the possibility of transferring the quizzes online.
Balazs is meeting with a retired Christian investment banker to discuss the funding to refurbish a large depot they have owned for 20 years. Once funding was in place, it would take them about a year to be up and running and ready for potential renters.
Alix is apprehensive about leaving the Daniel Centre and needs a nudge out of the nest. Florin has lost his job at Carrefour and has no concern for fire prevention measures – he probably needs to be sent away from the Daniel Centre for a week or two as a wake-up call. Istvan has been moved to the meat department at Carrefour and is doing well.
Adrian Poppa is now in position for a meeting with the authorities to discuss documentation and technical plans for TK3 and TK4. The EU funding line which was refused in December (because salary projections for staff were too low) is possibly being re-opened by the authorities.
It is possible that the Talita Kum salaries are set too low and therefore hampering the recruitment of qualified teachers.
A Nokia representative who was at one of their recent quiz nights has offered to supply them with second-hand laptops and perhaps extend this offer to the Blythswood work in Serbia as well.
Balazs is hoping to have Blythswood funding to refurbish a large depot they have owned for 20 years. When this work is complete, they will be able to rent out sections of the refurbished depot to businesses. This will give them sustainable income for their various Romanian projects.
Gaby is still not back but his younger brother, a regular church attender, should be joining the Daniel Centre towards the end of March. Alix needs to earn and save enough to be able to get a mortgage for himself before moving out. His attitude is problematical for the other young men. Florin has quit his job at Carrefour but Istvan and Ciprian seem to be hanging in there.
EU funding has now been released for TK3 and TK4 with a second tranche to come.
A flu epidemic has been raging in Romania and many of the pupils who attend TK1 and TK2 have not been well enough to come. They are still critically short of teachers.
Fortnightly English quizzes that Talita Kum runs for the public have been doing well and bring in around £500 per time.