Kindergarten Update

DENISA – class A teacher

As you may already know, our kindergarten is split in two groups: class A and class B. This school year I had the opportunity to teach class A made up of 19 kids. This is their last year in the kindergarten because in September they will start school!! Due to mostly health reasons not all the kids have been able to attend at all times. One of the boys has some serious health issues (special needs) and he couldn’t attend but a few classes. We have realized that we have at least as much to work with the parents as we do with the children in order to make them realize the importance of education if these kids are to have any real chance of making it in life.

The rest of the kids have happily attended all classes and have grown immensely.


Diana is 6 years old and she loves being part of all our activities. I remember when she first came to kindergarten program 2 years ago, she was a trouble maker. She used to come by herself and was only willing to do what she wanted. Now, 2 years later we see a totally different Diana. She is radically changed. Her attitude changed because of the environment and a culture of love and acceptance we promote at kindergarten. Diana not only knows the letters and the numbers, but she is also well behaved and knows how to make new friends. What an amazing story or real transformation!


I can easily say that she came to kindergarten every single day. She was the first one waiting for me at the gate every morning. She has learned the letters; she counts very well and she wants to learn new things every day. As the other kids, Monica doesn’t have educated parents and because of that her parents don’t always know how to support her in her educational process. Despite the less than ideal situation she is in, she continues to learn every day new things and we believe that one day she will be able to do amazing things. For me, Monica has a life story worth reading about!


 DOROTEEA – class B teacher

This would be my first-year teaching at Caleb Kindergarten.

Has anything special happen this year? It has most certainly for me. I believe that it’s been an amazing year for my 19 kids too as we have learned to communicate despite the language barrier.

When they first attend the kindergarten most of them don’t speak any Romanian and I don’t speak any Romma language.

This situation and the way it shocked me, made want to quit on day one as a teacher at Caleb Kindergarten. My coworkers tried to encourage me that things are going to get better. In my mind I didn’t believe them so I was thinking that if in a week nothing changes, I would just leave this job. Well, that week, was a very long week. I got to experience everything. From chairs flying in my class to me running around to get the kids inside and make them listen to me. Seeing all of this happening, what else should I have believed? Some days I wanted to throw myself out of the window, some other days I wanted to throw someone else out of the window. Yes, I know, you don’t expect this from a teacher but this is what I felt at the time. But because I stayed and fought, the stories that you will hear will bless you.


He is so funny! He is telling me that I am mean and because I don`t do what he wants me to do. He threatens me not to attend kindergarten anymore if I don’t comply. He is stubborn, but so am I. He used to not want to do anything that I was telling him to do. I thought that I would never be able to work with him. I remember not even being able to have him sit still on the chair for more than two of minutes. But even if he was stubborn, never listening to me, he used to watch and learn from every single activity I was doing. I remember one day, a normal day, Gabriel came to me saying “Miss Doroteea, I want to color”. I was so surprised. He took his little chair and he went to sit down at the table. The result of him drawing? You can see it for yourself in the picture.

He gave me headaches but also happiness. He is one of the kids that when he first came to kindergarten didn’t even speak Romanian. Where do I see him in 10 years? In school, making other teachers proud of him!

Just another story…

I woke up one day realizing that the kids don’t all wear underwear. You will be tempted to think how is this related to my job? Beside the fact that they used to come to kindergarten dirty, some of them never heard of underwear. So, I was fine with that for a day, maybe two, even a week but after that I got an idea. This story gave birth to a new super hero called “Captain Underwear”. I realized that the purpose of kindergarten is not only to teach them new things. Anyone can do that. One of the objectives of our kindergarten is that we would become a family for every child that needs to feel loved and appreciated and after that they will be open to learn new things.

It`s been a hard year, but a beautiful one. Every child has learned a lot as well as acquired new skills that will come handy later in life. We have done so many things together, so created so many incredible memories.

Together, we made this year a beautiful one!


After School Camp 2019 – What an awesome experience!

The Afterschool project closest to our hearts as we get to see the kids being transformed, educated, challenged to desire a brighter future for themselves and the generations to come.

Life through the eyes of the average gypsy child looked bleak and hopeless. This average child represents a number of children living in this very poor Roma Gypsy community in Lazareni where the poverty is so extreme that even the basic human right of access to running water is not a reality. These children were stigmatised, they were marginalised from society they couldn’t look to a future, or even contemplate having aspirations and dreams.

However, this is slowly changing, as hope is now starting to become deeply rooted in their hearts and they are realising that they can be and do so much more than they could ever imagine. This has been activated through the Afterschool project, giving each child the opportunity to access education – to understand their potential. There are over 60 children that come to Caleb Foundation 3 times a week, where they’re given a meal, nurtured, loved and given help with their education.

There is an old saying ‘give a man a fish and it will feed him for a day, but teach a man to fish and it will feed him for a lifetime’. This same principle of giving a child an education is giving them a passport for the future, a chance to live.

To further influence and invest in these children’s lives we made sure they have a chance to go to our summer camp. This is the second year we have our Afterschool camp and apparently the last year’s camp had such a major impact that they all fought for best results in order to qualify for this year’s camp.

It is hard to accurately describe what a culture of love, acceptance and grace present at camp can do to a child lacking most of these values in their own homes. The leader’s transparent and vulnerable hearts made it possible for the children to open up and share burdens, wounds as well as desires and aspirations. In a godly atmosphere healing took place as kids were prayed for, talked to and encouraged to continue to dream big.

And did we have fun or what? There were countless opportunities to have fun, rejoice, play, laugh in ways some of them never knew it was possible. There were able to forget about the hardships of life and just be children doing what they do best, play endlessly!

Of course, there were the traditional competitions, both for learning and acting out the Bible verses they had learned as well sports. They were all very pleased to receive prizes and be rewarded for their hard work during the school year.

A huge thank you to all that have made this camp possible!

In the video bellow you get a glimpse of the incredible time we all had!

Ride with Purpose – AS Camp 2019

After School Camp 2019

Those that know me would also know about my passion for cycling. Last year I decided to put this hobby of mine to good use. In August I decided to start adding up the rides and hoping to get to 5000 km in a year – while using this as a tool to fundraise for Caleb’s 2019 After School Camp. 

To read about 2018’s After School Camp impact click on the photo bellow:

So far I’ve done ok considering our winters. See my records bellow which I will be updating weekly.

So I am asking all our friends that love cycling or love our work at Caleb Foundation to join us in our efforts to reach the goal of 5000 USD by June 1st.

You can ride your bike and fundraise for this great cause yourself or you can sponsor me to ride by clicking on the button bellow. Thank You! Gheorghe Galea


GOAL $5000          RAISED SO FAR $3345

Florin – ursuletul clasei


Nu sunt pentru porecle. Nu le accept, dar când vine vorba de Florin fac o execepție. El e ursulețul clasei. E o pufoșenie de copil. Când îi strigi numele e tot un zâmbet. Larg și în care se oglindește toată frumusețea lumii.

Dar acest ursuleț nu a fost mereu așa. Are o sora mai mare în grupă, Ioana, care e total opusul lui. Independentă și sigură pe sine. Florin e mai închis, e mai încet și încăpățânat. În primele zile nu făcea nimic din ceea ce îi spuneam. Dacă era să mâncăm la masă, el nu. Dacă ne jucam, el nu. Dacă coloram, el nu. Parcă l-a îmbrățișat pe acel nu.

Doar că și eu sun încăpățînată, iar pentru a primi iaurt trebuia să stea la masă cum stăteau ceilalți copii. Dacă se ruga împreună cu noi și dacă avea masa curată. Azi un pic, mâine un pic. Și Florin a început să stea la masă singur, să țină creionul în mînă și să spună mai mult decît acel ”bună dimineața.”Cel mai greu e să lucrăm la limbaj, să dezlvoltăm vocabularul și să folosim limba română în tot timpul petrecut la grădiniță. Dar nu e imposibil. Dacă e ceva ce știe Florin e să îmbrățișeze. Și o face cu toată inima. Prezența lui îți îmbrățișează inima.

Doroteea Bora

House Insulation Project 2018

One can only appreciate how much we can live without when visiting a poor community like the gyspy community in Lazareni, Romania. It is a great reality check for most teams joining us throughout the year.

There is however, a great need that we have been trying to meet for many years, and that is the lack decent living conditions. Even though the process of providing decent living conditions for the gypsys in Lazareni is slow, we are celebrating every step of the way.
Because of very low income, very few families have been able to build a house that provides adequate shelter from the elements as well as safety. With help from our partners and individuals we have been able to help six families build a house and insulate them in order provide a more appropriate living conditions.

A major project that helps us achieve the above-mentioned goal is insulating the existing homes. This year we planned to insulate 15 houses, as the Styrofoam insulation makes a huge difference when the winter brings temperatures of -25 degrees Celsius as well as coping with the summers’ 35 – 40 degrees Celsius.
At the beginning of the year, our goal was to (by faith) insulate 15 houses but because of our partnership with Proton Foundation, generous donors and the involvement of the local  gypsy men, we were able to insulate 26 houses!

What is different this year from all five previous years of HIP-ing houses is that we made it a community project by having the men of the village do most of the work. Each family whose house is being insulated has to come up with a team of 3-4 men that will do the work assisted and supervised by us. Having a team from other country or town insulate your house is no doubt an incredible blessing. However, having the locals be part of the hands on process makes it even more special giving the family the satisfaction of personal involvement and investment.

It has been such a great experience, seeing the families come together, helping each other out with water, electricity or simply offering to do the work.
By the end of the year, we will have insulated a total of 32 houses in Lazareni and they all will be bearing our signature color as a testimony of what can be achieved when we partner to make a difference.

Please click on the video below to get a better idea what HIP means.

Celebrate the miracle of Water!

Water in Lazareni

In this day and age, the advertising industry and social media has managed to teach what are the things we need, deserve and should want to have. Unfortunately, that makes us take things for granted. We subconsciously think we are entitled to the things we own, use or have access to. In the early 1900, they made a list of things necessary for decent living and they had 16 important items on the list. In the recent years, they have redone the list with the things necessary to a decent life and the number jumped to 114 items. We will let you decide for yourself what to think of these numbers.

Working and spending many days in the gypsy community of Lazareni, we have learned that the so-called list of indispensables is so relative.

These people have had to live without one of the most basic need, water. For as long as we know they have had to walk or use horses and carts to go and fetch water from a source that is 2.5 km away. No effort is too great when you consider that water is vital to surviving; however, in their case they water they were fetching was not anywhere near to the standards we consider safe to drink. You can only imagine the problems created by lack of water and proper hygiene all those years.

Caleb Foundation, has tried over the years to find ways to make water more available and safer to drink. From drilling four wells, some as deep as 220 meters (720 feet) to distributing very efficient water filters to all families within the community. The drilling yielded no results and the geological tests only confirmed what we suspected, that there is no water in the region. Even though the filters only needed basic maintenance within less than a year, they were no longer being used.

One remark that was part of a discussion about the possibility of having running water in 2018 stands out. A young lady said: “when we have running water we will be clean and smell good like you”. One can only imagine how difficult must have been to always be self-conscious of the fact that you smell bad, thus avoiding interaction and socializing with other people.

They mayor a young and very determined individual promised he would see to it that the Lazareni community will have clean running water or he will run for office until it happens.

It took 7 years of hard work, lawsuits and fighting bureaucracy to finally in September of 2018 have running water in most of the village.

What an historical moment to see the kids spend most of the day around the improvised water source in the middle of the village in August 2018. They could not get enough of it to drink and play with. They behaved like “we better take advantage of this while it last” not believing this is for real and is here to stay.

Celebrate with us this new era where the precious Gypsy community of Lazareni can now enjoy the benefits of having clean, safe water in their homes.

Incredible Outcomes:

  • Now they will be able to wash and shower, keep their clothes clean and stay healthy.
  • The Diaper a day Project will take advantage of the re-usable/washable diapers, diaper liners and hygiene products.
  • With water made available and not having to walk for miles to get some the families will now be able raise animals and cultivate their soil in order to grow fruit and vegetables that are so vital to a balanced diet.
  • In addition, probably one of the most valuable outcome is that now the Gyspys will be able to regain their dignity and no longer fear rejected because of being and feeling dirty.


After School – Summer Camp

It’s incredible what the right incentive will accomplish especially in the lives of the gypsy kids in Lazareni where much is to be desired in the excitement department. Motivated and with a clear goal in mind these kids achieved what most parents and teachers believed to be impossible.

Against all kinds of weather, transportation issues, discrimination they attended classes and had some of the highest academic achievements ever recorded.
We know these celebratory achievements have a lot to do with the passion and love our teachers and instructors have shown while investing in these beautiful lives.

In the years past we have had various ways of rewarding their efforts and this year we decided to take 47 of them to a four-day camp up in the mountains. While we were all excited about the camp, the leaders could not hide the fact that they were nervous, as never before had we taken these kids out of the village for more than half a day.

We would like to thank all of those who have made this life changing experience possible for the After School champions!

Here are some highlights from the team leaders:

Salomea, team leader

“I went to the camp having some expectations but didn’t really know what to expect. It was an amazing experience for the kids but also for all of the leaders. I went to camp hoping for a change in their lives, but on top of that I was changed and my life will never be the same after this experience. I really believe that with love, care and education we can break the cycle of poverty and literacy. Really looking forward to our next camp.”

Denisa, team leader

“We were blessed beyond measure at this camp. One thing that really touched me was when the last day at camp I asked the kids: “Are you happy that you are going back home?” and with a sad face all of them answered: “no miss, we want to stay here longer.” They have learned new things, new songs, new Bible principles but the most important thing is that they have experienced love in a new way.”

Doroteea, team leader

“I am a not a brave person. Really, I am not. And this camp was like a Goliath for me, and I was not a David. I was too scared to take the kids to a camp for 4 days. This camp was a life changing experience for me. I have learned that teaching is not about being smarter, not at all. The key in education of these kids is love. The best moment from camp it was when Mea, one of the leaders, said to us “let’s go and put the girls in bed and love on them” So we did that. In that moment, I realized that they have never experienced this kind of love before. Maybe some of them never heard their parents saying to them “I love you”. It was a heartbreaking moment for me but also a life changing experience. Love is the key for all our endeavors that involve these kids.”