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.