Vurpar, Romania
Vurpar Street
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Over the past few years we have made considerable progress in Vurpar and below we offer an update. Thanks goes to all who have given ideas, time and money to help. Special appreciation goes to Past Lions Club International Director Jim Cameron and his wife Fran, to District Governor Ann Haffner and her husband Chuck, to the two dozen Indiana Lions who have sponsored students, to the Lions in Wilmslow and Market Harborough, England, and to Keith and Margaret Royle, of Hazel Grove, England. They have all made this project a part of their lives.

Correspondingly, in Vurpar, Mayor Michael Lienerth, school principal Florin Hariga and Emil Dragan, the retired village veterinarian, have each worked hard to facilitate our efforts from afar. Certainly, without their support, added input and original ideas very little of our work would have been possible or so successful.

Vision Project.
This has grown exponentially. Here is how it started, and you can read below how it has expanded. Thanks to the Lions Club of Daleville, Indiana, and the vision of James Cameron of Syracuse, Indiana, 200 people in Vurpar received their first set of glasses in May 2000. Cameron is the founder of the world famous Lions Club eyeglass project. At an Indiana headquarters Lions collect, classify and distribute glasses around the globe. Then, in July 2000 over 8000 pairs of glasses were taken to Vurpar where 2,800 people received examinations and glasses. The rest were left behind to defray cataract operation expenses.

School Snack Program
We would like to think the Romanian government is paying attention. They have instituted a national program which closely resembles the daily snack we provided in Vurpar for three years, only they have done it nationwide. Bravo to the Romanian government.

School Projects
LCIF, the Lions Club International Foundation, teamed with all of us, to overhaul the school: water was run into the building; a teachers restroom was built; drinking water is now available; water for cleaning is on tap; the old outhouse up the hill was also remodeled in tile and stainless steel to provide sanitary toilets in separate boys and girls rooms; all new floors were put down throughout the school; four hundreds new desks and chairs were provided, and a building on the school grounds was remodeled to provide a home for a Peace Corps volunteer. Special thanks to Jim and Fran Cameron, Ann and Charlie Haffner, the Town Board of Webster Lake, Indiana, and Jerry Higginbotham of the LCIF for having the vision to make this project a success.

The school computer lab is now state-of-the-art for Romania. Thanks to the efforts of many people, including the Yoder Family of Goshen, Indiana, Vurpar School has a top-notch, as-good-as-any-school-in-Romania PC lab. A few more than 20 PCs are constantly in use by students and adults intent upon learning, playing and profiting.

Provided chalkboards for school to replace boards that had been broken for years. Provided an extensive collection of school classroom supplies and decorations.

Provided an emergency fund for the school to buy pencils, pens and paper, even shoes for the kids.

Provided a TV and VCR for the school.

Replaced all of the lights in the school with modern fluorescent fixtures.

The Indiana Lions have sponsored as many as 15 students a year for the past three years. Thanks to Jim and Fran Cameron, the Haffners, George Cross, the Hinshaws, the Penns, the Marcheggiannis, the Frazees, the Clesters Drew Welborn, Pat Harrold, Ron Kersten and a few anonymous others room-and-board has been paid to allow Vurpar kids to continue after the end of their 8th grade year. Room and board costs $250 per year at Sibiu high schools. Happily some of the kids are now enrolled in college.

The Market Harborough Lions Club from near Manchester, England has sponsored kindergarten renovations. Again, walls were repaired, new floors laid and water brought inside the building.
The Michael Royle Playground was built at the Kindergarten thanks to a gift from Michael's parents, Margaret and Keith Royle of Hazel Grove, England. Keith is a leading Lion in England and together with his dynamic wife have raised much money to help victims of Leukemia, the disease which claimed the life of their athletic son.

Community Projects
Founded Romania's first rural Lions Club. Typically Lions Clubs in Romania are the domain of the rich and powerful, primarily due to the cost of founding a club and paying memberships. The Vurpar Project helped start the club that has undertaken its own projects to improve the community. The founding ceremony in the village was a great event attended by Lions from all over the country.

" Twinned" the Vurpar Lions with the Lions Club of Wilmslow, England, thanks to the work of Past International Director Jim Cameron, and Keith Royle.

Provided uniforms, balls and goal nets for the Vurpar Lions Soccer Club, one of the best-dressed soccer clubs in Romania.

Built a changing house at the community soccer field for the use of competing teams and the children of the village.

Arranged for a Peace Corps volunteer to live and work in Vurpar. We appreciate the faith that Mirela Creanga, a leader in the Peace Corps movement in Romania, placed in our work in Romania and her determination to help the people of rural Romania.

Provided funds for materials to repair the Cultural Hall (Camin Cultural) roof.

Provided a PC and other equipment to the Mayor's Office (Primaria) in Vurpar.

Provided a "weed eater" to clear brush throughout the village.

Organized an ongoing workshop to revive the moribund art of reverse painting of icons on glass. these works offering vibrant colors and very strong visions have been sold at festivals in America to profit the kids who have undertaken the project.

Provided funds for materials for a weaving course for the school students. (Can you help?)

Graciously, a French medical organization has adopted the Vurpar health clinic, providing supplies and expertise. Members of the Vurpar Project also carried over boxes of donated medical supplies and equipment for the Health Clinic (Here's how you can help.)

Working with Food for the Hungry, a Romania based NGO, to upgrade farming practices and to improve education in the village.

Instituted a mini-loan program to stimulate the local economy. (Can you help?) One loan to one local farmer was used to buy land and set up a greenhouse. He repaired the loan well within the stipulated time frame and now is doing well on his own.

A mini-loan was also made to a sheep farmer who more than doubled the size of his flock and improved his sheep "station" to produce more milk and cheese.

Developed this web site thanks to TEK Interactive Group, Inc.

Brought the town agronomist to rural Indiana near Fort Wayne to study area farming techniques applicable in Vurpar.

Brought the principal of the school to Fort Wayne to visit schools and learn local educational practices and theory.

On the Drawing Board
We plan to:
Provide musical instruments to create a town band (there are plenty of musicians in town, but   instruments are very scarce)

Clear ground and buy equipment for a volleyball/basketball court (this is another way of given the   children of the village a way to grow physically and to learn teamwork)

Expand the mini loan program both in the number of loans and their size (certainly, the program has   been successful to date, the goal is to provide the missing element, capital, to couple with trained   labor and available markets)

Expand relationships between organizations and institutions in America and Vurpar (the Lions Club   model has worked miracles for the people of Vurpar and for our big-hearted Lions friends, so the more   connections that can be made the better for both sides.)

Create an eye glass program to regularly examine the eyes of children in Vurpar and the surrounding   villages, as well as provide the children with necessary eye care and glasses. (The economy is still   very weak in Romania and the average income in the villages, villages like Vurpar, has not greatly   increased. It is still somewhere around $40 to $50 a month. Certainly there is not enough money to   buy glasses, so kids go to school unable to read. We want to make sure they all get off to a good   start, so we will load up glass and Lions and travel the back roads to each school in the area to fit   each needy kids.

Make donations payable to:
Vurpar Project, St. Mary's Romanian Orthodox Church,
% Jim Sack
2502 South Harrison Street,
Fort Wayne, IN 46807.

It's a tax deductible donation!

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