Mustard Seed [Jersey]

Humanitarian Aid to Eastern Europe; Registered Charity in Jersey (Britain) No EM9010



                                                                                                      MUSTARD SEED [JERSEY] IN 2006


This year of 2006 so far has been one of the most encouraging for us in Mustard Seed as we have seen the success of 2 new projects/programmes and celebrated the on-going success of our most long-standing project.


As at the end of October 2006, we have sent 3 lorries of humanitarian aid (36 tonnes) so far this year to Eastern Europe. Our September lorry went to the Republic of Moldova (the poorest country in Europe), while the 2 other loads went to Oradea, Romania. Our November lorry is also for Romania and will focus on aid for a large hospital with 400 patients either with long-term psychiatric needs or severe learning difficulties. Then our final lorry of the year should be in December with the Christmas shoeboxes for Romania.


As Romania’s entry to EU approaches in 2007 there is much uncertainty as to the implications. We have been warned that the Romanian government may levy an import tax on humanitarian aid – if that is the case then certainly we would not send Christmas shoeboxes there again; it could well mean it would be too costly for us to send any more material relief aid to the country. If this proves to be the case, we would undoubtedly direct our material aid more to Moldova. We have to wait and see what develops.


Although there are many opportunities and improvements in Romania and much evidence of increased prosperity, it is clear the gap between rich and poor is growing wider, and without doubt the poorest are getting poorer. 


Statistics show that the poorest group in Romanian society is now the pensioners. Thanks to the on-going input from western charities, abandoned children are no longer the most at risk. Statistics show it is pensioners who are most vulnerable – especially if they have no income other than their state pension. Over 30 pensioners benefited last year when we launched our ADOPT A GRANNY for the winter appeal. We now have approximately 20 vulnerable “grannies” or “grandpas” who are permanently “adopted” and receive help throughout the year and a further 24 who have been adopted for this winter. We are told by social workers that in several cases this support literally made the difference between life and death for the pensioner, especially in the bitterly cold winter.


Our 2 projects that offer greatest hope for the future involve provision of training for young people leaving the state orphanages; sadly they are usually inadequately prepared for life. It was in 1999 we first supported an apartment for 4 young women, who had just left the state orphanage system and were homeless sleeping under a bridge in Oradea, Romania. Since then we have been involved in assisting a further estimated 25 young women, placing them in apartments, helping with employment, etc. Most of them are now independent. It was a tremendous thrill for us to bring most of the original first 2 groups to Jersey for a holiday this summer.


The development of our family group hostel for homeless boys in Cefa is a big success, challenging but very rewarding. Our next goal is to set up a business on the site to provide employment and to enable the hostel to become self-supporting.


Mustard Seed’s motto “Your help makes a difference”



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