About European Relief Aid.
Who are we?
European Relief Aid was formed in 1985 by a group of Christian volunteers, with the aim of taking aid to children in eastern Europe. Since then we have made many relief trips to orphanages and other institutions in Poland, Russia, Albania and Romania.
One example of our work which has been ongoing over the last decade or so is to deliver much-needed supplies to an orphanage and an old people’s home in Sighetu Marmatiei, in northern Romania. As the director of the orphanage told us, "It makes a huge difference when you know someone cares about you and that you will have the means to do something about the situation and conditions that we have."
The general living conditions in Romanian orphanages are often very poor, as they receive very little financial support. Many of the children in these orphanages have severe mental and physical handicaps and were hidden away from the rest of the world during the days prior to the revolution in 1989. The orphanage staff also suffer hardship, as it is not uncommon for them to go without pay for months because there is not enough money available to run the orphanage, feed the children and pay the staff as well. With the high rate of inflation and the consequent rapid devaluation of Romanian currency, the financial situation gets worse each year.
When children who are unable to fend for themselves reach the age at which they must leave the orphanage, they go straight to the old people’s home, where they will stay until they die. We started taking aid to the old people’s home comparatively recently, so conditions there have not improved as much as conditions in the orphanage.
Although we all work together under the banner of European Relief Aid, each local team is under the authority of a local church. As a Christian organisation we are committed to Christian values, and see our work as an extension of our commitment to Christ: "A generous person will himself be blessed, for he shares his food with the poor." (Proverbs 22:9).