At camp this summer, the eight-year-old seemed unsure at first about the climbing wall. But she was the first to volunteer to have a go and she was the only child to succeed in making it all the way to the top.
A week’s holiday at a resort in the Carpathian Mountains was an unimaginable dream for a child from her background. “Bela is one of our most serious cases of poverty,” says Carmen Popa, a teacher at Talita Kum, Blythswood’s after-school programme in western Romania. “She lives in a single-roomed apartment with her mother and seven siblings. They have no electricity or running water. Her mum is illiterate and unemployed and the family depends completely on social benefits.
“We often see Bela and the younger children wearing dirty clothes and barefoot on the street.
Camp was a great opportunity to show her how to take care of her personal hygiene, how to have a healthy daily routine, and how to communicate with people from a different country.” The Talita Kum camp at Rausor was one of four to be assisted by teams of volunteers from secondary schools in Scotland. “Team games helped Bela to cooperate with the other children,” Carmen says, “but it was the craft time that taught her more in terms of patience and listening to others.
“Although at times she seems very wild and strong, we know that deep down she’s just a little girl who wants to be loved.”
Photo above: With your support, disadvantaged children like Bela can make it to the top