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.
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
it nationwide. Bravo to the Romanian government.
LCIF, the Lions Club International Foundation, teamed with
all of us, to overhaul the school: water was run into the building;
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
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
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
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
The Indiana Lions have sponsored as many as 15 students a year
for the past three years. Thanks to Jim and Fran Cameron, the
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,
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.
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
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
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
Provided a PC and other equipment to the Mayor's Office (Primaria)
Provided a "weed eater" to clear brush throughout
Organized an ongoing workshop to revive the moribund art of
reverse painting of icons on glass. these works offering vibrant
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,
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
of Vurpar and for our big-hearted Lions friends, so the more
connections that can be made the better for both sides.)
an eye glass program to regularly examine the eyes of children
in Vurpar and the surrounding villages, as well
with necessary eye care and glasses. (The economy is still
very weak in Romania and the average income in the villages,
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
donations payable to:
St. Mary's Romanian Orthodox Church,
% Jim Sack
South Harrison Street,
Fort Wayne, IN 46807.
a tax deductible donation!