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Three ambassadors volunteer at the Habitat for Humanity site in Bălţeşti, Romania

November 5, 2009

BǍLŢEŞTI, ROMANIA (November, 2009) – U.S. ambassador to Romania Mark Gitenstein, Canadian ambassador Philippe Beaulne, Austrian ambassador Martin Eichtinger and deputy head of mission for Netherlands Hans Sandee, as well as 20 employees from the American embassy took part in the Ambassador’s Build event held at the end of October on the site of Habitat for Humanity in Bălţeşti, Prahova County.

Diplomats together with central and local authorities – prefect of Prahova, mayor of Ploieşti and mayor of Bălţesti – and sponsors – Timken, Vodafone Romania Foundation, Baumix and Lafarge şi PRAIS –worked on the interior of two homes for underprivileged Roma families. Members of the diplomatic community visited homes of the beneficiary families from the Bălţeşti to see their current living conditions.

The event took place within the framework of the community development project “One home, one future” developed by Habitat for Humanity Romania in cooperation with Soros Foundation Romania. The program will run for three years in Bălţeşti and Vînători to support the Roma families living in substandard conditions.

The three ambassadors, as well as Adrian Ciorna, president of Habitat for Humanity, and Mona Prisacariu, project manager from Soros Foundation, stressed the importance of this work with the Roma minority.

“This event is an opportunity for us to help this community, which deserves all our support, but which has low income. This union of forces from the diplomats, businessmen and local authorities is the expression of a larger national and international solidarity,” said Adrian Ciorna, president of Habitat for Humanity Romania.

U.S. ambassador to Romania Mark Gitenstein stressed that the project “One home, one future” is a joint effort of Habitat for Humanity, Soros Foundation Romania and the Peace Corps. “Our support goes to these families, and it is an emotional experience,” said Gitenstein.

“I am delighted to be invited here to help build this house, it is a wonderful project. I have done something like this before in Austria, when I was very young, my parents built a house and I helped them a little, “said Martin Eichtinger, Austrian ambassador to Romania.

The Canadian ambassador to Romania was also exciting about taking part in the project, underlining that in his country Habitat for Humanity engaged 50,000 volunteers to help build 200,000 homes. “When you build a house like this, you break the cycle of poverty and this is very important,” said Philippe Beaulne.

Mona Prisacariu, on behalf of Soros Foundation, stressed the strong partnership with Habitat for Humanity. “It is a very complex project. We are in the first year of activity and we want it to last three years. First 5 houses have been already completed in two communities,” said Mona Prisacariu.

Soros Foundation Romania
Through the Integrated Community Development Program, Soros Foundation has been supporting communities in Bălţeşti and Vînători since May 2006. Until recently, this support has consisted of delivering training sessions for the inhabitants and local authorities, consultancy in fundraising and financial support for local projects. The program aims to develop integrated community models within Roma communities.

About Habitat for Humanity International
Habitat for Humanity International is a Christian non-profit organisation dedicated to the cause of eliminating poverty housing. Since its founding in 1976, Habitat has built and renovated more than 350,000 homes worldwide. In Europe and Central Asia, Habitat works in 20 countries with partners, donors and volunteers from the region. For more information, or to donate or volunteer, visit www.habitateurope.org.