Europe and Central Asia featured program: Romania
Romania is located in southeastern Europe along the Black Sea and it shares borders with Bulgaria, Hungary, Moldova, Serbia and the Ukraine. Its landscape is broken by the Carpathian Mountains and Transylvanian Alps. Temperatures in Romania are primarily temperate, with cold, snowy winters and sunny summers.
Romanian, Hungarian, Romany
This economic and social legacy has left many in Romania without decent shelter and has forced them to live in cold, damp and crowded housing. Many older homes are on the verge of collapse, and broken windows are covered with cardboard to protect against the cold wind and snow. Makeshift stoves provide the only heating, and in some cases, there is no access to drinking water.
Soviet-style apartment blocks present different, but no less tragic challenges. Water leaks through the ceiling and walls and causes the plaster to buckle and fall. The heating systems are regularly out of order, forcing families to create homemade and often dangerous heating alternatives. In some cases, entire floors share toilet and shower facilities. According to the official statistics, 35 percent of housing in Romania is in a state of complete neglect and in need of urgent repairs.
Romania became the 50th Habitat for Humanity country when the first affiliate began in the small western town of Beius. Six other communities, including Cluj-Napoca (Cluj), Pitesti, Radauti, Comanesti, Craiova and Cumpana have since taken up the challenge of ending poverty housing.
Habitat for Humanity Romania adapts the housing style to fit the environment in which people live. The organization builds single-family homes as well as multi-family housing. In cities where the cost of land is high, Habitat for Humanity Romania builds attic apartments or renovates existing units. To address a special need population in Romania, there are also studio apartment renovations, where orphans, orphan-made families and single-parent families can create a home of their own.
However, Habitat for Humanity Romania’s approach also goes beyond just undertaking its own building programs. The organization also seeks to act as a catalyst for improving housing conditions by offering support, expertise and experience to partners such as USAID, CHF, UNICEF and ASCO Oradea, among others. Habitat Romania has also moved into disaster response projects and innovative construction techniques, in addition to repairs, renovations and rehabilitation of old communist-era block apartments. Other innovative projects include micro-financing, social inclusion and eco-friendly construction.
The size of the typical Habitat for Humanity Romania house varies from 21 square meters (studio-apartments) to 90 square meters (larger homes for families with many children). Homes are primarily constructed using a wooden frame structure and sandwich-type walls made of thermo-insulating materials. Use of durable, volunteer-friendly materials is a priority. The average monthly payment for a Habitat home is equivalent to approximately US$40 and is part of an interest-free, 20-year mortgage.
Learn more about at www.habitat.ro.
Beius/Oradea, Cluj, Comanesti, Ploiesti, Pitesti, Valenii de Munte, Bucharest (SOS Children’s Villages) and Radauti
Teams arrive by international flights to Budapest (for HFH Beius/Oradea and HFH Cluj) or Bucharest (for HFH Comanesti, HFH Bucharest, HFH Valenii de Munte, HFH Ploiesti, HFH Pitesti and HFH Radauti). Teams then travel to their host locations by minibus or train. Post-flight travel time can be anywhere between two to eight hours, depending on the project location.
Hotels are simple and basic and typically located near the project site. Rooms sleep two to three people and include a private bathroom, although occasionally bathrooms are shared. All facilities are screened by Habitat staff to ensure they are safe, clean and well maintained.
Both long-distance and daily transport to and from the hotel is typically in the form of a 15-person private minibus with a hired driver. In Radauti, the teams can walk from the hotel to the build site.
Food and water
Breakfast and dinner: Served in the hotel or a local restaurant.
Lunch: Served on the work site
Water: Tap water is not sanitary to drink in Romania. Purified, bottled water and bottled juices will be provided throughout the day.
Hosting structure and services
Habitat hosting staff can be reached via email and are available to answer any questions prior to the trip. A staff person will accompany the team as long as necessary and will serve as a translator.
Initially, the location choice for your team will be decided in conjunction with the national volunteer program manager to decide on where there is the greatest need for a team.
Once the dates and location have been decided, the volunteer coordinator at the host location as well as the national volunteer program manager will be readily available to answer any questions prior to the trip. A volunteer coordinator will accompany the team as long as necessary and will serve as a translator.
Itineraries are balanced with plenty of work, rest and free time. Hosting staff in Romania offers teams a “back door” welcome to their community and encourage teams to visit local cultural treasures.
11-day itinerary (A 15-day itinerary is also an option for U.S. teams.)
Day 1 (Arrival day, typically Friday): Depart for Romania.
Day 2 (Saturday): Arrive in Budapest, Hungary or Bucharest, Romania, depending on host program location; overnight in hotel; team dinner.
Day 3(Sunday): Travel to host program; welcome and orientation with Habitat host program staff member; dinner.
Day 4–9 Work days (Monday–Saturday): Work from 8a.m.-4p.m. with lunch on site; free time after work to clean up; dinner in local restaurants; time for team activities. Special events throughout the week: cultural experiences with host program staff, such as market tours, museum visits, etc; walking tour of host city; farewell dinner.
Day 10 (Sunday): Travel to Budapest, Hungary or Bucharest, Romania, depending on host program location; free time; final team dinner.
Day 11 (Monday): Departure day.
Due to varying post-flight travel distances and accommodation options, there is a range of costs for trips to Romania.
Cluj: Starting at $1,830 (11 days) - $2,030 (15 days)
Beius/Oradea Comanesti/Ploesti/Pitesti/Radauti: Starting at $1,670 (11 days) - $1,890 (15 days)
View the standard budget.
10–20 people. Certain projects can take 40–50 volunteers at a time, if scheduled well in advance. The approximate team size should be established at the stage when the team proposal is submitted.
February to November.
Because Romanian winters are especially harsh, March through November are the most popular travel months.
Volunteer Engagement specialist
If you have read the FAQs and have further questions before you submit a Global Village trip proposal, please contact Europe and Central Asia volunteer engagement specialist Joe Johnston at firstname.lastname@example.org or 1-800-HABITAT , ext. 7980.