4th Dec, 2016

Borough teenagers raise vital funds to help less fortunate families in Bulgaria

Aisling Kiely 24th Sep, 2016 Updated: 21st Oct, 2016

A GROUP of young people from Solihull have been raising vital funds to help less fortunate families in Bulgaria.

The charitable team, aged between 15 and 18, worked with Roma communities in the Kyustendil region of Bulgaria, teaching songs in Bulgarian and organising a range of activities – including bracelet-making, football games, face-painting, and practical help.

Renewal youth leader, Katherine Shand said: “Our young people embraced the Roma communities and took things to hand out they had made themselves such as bracelets to give to the children.

“Others gave away some of their own belongings to help families in need.

“Some Roma families build their own houses in any space they can find to build on, and many of the houses are really close together.

“They have no heating so, by winter, they will be struggling to stay warm by adding layers of clothing. Many of their clothes are tattered and old.

“This expedition was all about encouraging our young people to show their care for the Roma people through acts of kindness and community work, and it’s an experience they will never forget.”

Renewal, a family church on Lode Lane, has supported churches in Bulgaria for over ten years.

Speaking about her experiences on the trip, Lauren Loughrey said:”We went into different communities every day, playing with the children, teaching them stories, and interacting with them.

“One day the lads were playing football and I was able to talk to the Roma community mums; it was a special, touching time and, although we were younger, we were able to relate to them and it felt like family.”