Exiles Forum

Lisburn, Co. Antrim, Northern Ireland




Generous Ballymacash pupils send Romanian children to summer camp

The pupils of Ballymacash Primary School and Nursery Unit raised �1,500 to send 60 Romanian orphans to camp this summer. Pictured along with P5 teacher Mrs Coles, who will be leaving the school for two years, is Mr Wes Gilmore, the school principal and pupils Courtney Griffin, Jamie Magowan, Mark McGuigan, Reece Nicholson, Chantelle Thompson and Jemma Snoddy. US19-745SP

THE generosity of Ballymacash Primary School pupils will be sending 60 Romanian orphans to camp this summer.

Primary five Teacher Mrs Fiona Coles is set to exchange life in Lisburn for Romania for the next two years and shortly before Christmas she set the School and Nursery Unit pupils the 'Ballymacash Bus Challenge' to help the children in eastern Europe.

The challenge saw every child take home a bus moneybox to collect as much change as possible to send the children in Romania to summer camp.

At a cost of �25 per child, it was thought 20 children would be a good target, howeyer the pupils raised a whopping �1,500, enough to send 60 children to camp this summer.

For the last four years Mrs Coles and her husband Paul, a youth worker, have been leading teams of young people to Romania to run summer camps with Livada Orphan Care. These trips have proved life changing for the members of their teams and indeed for them. Fiona and Paul found themselves with a greater love for Romania each time they returned. So as of this July, Fiona and Paul will be moving to Targu Mures, Romania to work full time for two years with Livada Orphan Care.

Twins abandoned at the baby orphanage. Fiona and Cristi at last summer's camp. US19742SP
Twins abandoned at the baby orphanage. Fiona and Cristi at last summer's camp. US19742SP

One of their key roles will be as Camp Directors. Each week of the summer they will provide up to sixty, 4-18 year old orphans with an action packed week of fun, sports, crafts, adventure activities and care they would not get at their state orphanage.

Their aim is to show them that God loves them, that they are special and to give them happy memories that will last.

They will also be setting up a youth programme to connect with a forgotten generation of older orphans. These teenagers were the neglected and abused babies seen on television almost 16 years ago when the horror of Romanian orphanages first hit Western Europe.

Sadly once these teenagers reach school leaving age they are no longer the responsibility of the state, so many as young as 16 will be left to fend for themselves, with no life skills this often leads them to a life on the streets and a dismal future.

Ballymacash Primary has played a huge part in supporting the couple on this new venture and during their two year placement it is hoped to continue the link with further fundraising challenges and monthly updates. School principal Mr Wes Gilmore said, "Mrs Coles is still with us and already the children have gained so much from the Romanian link. As well as the obvious financial support, we hope to broaden the children's horizons to the needs to others less fortunate around the world. Knowing the generosity of our pupils and parents the total does not surprise me and I hope during the two years we will be able to organise further fundraising events to help with the Livada project."

Anyone interested in finding out more about the project and ways to support it, should contact the Ballymacash Primary School secretary on 9266 4244



Ulster Star