When our house Casa Bridget, a home for children with disabilities opened in 2003, we felt we had achieved our aim. Little did we know that by having a base, the opportunity to help would multiply. Thankfully our volunteers willingly embraced this new opportunity, seeking the needy beyond our gates, and reaching out to so many people. Always at its core were our numerous volunteers, carers, builders, truck drivers, and unsung heroes. All were led by compassion for helping others, which was handed down over the years from Pauline Walsh to Claire Colvin. This compassion now lives on as strong as ever with Claire and Ionel Melinte at its core. We are very fortunate to have such dedicated volunteers.

Casa Bridget

Casa Bridget is a home in the village of Nicoresti, in the Galati County, South East Romania for 16 special needs young adults formally resident in appalling state orphanages. Our residents are thriving under the love and care shown to them by our qualified social assistants and also benefit from our in-house physiotherapist and nurse. Casa Bridget also has a sensory room and a big playroom which helps to keep the residents occupied during the long winters. Our aim is to help our residents be as independent as possible and we also like to keep them stimulated through regular trips out, music sessions, art and craft, and a number of different daily activities.

After years of handing out donations in the village, we realized that the best way to try and break the poverty cycle is through education. Therefore, in 2007 we, together with our Italian friends Noiperloro built a Day Centre on the grounds of Casa Bridget. This project provides schooling, hot meals, washing facilities, and clothing to 40 children per day. Many of these children are neglected, they live in poor conditions with little food, very poor hygienic conditions, and no education and are at risk of being abandoned. We offer them the possibility of a better future, complete with an education that touches all aspects of life, looking from hygiene and nutritional aspects to extra schooling. We also have a psychologist who supports the children through the different problems that their home life inevitably brings. To date, the center has proved to be a tremendous success and great progress has been seen in each child.

Day Centre

Romanian Community

Outside the gates of Casa Bridget, there is a continual need to assist poverty-stricken families. Many still live in difficult conditions. Families with many children live in single-room shacks made of clay and straw, without basics such as running water or electricity. There are also a number of elderly and disabled villagers who get very little support from the state. We try to help where we can, funds and time permitting, whilst at the same time being careful to not allow people to become too dependent on the foundation. Here are some examples of the different ways in which we support people in Nicoresti and the surrounding villages:

  • Food and clothes and toys, donated in Ireland and Italy, are distributed regularly
  • Firewood, essential during the harsh winters, is given out regularly to the elderly and disabled
  • Medicines, essential operations, and hospital costs are covered by the foundation for families who otherwise would be unable to get treated. Even in the hospital, we are often forced to pay the doctors and nurses who would otherwise ignore the patients
  • We help people with the expensive cost of getting electricity connected. Electricity means culture and civilization and allows families a normal life instead of being forced to spend evenings confined to a single room by candlelight
  • We assist with the renovation and construction of houses, roofs, or rooms for families with many children often living in very poor conditions
  • We support the elderly, poor, and often illiterate, who are unable, and who find it too confusing, to make applications for many important documents, such as pensions, health care, ID cards, etc
  • We pay the transport costs for some teenagers in the village to go to high school in the town. In return, they spend a few hours a week working at the foundation
  • We have built 18 houses for young families that were previously homeless or living in overcrowded conditions. These families are encouraged to be independent and eventually, the houses will be signed over to them
  • We help our local schools and playschools wherever possible meaning we are able to help  a larger number of children, recent donations have included toys, desks, chairs, and textbooks
  • Our local hospital is very under-funded so we often help with donations of medical equipment, water-proof mattresses, and toys for the childrens hospital
  • There are a number of families in the village that we pay to take good care of elderly and disabled people who would otherwise be homeless