The Alpha Foundation purchased a large property in the central Romanian village of Mosna, and with the support of Growth for Tomorrow has developed a fully accredited carpentry training centre for boys.
Mosna is in the heart of the Transylvanian mountains with a population of around 2,500. It is a gypsy village that is rich in history but also with a lot of economic hardship amongst the people.
The property (purchased at the beginning of 2006) included four historic buildings dating back to the late 1800’s which were in a very run-down state of disrepair and requiring significant repair and restoration.
An extensive repair and restoration project was undertaken that employed local Romanian workers and took 18 months to complete the first phase, allowing the training centre to open in September 2008 with 6 students.
Over the next 2-3 years the property was transformed from a bunch of run-down old buildings into a fully functioning carpentry training centre and accommodation facility with 2 fully equipped workshops and the capacity to house up to 16 boys at a time.
Attention was given to the small details to ensure that the bedrooms in the accommodation area were spacious and not overcrowded, as is often the case in the state run orphanges.
The Alpha Foundation currently provides 3 programs from its facility in Mosna to help orphans and abandoned youth transition into the community.
1 … Alpha Foundation Carpentry Training Program
A fully accredited one year Carpentry Training Program is provided to boys between the age of 18-23 years that have lived the majority of their lives in an orphanage or state run Child Protection Home.
The students who attend the Carpentry Training Program are provided with:
Free accommodation, food, clothing, and necessities for living a normal life
Free qualified vocational training in carpentry and joinery
A Romanian government issued Diploma on completion and passing of the program
Comprehensive life skills training to support them when they leave the program
Support in securing employment on graduation
Ongoing support beyond the 12 months
2 … Alpha Foundation Work Program
Every year the Alpha Foundation employs and pays a full time salary to 4-5 students that graduate from the Carpentry Training Program. These graduates are employed by the Foundation to make things in the carpentry workshop for sale, to work in various areas of construction at the Foundation or hired out as a labour to local builders, and working on the Foundation farmland and with the animals.
The purpose of the Work Program is to help each graduate to become more familiar with a normal full-time working week, to provide a variety of areas where they can develop additional skills, and to better prepare them to cope in a full time employment. It is a difficult transition going from living in a Child Protection home or being part of a school/training program to the strictness of a full time job, and the Alpha Foundation Work Program provides a safe environment where they can learn and be helped in this transition process.
In addition to their Work Program duties the Alpha Foundation also provides continuing Life Skills training and assistance to help the youth as they transition from a life of dependency.
3 … Alpha
Foundation Assistance Program
There are 2-3 places available for any students that graduate from the Carpentry Training Program and find full-time employment in the vicinity of the local Mosna/Medias village/city area so they have somewhere to live as they get on their feet and start full time employment.
The purpose of the Assistance Program is to provide a safe and inexpensive place for them to live, and at the same time we can still have input into their lives and help them with various issues that come up.
The Alpha Foundation is staffed by live-in parents who are on call 24 hours a day to supervise, guide and support the boys, providing valuable care and mentoring. Also employed is a full time cook who prepares the food and teaches the students basic food preparation skills, plus a practical carpentry teacher and a theory teacher whose job it is to see that the students are learning the required material and developing their trade skills.
The project employs all local Romanian citizens who receive market rate salaries. By exclusively employing local people we are reinforcing our commitment to providing employment opportunities which have far reaching benefits for many families in the community.
The Alpha Foundation is a safe, secure and friendly environment in which the youth have the opportunity to learn the necessary skills to transition from a life time in government run orphanages to becoming independent and skilled in a trade which will provide them with a better future.
In addition to the training centre property the Alpha Foundation has also purchased a 4 hectare piece of farmland that is used to grow food. The food is used by the training centre to feed the students, and any excess is sold off with the money going towards buying other food supplies that are required. As the majority of Romanian’s normally have small pieces of farmland near their house, this provides an opportunity for the students to learn a bit about growing various crops and learn some skills that will be relevant to them in the future.