Caminul Felix Orphanage Home Build, Romania August 31 - Sept 14, 2023
Caminul Felix believes family is the key to helping abandoned and neglected children and is the foundation of their success. Families are comprised of a married couple who dedicates their life to raising a “family”. They may or may not have children of their own, but they will begin to take on children over a 2-year period, up to 16-18 children in all, and they will raise them as a family unit. Each family is placed in a home that was built by donors. There are currently two Caminul Felix villages; eight families in each village. All together they care for over 200 children but have raised an additional 400 that are now grown with families of their own. Once a family reaches its full capacity (16-18 children), that family will remain unchanged until all the children eventually move out of the home. When a young adult moves out, another child is not brought into the family unit to fill the void, so the unit stays constant and children are not constantly coming in and out. This is important in keeping the family unit strong, and eventually allows parents to phase out of service after 25+ years of dedication, unless they decide to go on to care for a second generation of children.
Construction projects at the Caminul Felix Village can range in scale and type depending on the current needs of the village. The majority of construction at the village is building homes for young adults who grew up in the village, and can then go on to purchase these homes at material cost. This is an amazing program that provides these young adults and their new families an affordable means of settling down. Since the children do not have a normal family structure with financial help for buying or inheriting a home, this initiative gives them the security and opportunity of home ownership within their community. In order to become eligible to buy a home, the young adults must volunteer 500 hours working on building projects around the village. This helps to give a sense of ownership and value. On an average day we will have anywhere from 3-5 of these young adults working alongside us. Having them on the team will give us opportunities to build close relationships with them, learn more about the village through the eyes of those who have grown up in it, and learn some Romanian language and about their culture.
As a volunteer with Building Humanity, it is important to recognize that your presence will supplement the existing workforce and enhance the quality of our delivery. You will assist a core team of staff on an existing project. If you have professional experience in the work you will be undertaking with Building Humanity, every effort will be made to use your particular expertise during your visit.
Special Skills Needed
Our preliminary schedule is as follows:
Thursday, August 31st - Team arrives in Cluj-Napoca, Romania. Group dinner & introductions.
Friday, September 1st - Morning tour of Cluj focusing on culture, art and history. Afternoon tour of Salina Turda Salt Mine and tour at La Creme Winery (wine tasting not included but you will be given free time)
Saturday, September 2nd - Tour of Zalau History Museum & Porolissum Archaeological site. 3-4 hour drive to Maramures region including stops at several iconic sites including but not limited to, The Happy Cemetery, Barsana Monastery, Eli Wiesel Museum, Memorial to the Victims of Communism and of the Resistance, & various wooden churches.
Sunday, September 3rd - Free morning to enjoy hot springs. After lunch, drive to Oradea. Dinner & introductions with families in Caminul Felix.
Monday September 4th - History and tour of Caminul Felix communities. Tour of local Romani community.
Tuesday through Friday, September 5 - 8th - Team works on site. Lunches and dinners will be at CF with the families. One day mid week we will stop work early for a field trip..
Saturday & Sunday, September 9-10th - Team has a free weekend. You can participate in group activities with the children in CF, or visit a number of local sites around the area. Suggestions will be offered for visiting local sites.
Monday - Wednesday, September 11 - 13th - Team works on site. Lunches and dinners will be at CF with the families.
Thursday, September 14th - Team says goodbye, airport transfers. You may leave from Cluj-Napoca or Budapest, Hungary (both are 2-3 hour drives from Oradea)
The total cost for the construction of the home is $26,450 USD.
The total cost for volunteer participation is $1500 USD. Each volunteer also commits to raising an additional $1500 USD for the construction costs of the project. Volunteers are expected to reach this target by the start date of the trip and will be required to self-fund any shortfall in donations.
A non refundable $250 deposit is required to hold your spot. Deposits to secure your 2023 spot can be made via cash, check, bank transfer, Venmo, Paypal or our donation page. Be sure to send us an email confirmation too! (If you had previously made a deposit for a postponed or canceled trip due to COVID, please reach out if you would like to join us in Romania)
Donations made toward the costs are tax deductible and receipts can be provided to donors. We recommend volunteers ask their family, friends, coworkers and local office/business line for support. Additional fundraising events are also a great idea. We will send volunteers a booklet to assist in fundraising efforts.
We have a brand new fundraising platform available to all volunteers. Once you are ready to start fundraising for your remaining participation costs (minus the $250 deposit) and your additional $1500 for the construction materials, you can create a personalized fundraising page to send to family, friends and colleagues.
Included in event costs are the following:
pickup/drop-off from Cluj Napoca airport (if arriving/leaving on beginning/end dates)
transportation during entire length of the trip (except any additional trips/tours on free weekend)
accommodation in double occupancy room (single occupancy room can be requested for additional fee)
meals & water (no alcoholic beverages)
Tour of Cluj & Salina Turda
Zalau history museum & Porolissum archaeological site entries
Baile Felix thermal bath entry
personal protection/safety equipment
This cost DOES NOT INCLUDE flights to/from your home city/country, alcoholic beverages, snacks, additional/optional trips or souvenirs. Meals are accommodated in the group. If you choose not to participate in group meals, no reimbursement will be made.
Caminul Felix Donation Requests:
Clothes are most needed: dresses, t-shirts, shorts, pants & shoes for boys and girls
hygiene products (unless these are specialty products, we always recommend buying locally)
toys/games (learning games, books, balls & pumps, etc.)
Insurance & Vaccines
Prior to the trip, volunteers are responsible for securing a travel visa (Building Humanity can offer support and references), travel insurance, vaccinations and medication.
The CDC and WHO recommend the following vaccinations for Romania: COVID-19, hepatitis A, hepatitis B, typhoid, rabies, meningitis, polio, measles, mumps and rubella (MMR), Tdap (tetanus, diphtheria and pertussis), chickenpox, shingles, pneumonia and influenza. This is by no means an exhaustive list or recommended for everyone. Please consult your physician to find out which vaccines are recommended for you personally.
As of 13 March 2022, all COVID regulations have been lifted for travel to Romania. We will be monitoring this closely in case requirements change. (IATA Travel Center)
What to Expect
Don’t expect to work miracles in a week and a half - be realistic. The work we do is designed to impact in the long term, and as such we are committed to investing ourselves into doing things the right way, which is not always the quickest way! You are bound to find the enthusiasm for learning, sharp curiosity and inherent willingness of everyone you meet an inspiration. In some senses the real lessons about your time on a build are only learned when you return home. How do you replicate the unique and vivid experiences that you have just lived through? How do you pass the baton on to someone else before settling down once again to the routine? By sharing your own experiences and perspectives, you can help to educate others, and challenge some of the preconceptions and stereotypes that persist about the people and the world you have just experienced.
As a volunteer, you have an increasing role to play within the responsible tourism concept. We have ensured a solid framework to achieve these goals, but it is your actions that uphold the impact and the good foundations we have laid.
construction on family homes & site work
August 31 -September 14, 2023