A CHIILLY Christmas Day sponsored dip in the sea help set a Bexhill teenager on the road to a trip of a lifetime in Romania helping disadvantaged children.
Rosie Matt began her quest to raise funds for the trip in 2011. She needed £800 to be able to participate in the adventure, organised by the Guides and the Wishing Well charity. Thanks to the generosity of family, friends, local people and Guiding Grants, enough was raised to cover the costs of the trip and provide craft and sports activity equipment for the charity.
Rosie’s experience began on July 26 when, dressed in guiding uniform, she landed in Bucharest amid the intense heat of the Romanian summer. Rosie said: “ From the very beginning we were taken aback by the beauty of the country, from the breathtaking buildings of Bucharest city to the serenity of the lakes that surrounded us when we arrived at our campsite.”
A long journey had taken Rosie and her companions from Bucharest to Slatina and finally to Cosia where they held an eight-day camp for a group of disadvantaged Roma children - girls from a range of backgrounds aged eight to 16, who spoke little English. Rosie said: “Our aim was to give these girls an experience that they would never forget, to allow them to have a break from their stressful lives and to just be children.”
Activities based around girl guiding, including a range of craft activities, sporting challenges and sing songs, gave the youngsters a taste of fun and freedom that Rosie says was a joy to behold.
“From our fundraising back in England we also managed to take the girls out for several day trips in the area.
“It was fantastic to see the smiles on the girls’ faces when we simply took them to a zoo or museum or monastery, but to top it all off we took all the girls swimming for the very first time! Something we take for granted made these children so happy.
“It was heart warming.”
Rosie, a former St Richard’s pupil, said both herself and others on the trip formed a close bond with the girls throughout the camp, adding: “They taught us Romanian and learnt a lot of English themselves, they became more and more confident as the days went on and when the final day came it was very hard to say goodbye.
“In true girl guiding tradition we ended with a campfire, treating the girls to lots of marshmallows and silly camp songs.”