"Throughout its existence, Second Chance has succeeded in developing simple, concrete projects to help the needy people of the Berceni community. The way in which the project has been addressed by the nonprofit and the many sources of support, in kind and in cash, which accompany it, make it more than technically and financially viable."
The nonprofit Second Chance Romania is the product of the joint ambition of an American expatriate, Sara Blattler, and a Romanian, Cosmina Pandele, in autumn of 2002. They inaugurated their commitment by organizing a Christmas fête and offering gifts and meals to the destitute families of the community of Berceni, Cosmina's very poor home village (6 000 inhabitants, most of them living on less than 100 euros per month). Since then, Second Chance Romania has developed a variety of projects, aimed at fostering positive change in the community and improving the everyday life of the inhabitants. Enjoying solid experience of ten years, the nonprofit has built playgrounds, IT rooms and toilets in the schools. It has supplied educational materials to the schools, food and clothing to vulnerable persons, and equipment and medicines to the doctors. It has created the Berceni Sports Club, two intergenerational centers and a summer school which provides free courses in English and computer science to about 150 children.
Education, culture, arts and crafts and conviviality
Today, Second Chance Romania has decided to build a community center meeting High Environmental Quality criteria and comprising:
- common areas (430 square m) spread on two levels and devoted to educational activities (IT, language and hygiene classrooms for young and old), cultural activities (library, internet room), workforce development (production of crafts products on behalf of the nonprofit) and convivial operations (soup kitchen, restaurant, intergenerational activities room);
- a multisports room (510 square m) with offices, dressing rooms and restrooms;
- a multisports field (300 square m) for the 8/20 age group and a playground for the 2/7 age cohort. The aim is to provide a training area for the young sportsmen and members of the badminton club (participating in the Romanian championship).
The activities are creating 6 part-time jobs (3 teachers, 1 librarian, 1 sports coach and 1 maintenance employee).
The construction of the buildings, supplied with renewable energies (geothermal heating system, biogas production for domestic use), stretches from May 2012 (granting of the building permit) to December 2013 (completion). The project has received support from many foundations (Velux, Décathlon, Romanian Family) and the US Embassy, plus the Veolia Foundation, which is specifically financing the energy installations.