I am a worker turned into a donor. I don’t make huge donations, but I want to know that my donation counts, that my money really helps.
I donate for education and community development programs, but only where I know people put a lot of passion in what they do. I have always been connected to these topics. I worked in these domains, I knew the people and their causes and, since I couldn’t be there anymore, I tried to help financially. I always donate with trust. If I were asked more often, I would probably give more; I don’t think I could refuse.
PACT Foundation is an organization that is very close to my heart; I am a founding member and I often think I don’t do enough. I believe that every single cent I give is well used. This gives me confidence that it’s an organization I will always support. I’ll probably retire donating for PACT.
I first learned about community development when I was in the last year of college. I worked as an economist for a factory in Bucharest and I saw an ad in a newspaper about a foundation which trained and hired community facilitators. The ad said that the facilitators would work in Alba, Botoșani and Tulcea. When I saw Alba, I said: “This is it!”. It was connected to my childhood. I grew up in Sebeș with my maternal grandparents and I felt like I belonged there. I stayed there from the day I was born until I started school, and it was a joyful time for me. I had always thought that after I graduated college I would find a job in Sebeș.
At the interview, I remember that they asked me what I thought a community facilitator should do. My eyes widened and I said that I didn’t know, I supposed I would learn there what I had to do. All I wanted was to help people. Anything I was supposed to do, I wanted to help them. That was the time when I learned what community facilitation meant.
I liked the sensation I had when I was in contact with people from the countryside. I think I also liked the innocence of the rural environment from 15 years ago which met my innocence from the time when I thought I could move mountains. And the self-esteem I used to have in the process that I handled-that of giving power to people. There is a difference between town people and those from the countryside, the authentic countryman, who knows his values and his ground, but is helpless, doesn’t believe he can change anything. We have to believe that we deserve a better life, a life which is worth fighting for. We can’t give up so easily, thinking that we were born poor and we will die in the same conditions.
A few years ago, I had the opportunity to emigrate. I received a scholarship for community development and I could have stayed in Canada. I didn’t make this step for several reasons. Back then, I asked myself: why would I go to make community development for people I don’t know, when I had so much to do at home, in Romania?
My first donation was at an auction for a fundraising event. I was involved both as a donor and an organizer. My mother was a teacher at a primary school in an isolated hamlet in Alba. There were only seven children there and the school was actually a local man’s house. To get to the hamlet, you had to walk an hour and a half from where the bus dropped you. I transformed the people’s isolation and persistence to have their own school into an “exotic” holiday package in Romania, which was auctioned in that fundraising event. It was successful, and this is how my donor story began.
I also did fundraising. I didn’t feel embarrassed to ask for money. You know from the beginning that there are two options-the man in front of you likes the idea and agrees to contribute to it or he doesn’t resonate with the cause you present him. Every cause is important for somebody and it’s good to be like this. I don’t believe there are people who aren’t moved by anything, everybody has a weakness, but maybe it’s not the one you believe in. I honestly think people are kind.
When the organizations I support have campaigns, I try to tell others what’s happening and bring one friend. I think that other people would be happy to contribute. My mother also started to donate with the direct debit program, 15 lei each month. Recently, she told me that my father wants to donate as well. This has become contagious.