Hannah Bates, a 2015 graduate of Vale High School now studying at Southern Utah University, will travel to Romania this summer to help children.
Bates, who is studying to become a pediatric occupational therapist, is heading to a special needs orphanage or hospital to both benefit her education and provide some assistance to kids who need help.
“My roommate here in college has a couple friends that did this,” said Bates. “We talked about it and both decided to do it this summer.”
Romania is still dealing with the legacy of the despotic ruler Nicolae Ceaucescu, who mandated each family have at least five children to boost the country’s sagging population and create a caste of workers. However, many of these families could ill afford five children and orphanages were set up as the answer. After the regime change in 1989, the world learned about the plight of these children packed into these facilities, operating without adequate supplies and care.
The plight continues today, Bates said.
“The orphanages were set up quickly and are overcrowded,” Bates said. “They really need help and there are a lot of kids with special needs sitting in the orphanages.”
Bates said a number of orphanages have been set up to deal just with special-needs children.
To pay for the trip and the time there, Bates has set up a GoFundMe account. The link is gofundme.com/bpn8u9uc.