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St Patrick’s Grammar boys embark on annual aid mission to Romania’s needy

Thursday, 16 February 2017

St Patrick’s Grammar boys embark on annual aid mission to Romania’s needy thumbnailYear 13 students and staff spent one week distributing aid and visiting orphanages in Brasov, Romania

A GROUP of staff and students from St Patrick's Grammar School in Armagh, have been in Romania on the annual trip to the orphanages, hospitals, schools and other centres in Brasov.

The students - who left on Saturday, February 4 - undertake the distribution of food and clothes in several very poor villages.

This year, the group's priority, is to assist in the process of starting the rebuilding of the girls' accommodation block in Bradet Special Needs Orphanage, which was completely destroyed in a fire last month when 24 teenage girls lost everything.

Students from St Patrick's travelled with students from Cookstown High School, on the week-long trip that brought much-needed aid to many orphans.

Work has been underway to raise funds for the trip since before Christmas, with many events having been organised by the students and parents.

The trip is being organised under the auspices of School Aid Romania, a charitable, cross-community organisation with two main aims: to bring together sixth form students in Northern Ireland in a non-sectarian context and to relieve poverty and deprivation among children in Romania.

The two groups of students have met on several occasions to get acquainted, to organise fundraising for the purchase of medical supplies, food and other aid, to share good practice and to plan what would be another busy schedule for staff and students upon arrival in the orphanages.

The groups met again recently to finalise arrangements for the trip.

Students at St Patrick's exceeded their fundraising target and knew that this valuable aid would reach those most in need because they themselves would be overseeing its distribution.

Every afternoon the students had been shopping for the aid required for the following day and then sorting and packing it ready for distribution.

Mr Dominic Clarke, Principal of St Patrick's, praised staff and students on this "very worthwhile venture".

He said: "Every year students comment that the experiences gained in Romania have a very profound effect on them.

"They return from Romania with their characters enhanced and with good memories, having forged lasting friendships with students from other schools whom they meet there."

Each evening the students meet in small groups and reflect on the day's events. At these meetings the students decide how the aid money will be spent. They also sort the aid that they have carried out with them. The days are long and busy.

The students were accompanied by Mr Gerard Devine, Miss Carina Oliver, Miss Cliodhna McDaid and Mr Jim McQuaid. These staff members, along with the SAR team of 2017, wish to thank their families, friends, local businesses, local knitting groups, sports clubs, parishes and schools for again supporting them with their fundraising.

Without the help of the local community they would not have been able to undertake this worthwhile trip to Romania.

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