This is how Sam Ferdinand, Splash Projects Business and Community Coordinator, explains his experience so far with Romanian disability charity Motivation Romania.
We linked up with the charity last year when we delivered aid to refugees at the Ukrainian border. Based in 15 cities across the country, Motivation is one of the biggest charities in Romania. When someone loses their mobility, their world and the world of those around them suddenly goes dark. The beginning of life in a wheelchair is painful and people require a lot of support. Motivation provides the necessary help, through the provision of personalised wheelchairs and independent living training.
Sam, a Business and International Relations student at IE Business School in Madrid and who is learning Romanian, is on a two-month work placement with the charity helping them with their business and marketing strategies and project management. He is also getting hands on with the mechanical side, spending his first weeks repairing and reconditioning donated wheelchairs and assembling them in their warehouse in Bucharest.
Additionally, he is exploring opportunities between the charity and Splash Projects.
“There are far more challenges facing disabled people in Romania than in Western European countries,” Sam said. “The infrastructure is not very accessible for wheelchair users here, for example, at many of the metro stations in Bucharest there is no way in apart from flights of stairs, no ramps or lifts. And at government level, there doesn’t seem to be the will to develop the infrastructure to be more accessible.
“The healthcare system is OK but waiting lists are long and bribery is common.”
He added: “Everyone who comes to Motivation has a letter from their doctor with the required specifications for their wheelchair”.
“It’s incredibly enlightening working with them and we are looking forward to how Splash Projects and Motivation can work together to support the wheelchair community here.”