Our networking with other organisations in the areas we operate continues with two main focuses.

The first is to provide guidance for volunteers who have decided to continue working with other organisations after their summer experience. The second is the cultivation of targeted partnerships. These stem from the willingness of BiR volunteers to share  with other organisations the experience and skills they have gained from working in intercultural environments over the years. An example of this is the initiative of the “SOS Syria” group, an experience demonstrating our attention to what is currently happening in the areas where BiR operates. This project was the inspired of about 15 volunteers involved in hospitality and recreation for Syrian asylum seekers – adults and children – who arrived in Milan in the autumn of 2013 to escape civil war in their country. The project continues to support organisations involved in first-response reception centres.

VOLUNTARY WORK ABROAD – Romania and Moldova

Since 1999, Bambini in Romania has organised international voluntary summer camps in institutes and communities in Romania and the Republic of Moldova. Two weeks of entertainment and recreation for children and young people aged between 3 and 20, with the assistance of local volunteers. This international voluntary project is organised around three different periods from late June to mid-August.

“Even when times are hardest, I can get up and remember who I am, who we are.
We are the ones who go back with an awful plastic bracelet on our wrists.
The ones who never get used to saying goodbye.
The ones who never really go back. “



BiR proposed an EVS project for 2015/16 involving 11 months of service in the city of Râmnicu Vâlcea on the projects the association co-runs with the Inima Pentru Inima Foundation.

3 volunteers will take part in the second year of the project. Their work will involve:

  • entertainment, sports activities, recreational workshops, music, computers skills, etc.;
  • helping children in their daily activities;
  • organising trips to parks, the library, entertainment;
  • organising promotional events to raise awareness among young Romanians on the fundamental importance of their direct involvement in the building of a more inclusive and cohesive local and European community and to inform them about the opportunities offered by the YiA programme;
  • helping to organise summer camps.


EVS project in Bucharest consists in six months of service with the projects carried out in collaboration with the Association Carusel (within the structures of the Romanian partners or in hospital of the territory with which collaborates Carusel) consiste in 6 mesi di servizio presso i progetti portati avanti in collaborazione con l’associazione Carusel, alongside local staff) 


Over the last four years, BiR has been involved in projects beyond the eastern border of Romania. As well as being the poorest country in Europe, in recent years the Republic of Moldova has undergone massive emigration. It is estimated that between 25 and 30% of the population has emigrated eastwards or westwards. The first consequence of this has been the noticeable reduction in adults and, hence, in the number of parents and workers, in many parts of the country, but particularly in rural areas. Our local partners – Social Mission Diaconia and the Christian Philanthropy Association – are working in several areas of the country on a variety of support initiatives for the most vulnerable members of the population and to encourage the redevelopment of communities and their resources. Our work with colleagues in the Republic of Moldova has two main areas of focus. On the one hand, it is to promote international engagement and partnerships with local volunteers to organise week-long leisure and play initiatives for children and young people in rural areas. On the other hand it is to provide financial support to support prevention and social promotion projects.


THE WAGON This is a volunteer centre set up in 2008 in Orhei, on the initiative of the “Sfântul Vasile de la Poiana M?rului” Orthodox Parish in collaboration with Social Mission Diaconia and now supported

independently by a local association founded in 2013 called Christian Philanthropy. Numerous projects took place between December 2013 and December 2014:
? environmental education activities;
? workshops on education, the family, and relationships;
? creative activities and workshops;
? campaigns for children and rights;
? collection of clothes, food and games for children and families in need at Easter, Christmas and the summer holidays;
? summer camps;
? activities to promote voluntary work.

The work to recruit young volunteers also intensified in 2014. Young men and women were involved in several awareness and training initiatives in their local communities and were given constant guidance to motivate them. Now a tradition, the Volunteer of the Month award generates the right amount of enthusiasm for working alongside others and contributing to the community. In 2014, the fourth edition of “Field of friendship” took place in Orhei. This summer event is planned and organised in collaboration with BiR volunteers and has two main objectives: to present a week of activities for disadvantaged children and youngsters and to train and mentor local volunteers.



BiR is involved in  three residential facilities for children and young people aged between 3 and 21, where it provides educational and psychological support and academic and career guidance services. All facilities are co-funded and run by the Inima Pentru Inima Foundation.

The “Houses of Smiles” are located in the Vâlcea district.


1)        CASA RAFFAELLA, GORANU Casa Raffaella is a residential facility located in the Goranu district of Râmnicu Vâlcea. It houses boys and girls aged between 6 and 14 from institutes for children who have been abandoned or are separated from their families as a result of youth court rulings or special decisions of the Commission for the Protection of Minors. A multidisciplinary team of youth support workers, social workers and psychologists provides the conditions for their protection and serenity. They are also involved in their individual growth paths and, where possible, facilitate their reintegration into their families. The Casa Raffaella project was started in 2014 thanks to the contribution of the Waldensian Church’s Tavola Valdese www.ottopermillevaldese.org


2)       SOCIAL HOUSING BiR works with the Social and Professional Inclusion Service of Râmnicu Vâlcea, providing support for young people from low or no income families in further and higher education. The project has a residential component (social housing) and an external component (support during further/higher education). Young people aged between 14 and 21  stay in apartments with a youth worker, a social worker and a psychologist. The same scheme also gives support to female university students residing in student accommodation in Bucharest and Bra?ov. The programme covers all costs for accommodation, meals, study materials and medical care, as well as ensuring regular meetings with the support staff. The team from the Inima Pentru Inima Foundation also works closely with other specialists at local institutions and organisations, beginning with schools, to strengthen the support networks of the young people involved in the various initiatives.


3)       COPACELU HOUSE The Copacelu Centre for Socialization and Family Reintegration is a family-style residential facility for children aged between 2 and 10 who have been removed from their families as a result of youth court rulings or special decisions of the District Commission for the Protection of Minors.


In 2013, BiR continued its collaborative support work with the DGASPC Mehedin?i agency, with several significant changes from previous years. First, we were able to stop funding the child abandonment prevention programme in the maternity ward of Turnu Severin hospital. The positive outcome of this scheme co-funded by BiR in recent years was the hiring of two psychologists to provide support to new mothers to prevent child abandonment. Second, thanks to the contributions of our founding partner Guido Artom, we were donated an off-road car. The vehicle was requested by management to be able to get to the difficult-to-reach hilly areas of the district during the winter months. Third, project management staff placed more emphasis on the autonomy and empowerment of families in need, the reinforcement of their skills, psychological support and social and career guidance, rather than making a financial contribution only. The number of cases supported financially thus decreased during the year to a total of 74 children and their 35 families, and 59 women who received support for family planning. Support ended for 15 minors because it was seen that they were no longer at risk of abandonment. 2,006 children and their families were supported from 2004 to 2013.

1)        DGASPC MEHEDINTI Social workers in the Mehedin?i district provide support to families living in precarious conditions that could jeopardise the well-being of the entire family and be cause for the child’s removal (monthly financial contribution, extraordinary expenses, guidance and support) . The prevention of child abandonment and social assistance services of the DGASPC have undergone significant changes over the years.First, the end of our funding for the child abandonment prevention project at the maternity ward of Turnu Severin hospital. The positive outcome of this scheme co-funded by BiR in recent years was the hiring of two psychologists to provide support to new mothers to prevent child abandonment Second, an SUV donated to the mission management to enable them to get to the difficult-to-reach hilly areas of the district during the winter months.  Finally, project management staff placed more emphasis on the autonomy and empowerment of families in need, the reinforcement of their skills, psychological support and social and career guidance, rather than making a financial contribution only.  2,177 children and their families were given support from 2004 to 2014.


2)       PREVENTION OF CHILD ABANDONMENT IN BRASOV This initiative takes place at the Bra?ov Children’s Hospital. A social worker from Inima Pentru Inima works alongside doctors, midwives and nurses to support women and families in need and prevent the abandonment of newborns. After a preliminary interview, a personalised programme is mapped out providing information and training, access to local services, pre- and post-natal counselling for individuals and groups, monitoring after the return home, material support (milk, nappies/diapers, clothes, etc.) for mothers and newborns. In 10 years of the Bra?ov Prevention Centre from 2004 to 2014, staff from the Inima Pentru Inima Foundation have been involved in a total of 1,893 cases, preventing abandonment in 80% of cases.


3)       OCNELE MARI DAY CENTRE Ocnele Mari Day Centre provides support to children aged 6 to 14, who have been de-institutionalised or are from families experiencing social and financial hardship. During the year, youngsters leaving the support programme make way for new beneficiaries. The Day Centre operates Monday to Friday from 12 to 6 pm and receives boys and girls after school, providing them with lunch and snacks, help with their homework and lots of play and creative activities. At the same time, Inima Pentru Inima works with their families, giving them support for their social and economic reintegration and their parenting skills. Group meetings are held at the Centre and home visits are also made. Ocnele Mari has a multidisciplinary team made up of the Centre coordinator, a youth worker, a social worker and a psychologist, as well a cook and a driver.


Throughout the year, whether before or after their experience at international camps, over 100 volunteers all over the country are involved in a variety of activities. More than 1000 young people are contacted through schools and other formal and informal contexts. A further 2000 learn about us through our events.

Below is a non-exhaustive overview of our areas of activity  in Italy.

1)        “BECCABIR” GROUP  The volunteer experience at “Cesare Beccaria” Institute for young offenders continued and was further developed. After a few early experiments during the Christmas and Easter holidays, our focus gradually became creating the right atmosphere for dialogue with the young people at the Institute. In 2014/15, activities continued as normal with the help of more than 10 volunteers. In addition to the usual recreational activities, they also began working alongside the Institute’s  teachers in art, writing, photography, music and theatre classes.

2)       EVENTS AND FUNDRAISING  maintaining relations with small and large donors and seeking out new sponsors are the two key aspects of the BiR financial policy. In recent years, thanks to these efforts, we have raised between 60 and 80,000 Euros. Nearly 60% of these sums are the result of ongoing relationships with companies and individual donors, while the remaining 40% or so comes from a busy calendar of initiatives organised in the Milan and Como areas to raise awareness and funds. These events range from theatre performances to informal drinks evenings, musical events, sports tournaments and prize draws at initiatives like “Fa la Cosa Giusta” and “L’Isola Che Non C’è”. One important collaboration over the years has been the organisation of the Spring Party in partnership two other voluntary organisations in Milan: Amani and Terre e Libertà, which, along with BiR are part of the AnimalTrib(e) group.

3)       TRAINING GROUP Since 2003, a group of volunteers has been involved in the planning, creation, delivery and monitoring of most of the training activities for BiR volunteers. Since 2005, the group has been trained, led and supervised by Nicola Di Pirro, who is still responsible for the BiR training unit.

4)       BIR CHE SARÀ: the future of BiRAt the start of 2013, a group of BiR volunteers and operators felt a need to encourage dialogue and exchange between those involved in the association: scattered fragments, paths that cross, numerous points of view, operational groups, individuality and diversity. Heterogeneity and dynamism are wonderful resources, but they can only be put to full use in an atmosphere of sharing and understanding. The aim of  “BiR che sarà” is to foster this atmosphere. Through it, we have rediscovered old friendships and developed new ones. The initiative has enabled us to share our dreams and turn them into concrete proposals.

5)       VOLUNTEER TRAINING Courses for new volunteers begin in May and end with a weekend in September. These courses are not technical or professional in nature and mainly focus on developing the communication skills needed to be an international volunteer, with various specific objectives:
– understanding the important role of different behaviour models in our cultural identity;
? helping individuals to rebuild their cognitive map;
? identifying the resources individuals and groups have to deal with unexpected events;
? encouraging the autonomy of individuals from their roles and their group;
? focusing on emotions and emotional development.

6)       TESTIMONIAL GROUP – TESTICOM About 20 volunteers plan and implement initiatives to promote and raise awareness on the theme of volunteering. The purpose of these initiatives is to tell young people and adults about our  ideas for active citizenship, by talking about their experiences at volunteer camps and providing information about the areas where we operate. As mentioned earlier, in 2014/15, we engaged with over 1,500 young people and adults. Three types of initiatives were conducted: talks about the activities of BiR with promotion of our summer camps; an interactive workshop on the Convention on the Rights of the Child; targeting specific issues related to diversity, social vulnerability and migration.

7)       COURSES FOR PROJECT LEADERS Training also continues for project leaders and takes place between autumn and spring. Each year training involves nearly 40 volunteers taking part in weekend residential and three afternoons work sessions. These courses are for those who have been or will be project leaders on missions in Romania and Moldova and are the point of reference for volunteers throughout the year. The following three areas area covered:
? the role and duties of project leaders in Italy, Romania and Moldova (practical information and comparison of best practices);
? detailed training on specific content (group dynamics, the institutions and economic systems in Romania/Moldova, specific aspects of projects run directly by the Association);
? self-assessment and the mandate of the project leader (the importance of self-assessment and feedback in the selection process for project leaders on missions). These themes are dealt with using the participatory design approach. No projects are designed and implemented by one person in particular, rather they are built up over time according to the pace of the different players and the methods they use. Any inconsistencies they notice become opportunities for developing growth strategies. According to Paulo Freire (Pedagogia in cammino, Mondadori, Milan 1979 | www.paulofreire.org), it is crucial to problematize the living conditions and environment of the people who are to be educated. This way training can be unhitched from someone else’s imposed goals in order to reflect the aspirations of the people concerned. So education is not only the teaching techniques of adults, but rather, is a means by which to guide people to understand their condition.

8)       QDL – QUELLI DEL LUNEDÌ (Monday People) Over 40 students and young workers in Milan and Como are open the local offices there in the evening to promote and organise the summer camps, but also to strengthen and engage the network of relationships that are the backbone of BiR.