Maria Simona Spanache and Norbert Nolte – Book donation in Grivița, Galați

We started our week far from Bucharest, on what might have been the last sunny day this year. The landscapes were stunning and we traveled with Dacia Sandero, a car provided by our partners. This day with coppery leaves made our November unforgettable and gave us sweet memories. Ms. Maria Simona Spanache and Mr. Norbert Nolte shared with us the fact that they really wish the kids from Grivița, Galați were a part of the national reading program ‘Childhood Classics’. With their support we went there to give the kids books and also give them tips and tricks on how they can read in a way that activates their imagination.

Unfortunately, the village doesn’t have a heated cultural center where we could all have met or where the kids can enjoy cultural events dedicated to them. So the little ones were only able to fit in a warm classroom, nicely personalized with their drawings.

Valentina Popa, actress with ‘Teatrul Mic’ in Bucharest, joined us there. She told the kids about Ulysses’ adventures, read and recreated with them part of his trips in ‘The Odyssey’. Some kids even bragged about how they can read all 200 pages of ‘The Three Musketeers’ in only one day, others told us that they can only read capital letters and that at home they mostly have colouring books. From the school teachers we found out that many of the parents don’t necessary encourage reading, they don’t even read together with their kids. We figured this aspect ourselves when a girl – not a very young one – was very enthusiastic and wanted to read us a fragment. With accuracy and confidence she read carefully all the words on the page, but in a very segmented way, without connecting the sentences. We asked her to tell us the main idea of what she read but she dodged the answer, sign that she read the text mechanically. These are the first signs that lead to functional illiteracy, when kids read a text but don’t actually understand what they’ve read, because grown-ups around weren’t there to show them how to read and how to ask questions. These are signs that show the fact that a kid perceives reading as an obligation from those around him who ask if he has finished the book and not what he understood after reading it.

Some parts of the event were recorded by our friends from Digi24, who are now working on a broader material on the topic of access to books in our country, especially in undepriviliged areas. Here you can find the first part of this material, in which Ms. Iren Arsene Mate, president and founder of The Curtea Veche Association, tells about the situation in the Romanian villages.

We left Grivița with autumn flowers in our hands, the kids smiles in our hearts and we are glad that now, the kids who only had colouring books at home, now have new and illustrated books that they can read in silence. This event was possible thanks to Ms. Simona Spanche and Mr. Norbert Nolte, to which the Principal, Ms. Constandache Loredana sent a message: “We wish to thank you for your generosity and we are glad to have been selected for this donation, especially because we are a school with poor kids who have a lot of love for books. It was an amazing event for them, and it made them very happy.”

You can find more images of the event here.

LOREDANA, charity concert in New York on behalf of Romanian children’s education

Friday, 13th May, starting at 7 p.m., LOREDANA will perform a charity concert in New York on behalf of The Curtea Veche Association. All the funds will be redirected to the projects that are fighting against illiteracy among children from the Romanian villages that don’t have access to a proper education.

The event is organized by MARA Society with the support of the Romanian Cultural Institute from New York and is held at Webster Hall – The Marlin Room, one of the most exclusive live music venues from the most populated city of the United States.

The appreciated Romanian artist will delight the audience (adults and accompanied children) with songs like “O fată singură în noapte”, “Trandafir de la Moldova”, “Mărioară de la Gorj”, “Extravaganza”, “Zig Zagga”, “Apa”, reinterpretations from Maria Tănase’s musical repertoire and many other tracks, both in Romanian and English. The tickets can be bought online following the link:

The worrying statistics regarding poor results in the Romanian educational system, the high school dropout rate and low access to books adequate for children’s age from the rural areas that bring out illiteracy as well as the difficulties in understanding the texts are only a few of the aspects for which LOREDANA has decided to join this project.

‹‹ My mother was a teacher and, in our house, books and school have always been cherished. My father is a prolific children’s books author and we always had volumes close at hand. When my daughter, Elena, was born, we continued to instill a love of reading by reading to her bedtime stories. I believe in the power of books and if, through my work, I can help bring as many volumes as possible to children whose lives may be radically changed after having access to a proper education then I will do the best I can and I’m asking you to also join this cause! My performance, “Imaginarium”, is about creating the craziest and wildest dreams and about finding the ways to make them a reality. ››

All the funds raised from this event will be directed to The Curtea Veche Association for the development of the “Classics Retold” national reading program which includes, together with book donations and interactive reading clubs in disadvantaged areas, also visits in schools, trainings with parents or teachers, and reading workshops in libraries.

LOREDANA is a trendsetter in the Romanian entertainment industry – from the most spectacular shows to TV series, feature films or books. She is one of the juries from the most successful talent show in Romania “The Voice of Romania” and the founder of an alternative music school – “Atelierul de voce și muzică”  that follows the development and encouragement of children’s talents both vocal abilities or instrumental interpretation.

The organizer of this unique event in New York is MARA Society, a nonprofit organization founded in 2010, by four Romanian friends, with the purpose of promoting Romanian culture and supporting various charitable organizations that have a real impact in their work for the society. By organizing cultural events together with prestigious artists (pianists, violinists, film directors, ballerinas etc.), the funds that are raised are directly distributed afterwards to charitable organizations from Romania. Over time, MARA Society sponsored children from disadvantaged backgrounds to go to kinder gardens and schools (in collaboration with OvidiuRom), they contributed to the completion of Bucharest’s palliative care hospital for patients with incurable diseases (in collaboration with HOSPICE Casa Speranței), they granted a scholarship for training highly talented theater and film students and raised funds for supporting the Romanian National Ballet. Mara Society has decided to support The Curtea Veche Association’s educational cause by organizing this extraordinary event in New York with the most beloved ambassador of Romanian music: LOREDANA.