Providing aid to the poor and vulnerable
Blythswood’s BASIS aid project helps those who are experiencing dire poverty; they are the most vulnerable and isolated within their communities.
Together with the local authorities and social services, the BASIS aid project provides families in crisis with ways in which to ease the pain and burden of their everyday lives.
This humanitarian aid project delivers food packages and clothes whilst also offering counselling and advice.
Help us to transform lives
Rural poverty continues to be a harsh reality for people in Romania, even for those like Agi who manage to maintain a brave face. Her husband is incapacitated by Parkinson’s disease and her son suffers from schizophrenia, making her a full-time carer who must also balance the family budget of 500 euros per month.
It’s not a lot for three adults. Household expenses such as firewood for their two-roomed home, and medical costs take most of their financial assistance from the state as Agi, too, is in poor health and has sometimes been hospitalised for as long as two weeks.
“Since 2020 we have been helping this family with a monthly food package,” says Agnes Csiszer who volunteers for the Basis project, Blythswood’s project to help low income families in and around Cluj. “I meet her at the station when she comes by train with her son from the village where they live, 35 kilometres away. We always take time to talk and I try to help her by listening to her and advising her.
“The monthly gift of basic food items such as oil, flour and rice is a big help to them. As long as they are unable to move out of their current situation, I think they will continue to need Blythswood’s support.”
When Faramita, now 50, borrowed money to build a new house he thought he was doing his best for his family. But the onset of a muscle wasting disease left the stone mason unable to continue working in the building trade.
Now the bank deducts repayment from his disability pension making the household budget very tight indeed.
The extended family of parents, children and grandchildren consists of eight adults and four children. One member of the family travels 35km into Cluj for a low-paid job. Others obtain casual work locally.
The household’s income from pension and benefits equates to less than £460 per month.
“Faramita’s wife approached us by phone earlier this year to see if we could help,” says Agnes Csiszer who volunteers for Blythswood’s Basis project in Romania’s second city.
“They had been cutting back on food so that they could pay for fuel, medicine and the children’s schooling.
“During the two-month lockdown we helped them by bank transfer but now we are providing food again, with the help of a volunteer in their area. They are very thankful for our assistance.”
A monthly food parcel from Blythswood’s Basis Project is a lifesaver for Liana as she struggles to provide for her two children.
The family of three struggle to make ends meet as Liana works in a low-waged cleaning job but faces constant rent increases in Cluj, Romania’s second city.
“We are witnessing a widening gap between rich and poor,” says Basis worker Agnes Csiszer. “The ever-increasing cost of housing has become a real problem for people on low pay.
“Working on the minimum wage, a full-time employee earns the equivalent of about £400 per month but takes home only £245 after tax and deductions, while a basic studio flat commands rent of £200”.
Liana’s own childhood experience of being rejected by her mother and brought up by grandparents has left her fiercely protective of her own two children.She is divorced from their father, who makes no contribution for their maintenance.
“In this picture, Liana appears to have her eyes closed but really she is trying to hide her tears,” Agnes says. “She really appreciates Blythswood’s provision of food and clothes.”
The Basis Project provides basic foods such as rice, oil and flour to 30 low-income families in and around the city of more than 300,000 people.
The Basis Aid Project in Cluj, Romania, have helped a woman with disability remain in her tiny flat. The monthly food parcel received by Agnes (64) enables her to balance her budget and get by on her total income of £43 per week. This allowance from the Romanian welfare system is also supposed to enable a disabled person to pay for assistance at home.
Agnes has experienced a lifetime of social isolation. She was nine months old before her parents noticed that something was wrong. She lacked strength and control in her lower limbs and underwent a series of unsuccessful operations throughout her childhood. Confined to home, she was beaten by her father and by a visiting teacher. Her confidence was further undermined by her mother’s shame at having a disabled child, and her refusal to take her out.
“Given such a difficult start in life, Agnes is an amazingly warm, caring and kind person,” says Agnes Csiszer who has got to know her well over the past three months. “She is popular with her neighbours and used to look after a neighbour’s child after school. And when she heard I had a sore back, she phoned me up to ask me how I was.”
For someone like Agnes, social contact is as important as the rice, oil and flour provided by Basis. Agnes Csiszer has arranged to get her a walking frame with wheels. “When she was a child, disability was accompanied by feelings of shame and so even now she refuses to sit in a wheelchair,” the Basis care worker explains. “Her friends promised to take her to the Botanical Garden and with the walking frame she will be able to go.”
Showcasing some of the work we do
Over 70,000 people in Highland have been fed through our foodbanks. Everyday people are struggling to put food on the table.
Blythswood Care provides food, care and support to people in crisis.
Shoe Box Appeal
Receiving the gift of a small box packed with presents brings such joy; we thank you for the 88,816 shoeboxes you so generously donated in 2022.
With many of the recipients living in dire poverty, this gift, not only brings a smile, but hugely impacts on their lives.
When schools close at midday, many young children have to fend for themselves. We provide a six-hour programme for children from some of the poorest households in Romania.
The children receive clothing and a weekly shower as well as nourishing meals.
Since 1993 the foundation has worked to help those with drug, alcohol and other addictions.
Bonus Pastor offers long term therapy through treatment and assistance in the form of programs, camps, counselling and specialist training.