Sunday, February 19, 2012

Breaking The Cycle of Poverty Thru Education

Irvine Rotary Club member Alex Ureche has a passion for helping children around the world, and he's put his passion to work to make a major different in many lives. In 2003, he and his wife created a non-profit organization to help educate children in developing nations. Alex says, "Education is the key to breaking the cycle of poverty." His program teaches English and literacy skills to help underserved kids compete in today's world. His organization has projects in Mexico, USA, and a special emphasis with projects in rural areas of Romania.

It all started with a toilet, says Alex. In 2004 in a village his grandparents lived in Romania, he got stuck in Romania on a trip. First they help build a toilet, and it went onto build a computer lab in the small local school. He was hooked...In 2005, the big project, $2000 seed money from a friend led to building a school in Romania. The school was finished (total cost of $20,000) in Oct. 2005; locals were hired to help build the school, workers make so little money they were thrilled to contribute and make some money doing it; parents of the kids worked hard and also pitched in.

Additional projects in Romania include English programs for 250 kids; 2008 an English Lab was dedicated; 2009 - 12 English Labs were built, funded with matching rotary grants. The Rotary Club in Romania has sister clubs- Romanian Kids have an opportunity to join Rotaract where they can share with kids from around the world thru Rotary.

In 2009, Give A Smile: Dental Screening in Romania provided 200 kids appointments with a dentist, some had never seen a dentist before. Dentists came from Holland and Bucharest to join in the event.

Twice a year, a Shopping Spree for Kids gives them the opportunity to buy presents for others; the poor are good at giving to others.

The results of the English programs: Mentoring 25 kids from school to college, otherwise they have no opportunities at all. These kids have become the shining stars, successful kids are going to top schools.

Mobile Media Center: Last year Alex's organization gave the Romania's a Bookmobile for kids, taking the show on the road, including internet access and books they can borrow.

Upcoming projects vary including: building a rugby field, leadership camps for kids, building a community center, literacy projects, and empowering and finding work for parents.

Visit to learn more.