TERI teenager Emma Elliot-Walker is spearheading a project to help children in Romania.
The former high school pupil, who is studying history at Edinburgh University, will lead a team of 15 other students into the Eastern European country to rebuild playgrounds in three children’s homes.
And she is hoping locals here will assist her in the trip, which is taking place in April, by attending a fund-raising afternoon concert at the end of this month.
Emma said: “What we aim to do by renovating the yards is to both create a space in which the children can play and feel safe, but also a space which can be used by volunteers to help teach the kids some of the lessons which they will need in life.
“This is a drop in the ocean and I am under no illusions that it is going to solve the problems of the region or radically change the lives of these children, but it is a start.”
The 19-year-old spent a month last summer volunteering at a children’s home in Miercurea-Ciuc in the Transylvanian region of Romania – one of the poorest regions in the country. And that experience has prompted her to make a return to the area to offer more assistance.
She said: “Poverty and backwardness is something which we generally associate with places like Africa and India, I think it is very rarely something which we associate with Europe.
“I was therefore immensely surprised when I pitched up where I did, because it seemed that I had entered the land that time forgot.”
She added: “In many ways the children I worked with in the care homes were not dissimilar to their contemporaries in the village.
“These children are set apart, however, by the simple fact that they don’t have parents. They don’t have people to love them, they don’t have people to discipline them and they don’t have people to teach them the skills that they need to survive in the world. Which is where volunteers come in.
“This is a poor community in a poor country, and I was working with kids who are always going to be at the bottom of the pile. ”
The concert will be chaired by Alan Brydon and will see entertainment from locally based folk musicians as well as Emma’s traditional music band from Edinburgh.
It is being held in Denholm village hall on Sunday, January 29, from 3.30pm to 5pm. Tickets, priced £6, which includes afternoon tea, are available from Brydon’s or by calling 372962.