BUCHAREST – After landing in Bucharest, our Inter Campus delegation headed straight to Tulcea, a remote region in the east of Romania where the economy is based largely on agriculture.

After traversing half of Europe, the River Danube spills out into the Black Sea, marking the border between Romania and Ukraine. Around the delta, in the areas of Macin and Tourcoaia, the phenomenon of so-called “white orphans” – children abandoned by parents forced to move elsewhere in Europe in search of work – is particularly common. Many of them were among the youngsters taking part in our Inter Campus sessions, led by local instructors Titi and Mihai with the help of our own coaches Andrea and Davide.

Together with the insatiable Lidia Dobre, the president of the Inima Pentru Inima Foundation, we then made our way to Ramnicu Valcea, where we were met by around 100 boys and girls from children’s shelters. Working with local coaches Alin and Andrey, we laid on a series of practical demonstrations, first on the small field at the school in Vladesti and then on a synthetic pitch built in the Ocnele Mari salt mines, around 200 metres below sea level.

Our visit then continued to Slatina, an industrial town situated to the north-west of the capital. Here, alongside our local partner the Comunità Nuova Foundation, we are working with around 100 children from the suburbs. Many of them are of Romani ethnicity, but are well integrated with the Romanian children on the field of play. Local instructors Mircea and Florin are professional in their training style, with follows the Inter Campus technical methodology and educational principles.

During the visit, the team was bolstered with a new assistant coach, Jardel, who not so long ago was one of the Romani children taking part in the project. He had been helping out the two coaches on a voluntary basis for some time – watching them work, dreaming of becoming a coach himself.

Our second visit of the season concluded in the Romanian capital, where Inter Campus and the Parada Association are working together to help around 40 boys and girls between the ages of six and 13 who live in orphanages or day centres in Bucharest. Catalin and Catalin are the two local coaches, while Marian – another Romani youngster – helps out, much like Jardel in Slatina. Inter Campus offers them the chance to broaden their horizon on the pitch, by giving them the opportunity to act as assistant coaches.