28 May 2014

After a strategic hiatus for three years, the famous Halloween Charity Ball at Palatul Parlamentului will happen again this year on 25 October. Leslie Hawke, co-founder of OvidiuRo says that it’s time to celebrate how far the country has come in its awareness and concern about the under-education of poor children, and the resulting lost human potential, especially in the rural half of Romania.

“This is OvidiuRo’s 10th anniversary and we feel we are close to reaching a national strategy for early education” says Maria Gheorghiu, co-founder of the organisation. Leslie Hawke, her partner, explains: “When we started working on the problem we saw in Bacau – kids out of school, they couldn’t even get back in if they wanted to. We started there one of the first “Second Chance” programs in the country and in 2004, we started OvdiuRo and expanded our programs to Bucharest”.

OvidiuRo now concentrates on preschool education. This is a result of the experience in the field, combined with overwhelming research evidence that poor children who don’t have access to quality early education never manage to close the knowledge gap that already exists between them and other kids on the first day of school. “No wonder they drop out or fail to pass the national assessments, if they do get as far as the eight grade!” says Hawke.

OvidiuRo’s program Fiecare Copil in Gradinita has been shown to increase gradinita (kindergarten) attendance rates of poor children from under 40% to over 80%, using monthly 12 EUR food coupons as stimulants for families living in extreme poverty. Currently, 1500 children in 25 communities are regularly attending preschool through the program.

The Halloween Charity Ball has established itself as Romania’s premiere fundraising event due to a confluence of attributes:
1. Glorious mixture of people from different parts of society;
2. The fact that at least 90% of the ticket price goes to the program, not to the event itself;
3. Involvement of Hollywood and Romania’s A-list celebrities;
4. The Costume theme that gives participants a chance to dress as creatively as they dare. This year’s costume theme is “The Magic of the Movies.”
Sponsorship packages for the Ball are based on the cost of supporting a child in gradinta for a year, which costs approximately €340 per child. Thus, the cost of a “table” starts with supporting 10 children. See more on www.ovid.ro

“Thanks to ProTV, Athénée Palace Hilton, Stage Expert and The Chamber of Deputies, we are able to throw a truly great party without the party itself soaking up most of the money.Companies already “in” for this year’s Halloween Ball include the “Born In Romania” companies Pro TV, Dedeman, and Stoica & Asociatii, as well as the multinationals Carrefour, Cargill, Raiffeisen Bank and UPC.

Media contact: Oana Livadariu – tel. 0722 715 843 – oana.livadariu@ovid.ro