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Oxford for Romania awarded Best Civic Initiative at the Romanian Civil Society Gala in Bucharest

On 3rd June, Oxford for Romania was awarded First Prize at the Romanian Civil Society Gala for Civic Initiatives, during a special ceremony at the Romanian Athenaeum in Bucharest. The event is the most reputable gala in the country and for the past 17 years it has been recognising outstanding organisations and individuals who change Romania for the better. We competed with 180 projects from the entire country and were humbled to be on the same stage with exceptional people who persevere to build a better society.

This recognition confirms that the programme we created together with a handful of exceptional professionals in Oxford is the way to change mentalities, to grow people and to create a ripple effect for the Romanian education.

Since 2016, we managed to build not only an eye-opening summer school experience with pro-bono lecturers, professionals and researchers, but also a genuine community of values beyond borders.

What we did so far

We are proud to share with your our latest achievements:

  • 70 summer school alumni from three cohorts who follow their dreams, develop solid projects back in Romania and create successful careers in Romania or abroad.

  • Six spin-off projects developed by alumni after the summer school, whom we mentored and supported financially so we bring the OFR spirit in local communities, where it is mostly needed.

  • A community of 50 pro-bono professionals, researchers and academics based in Oxford, but also beyond borders, in London, Glasgow, Bristol, Cambridge, Lund, Timisoara and Bucharest, who spent thousands of after-work hours in videoconferences, online meetings and agile work.

  • A first reunion of our alumni and volunteers which we organised in April at Magicamp, in Romania, another award-winning project dedicated to children with oncological problems or from disadvantaged environments. Our guests were leaders and inspirational people from civil society, business, journalism, sports and IT and our alumni were very keen to take the lead in growing the OFR community in Romania.

  • A dinner with our sponsors and volunteers in Oxford, in January, where we reconnected with each other and shared our future plans.

  • 16 companies, organisations and individuals who share our ethos and help us raise the funds to continue growing Oxford for Romania: Sir George Iacobescu CBE (CEO Canary Wharf), The Ratiu Family Charitable Foundation, Hațegan Foundation, Alina Balațchi and The Romanian Women in the UK, Anthony R Rowsell (Trustee Oxford Cloud Tutors), Raluca Ragab, Corina Mavrodin, Nadina Busuioc, Souldern Trust, Susan Blackburn Griffith, AQUA Carpatica, Autoboca, BOK Construction Ltd., Autonom, DMV Aviatech Timisoara.

  • Over 100 individual donors for last year’s crowdfunding campaign that helped us raise almost 3,000 GBP to organise the summer school.

What we plan to do

When we started, back in 2016, we never thought we would come this far. We were a few people who were at the beginning of a journey under construction. Meanwhile, we grew our team and stretched the time to reach this transition period which we need to manage intelligently.

That is why we are excited that we now have in our team a new pro-bono consultant - Aura Woodward, ex-Director of the The Prince of Wales's Foundation in Romania, whom we plan to grow sustainably.

In parallel, we work hard:

  • To select the next 24 high school students who will join us in Oxford during 24 August and 1 September. Over 10 volunteers invested more than 300 hours to select the short-listed candidates who will be interviewed this month.

  • To launch the crowdfunding campaign on Facebook to show everyone the impact of OFR and to raise more funds that will help us grow further.

  • To attract new volunteers, lecturers and mentors and connect with our growing community.

  • To build an organisational strategy of healthy growth along with our pro-bono consultants so we can consolidate a sustainable team of dedicated (and well-rested) professionals for OFR.

We invite everyone to follow us, to support us and to live along with us, what Lewis Carroll, the famous author of Alice in Wonderland, once said: “One of the secrets of life is that all that is really worth the doing is what we do for others.”

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