The Rotary Clubs of Whistler and New Westminster have been collecting winter clothing, skis and snowboards for impoverished orphans in the Romanian mountain resort town of Sinaia.
Like Whistler, Sinaia is a town of about 10,000 people with ski summits at 2,500 metres. It is about 120 kilometres north of the capital city of Bucharest.
But after 40 years of communist rule under the dictatorship of Ivan Ceusceau, much of the country is impoverished.
A livable salary in the town of Busteni is around $200 Cdn per month.
Dr. Mike Kaburta, a long-time Whistler skier and member of the New Westminster Rotary Club, came up with the idea for the Orphans Project after seeing the conditions of the area orphanages first hand.
There are several orphanages within a short radius of Sinaia where the children, who are between seven and 17, are the outcasts of society.
Over the past nine months the Rotary Clubs here have raised about 2,800 items for orphaned Romanian kids with a goal to expose them to the joys and exhilaration that comes with skiing and snowboarding in their alpine backyards.
The donations from Whistler were shipped off on Sept. 17 and will get to the children in early December.
The ultimate goal is to establish a global sustainable project involving Whistler-Blackcomb, the RMOW, the Whistler Rotary Club and the Rotary Club of Busteni-Valea Prahoveni with the orphanages in the Sinaia region.
In order to keep the Orphans Project alive there must be enough interest in Whistler to provide the funding, teaching skills and equipment for the orphans to ultimately get work on their local mountains and within the hospitality sector.
The Rotary Club of Whistler is an active member of the Rotary World Help Network (RWHN). This is a non-profit registered charitable organization that coordinates the shipment of educational, humanitarian and medical supplies to communities and countries in need.
Septembers shipment is just the first step to helping orphans in Romania.