Emotional Madi Richardson takes trip to homeland in Romania
AFTER years of resisting a return to the country where she was born, Madi Richardson has finally made the trip she had dreaded for so long.
But rather than regretting her decision to visit Romania, Madi found it a “great experience” and it has given her plenty to think about.
Madi, now aged 21, arrived in Bolton aged five for vital surgery on her arm.
A long legal battle followed but Madi was eventually adopted by Kath and Dave Richardson, who run the Good News for Romania Charity, and she had never wanted to go back – until now.
Madi grew up in a Romanian orphanage and did not speak a word of English before going to live with the Richardsons in Wythburn Avenue, Smith-ills.
Her life changed beyond all recognition when she came to this country and her parents have continued to help impoverished families back in Romania.
The Richardsons’ charity has funded a holiday camp for disadvantaged Roman-ian children for a number of years — as well as supporting extremely poor families and their children — and this year Kath, Dave and Madi decided to go along to help.
It was a big decision for Madi and one she did not take lightly.
“I didn’t know what to expect and was quite nervous going back.
“But I really enjoyed the experience and it has left me realising just how spoiled many young people are here in this country. The young people I met were grateful to have a roof over their head and food on the table. They didn’t ask for much,” said Madi.
The group was forced to leave their first campsite — which had basic facilities — when the owner took exception to the children.
“They hadn’t done anything wrong at all but she clearly did not approve of us being there with disadvantaged children, although this had been explained to her before we arrived,” said 63-year-old Kath.
So the group packed up and headed for an area of public land where they set up camp.
“It didn’t have any facilities but the children loved it,” said Kath.
She said the children never complained and were grateful for everything provided for them, including board games and food cooked over an open fire.
Dave, who celebrated his 65th birthday while at the camp, Kath and Madi helped organise plenty of fun and games for the children who were grateful for a break from their daily lives.
Children attending the camp — co-ordinated by Romanian Claudiu Rosca and his family — are from disadvantaged families.
Romica, aged 13, gets up at 3am so he can plough the family’s field before heading for school, and 14-year-old Oana had to build a cow shed, from straw and mud, before she could leave for camp.
Kath explained: “They are so happy to be away from the problems they have in their daily lives.
“It is a time to be children which is something they miss at home.”
On their return to Bolton Kath and Dave set about raising enough money to buy Romica a young horse.
“He said he would love to have a younger horse than the old one he has so he can make money ploughing other families’ fields for them,” said Kath.
Madi, who is studying graphic design at the University of Bolton, said her Romanian experience had made her determined to do more to help the families in Romania. She said: “They are just so grateful for what they have.
“It is amazing to see at first hand and I will definitely be going back.
“I am very grateful for everything I have and going to Romania has made me even more appreciative.”
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