No More Victims – One More Happy Ending
According to Oana Scarlatescu, severe social, interethnic, and economic conflicts have influenced Romania’s transition from communism to democracy. Though the violent conflicts of the 90s have subsided, “Romania fails to deal with stringent social and ethnic issues, such as the Roma situation,” she says, noting similar problems throughout the region. Like many among her generation, Oana straps on the yoke of social responsibility in order to resolve the debilitating conflicts that block progress.
In her second year at the University of Bucharest, Oana is majoring in communication and public relations and plans to pursue graduate studies in intercultural communication and public diplomacy. Looking to young people to be the agent of change within the long-held cultural biases of the older generation, Oana supplements her academic life by volunteering, actively participating in the Civicus Youth Assembly’s International Youth Steering Group, and attending international events such as the European Youth Congress (EYC) in Vienna and the Dreaming Europe Congress in Luxembourg. She has also served as an intern with the Romanian Audio-Visual Council, where she helped implement mass media events and completed a study on the 2004 European Parliament elections in the new EU member states. Working with a PR agency, Oana won a competition in a crisis communication seminar.
It was at the youth conference in Austria that an idea came to her of how she could help in a small way to address a serious issue in Bucharest—that of domestic violence, particularly among its young survivors. With her five years of experience as a volunteer, she developed on her own a weekly program involving nine children, providing them with activities that involved creative writing and art therapy. She solicited donations and other funding for the program, formed a support network of scholars, NGOs, and former EYC delegates, and presented the package to a corporate NGO, the Sensiblu Foundation which operates a counseling center called Casa Blu. The coordinator, a clinical psychologist, became Oana’s mentor and co-manager in operating the program, naming Oana its overall project manager. Oana calls her project No More Victims – One More Happy Ending. The group sessions aim to instill a sense of empowerment in its young participants, enhance social skills and a sense of balance, build self-confidence, and always promote tolerance.
This project has taught Oana the value of creating achievable goals, acquiring resources, a support network, coordination of efforts, and ongoing motivation—which she promotes by encouraging initiative, and, most importantly, by expressing her gratitude. A hoped for career in public diplomacy seems well on its way.
Update: Right after HSI, Oana became an intern for Media Consulta International Holding in Brussels, Belgium, where she contributed to the overall management of an education and culture account and helped organize major events. She served two more internships, one with an association affiliated with the University of Gent in Belgium, organizing an international module on pediatric rehabilitation, and another back in Bucharest with the Political Section of the Home Affairs Bureau in the British Embassy’s Foreign and Commonwealth Office. The latter led to a position as project and office coordinator at the embassy.