Winner Open Call - Helsinki Photo Festival 2023 - Nordic Village. Theme: Courage.
Haakon Sand (@_haakonsand), Norway. "Fighting to Keep Hope"
Haakon Sand sheds light on S.M.A.R.T. Romania, an acronym for “Anti-poverty, Multifunctional Services for Reintegration and Transformation”. The project aims to enhance the quality of life for at least 1,600 impoverished and marginalized individuals, providing them with access to vital social services. Within this group, 1,050 people are homeless, encompassing both adults and children.
The Salvation Army`s mobile clinic plays a crucial role in this endeavour, stationed in one of Bucharest`s slums. As the team opens the car doors, they are greeted by a cold, dark environment, permeated with the smell of fuel and waste. The factory buildings that serve as homes for many emit the intensified sound of barking dogs. Inside, the air is humid and musty, with makeshift electrical solutions posing a fire hazard.
The team, consisting of a medical doctor, two social workers, a driver, and a Salvation Army division leader, visits such places three times a week, extending much-needed medical care, food, and healthcare check-ups to those living in similar buildings or on the streets.
Financed by the European Economic Area (EEA) and Norway Grants, the mobile clinic project operated from 2014 to 2017, followed by a second phase from 2019 to 2022. Now, after the project period`s conclusion in December 2022, the goal is for it to become self-sustaining. The Salvation Army in Romania continues its efforts, making small strides forward, and seeks continued support to ensure the project`s enduring success.
Helsinki Photo Festival (#HelPhoto) is an annual event showcasing international photography in the Greater Helsinki area. More info on artists, exhibitions and events: www.helsinkiphotofestival.com
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