Horia Tecau, message to the children of Brasov: "True performance means first wellbeing, not necessarily being number 1 and winning tournaments"

UNICEF National Ambassador visited the UNICEF projects for children with local partners

21 December 2023
National ambassador with kindergartner children
UNICEF/Holerga

Brasov, 21 December 2023. The National Ambassador for UNICEF Horia Tecau spent a full day in his home town of Brasov on Wednesday with children benefiting from UNICEF programmes that were developed with local authorities. The athlete visited a kindergarten, an integrated community centre, a centre for children and families of Ukrainian refugees and met with teenagers who are part of the local children's council.

At Kindergarten No. 26, the first stop of the visit, the UNICEF National Ambassador met with teachers and spent dozens of quality minutes with the children, singing carols, working on Christmas decorations and playing games. The school is part of the quality inclusive education component of UNICEF's "Romania for every child" initiative, with staff receiving training and materials that helped provide better early education for pre-schoolers.

"We all need to focus more on early education, to invest more resources and more time in training our children in their early years, because early education is the key to a great deal in the life of the future adult. The job of educator, of teacher is extraordinarily important for our common present and future. I congratulate the teachers I met today for the dedication with which they work with each child", said Horia Tecau.

The athlete visited the Integrated Community Centre in Brasov, which operates through a partnership between Brasov Mayoralty, through the Social Assistance Department and UNICEF. More than 2,000 children and adults benefited from services at this centre, 150 children benefited from specialised services provided by two physiotherapists, two psychologists, a speech therapist, a medical assistant and a social worker, as well as an education referent. Four other integrated centres operate in the municipalities of Bacău and Moinești, as well as in the communes of Corbasca and Colonești. Between June 2021 and September 2023, more than 7,200 child parents benefited from their services free of charge.

"I was very impressed by the specialists working there. They are so committed, so present and so warm, patient people who bring all their knowledge to help children with disabilities and their parents, offering them free services of the highest quality," said the UNICEF Ambassador. "We have also spoken to parents, who see the progress children are making and who have learned themselves how to handle certain situations. They come to a warm, friendly space where they are listened to, advised and where they leave with hope and concrete change in their children's development. It inspires me to see the strength that some parents show in difficult situations to keep going. Expanding this model of integrated centres nationwide, benefiting as many children in general and as many children with disabilities as possible, would make a big difference."

Horia was afterwards the guest of the family of Sebi, a six year old child who benefits from the integrated community centre. Sebi is making great strides towards recovery thanks to the tireless efforts of his parents and the services he receives at the community centre (read Sebi's story here).

Another highlight on the agenda was a stop at the Katya Centre, the service hub for Ukrainian refugee children and their families, a project of the Metropolitan Agency for Sustainable Development Brasov, which is supported by UNICEF. Here the athlete learned about how Ukrainian refugee children and their parents integrate, what their needs are and how the local community supports them.

The last stop was at the Children’s Library in Brasov, where Horia Tecau met some of the local children's council and the deputy mayor Flavia Boghiu. The local children's council is a structure set up within the framework of UNICEF's "Child Friendly Localities" initiative, itself developed as part of the "Romania for every child" project. The teenagers with whom the UNICEF ambassador spoke told her about the projects they have been working on, the proposals they have made for a more inclusive city, and the reasons why they got involved.

"We were happy that during today's visit, tennis player Horia Tecau had the opportunity to see and visit the activities we are doing together with our trusted partner UNICEF. He went to the kindergarten, he went to the Integrated Community Centre, he went and visited the Activity Centre for Ukrainians, he also met the children from the Local Children's Council. It is an important opportunity for them to get to know him, to ask him questions about what performance means, how to achieve it, what discipline means and to present him, in turn, the projects they have been involved in with the municipality of Brasov. We are happy to be their hosts, we are happy to welcome them home and to be able to continue with the Local Children's Council the projects we have started", said Flavia Boghiu, Deputy Mayor of Brasov.

The children also addressed questions to the ambassador, wanting to know about his experience as a tennis player and the determination that made him achieve remarkable performances in his sports career. Horia also talked about the fact that his first visits with UNICEF in disadvantaged communities were emotionally tough, but the thing that kept him going was his belief in the UNICEF cause and the fact that, year after year, he saw the positive results of the organization's programmes.

"The sport is a very powerful personal development journey because you have discipline, you have competition, you have team, you have communication, you have the opportunity to become better. For me, true performance is first and foremost about wellbeing, it's not necessarily about being number 1 and winning tournaments," the athlete shared with the youth.

 

The initiative "Romania for every child. Ensuring social inclusion - breaking the vicious circle of exclusion for the most vulnerable children in Romania" is being developed in five localities in the counties of Bacau and Brasov and benefits from a grant of €4.2 million from Norway under the Local Development Programme administered by the Romanian Social Development Fund as programme operator. The objective is to contribute to the social inclusion of all children and adolescents, especially vulnerable ones, through quality, equitable and coordinated health, education and child protection services (integrated community and specialised services) and protective social norms.

Media contacts

Cătălin Pruteanu
Media Officer
UNICEF Romania
Tel: +40 726 107 799

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