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When, after 35 years' service with the agricultural research institute NIAB Cambridge, I was told they would “let me go”, I knew this free time would have a positive benefit on the charitable work I had already been doing.

CEEM, which stands for Central & Eastern European Ministries (http://www.ceem.co.uk) grew out of FootPrints East, which I co-founded and developed over a 20-year period into a fully fledged charity registered CEEM under UK law. CEEM seeks to facilitate special interest groups with a vision to help the needy in Moldova – the poorest country in Europe. I am company secretary of CEEM and have visited Moldova on a number of occasions.

workers

What do we do there? CEEM is focusing the provision of aid and help to 4 very different villages majoring on projects in agriculture, education, health & welfare, street-children, trees and water.

Agriculture – we seek to demonstrate what is possible on the potentially "good" Moldovan soil with varieties and crops they have not seen before and high quality seed.

Education & Health – the educational systems are reminiscent of those of the 1950s with limited basic resources (lack of chairs and paper) and the medical system is all but non-existent. In both cases, dedicated staff do their best under very difficult conditions.

john law and friends

Street-children – although not literally living rough, the Moldovan street-children often live in houses without adult care because their parents have left Moldova to find work, leaving the grandparents to care for the children. As the grandparents become elderly and infirm, they are less able to act as surrogate parents and often the children have to fend for themselves. The churches, through whom we work, have taken on responsibility to feed and “parent” these children.

Trees & water – we have a vision to plant 1,000,000 trees to help prevent soil erosion during the flash-floods and also to provide fuel in the cold winters (-20°C is common + wind chill factor). The summers are very hot (at least by UK standards at 30°C), the wells failed  in the drought of 2007 and early news indicates that similar problems may be occurring again in 2009. We have some ideas on how we can help with a number of water-projects.

CEEM is almost a full-time job. All the local people have asked us for is... DON’T FORGET US... How can we forget them?

john law and field work

Moggerhanger Park: This Grade I listed property in Bedfordshire (http://www.the-park.net) has recently been granted nearly £1,000,000 to restore the grounds. I am involved in a small way and there's now lots of work to be done. I have been working at The Park with Youth Matters (http://youthmatters.info/index.html), which seeks to show young people who have fallen through the education net that they can be gifted in a number of vocational study courses. These include horticulture, which is based at Moggerhanger Park in one of the historic walled gardens.

 

 

 



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