Satul Verde’ (SV) ROMANIA

Satul Verde’ (SV)

From Romania, Satul Verde’ (SV) means ‘green village’ & they focus on culture & nature in the context of sustainable rural communities, locating skills that need to be transferred from older people to younger people & internationally. ‘Satul verde’ is a receiving organisation for Leonardo da
Vinci mobility projects, for students (IVT) learning traditional skills with a contemporary application, e.g. mask making and icon painting. SV also receive trainers (VETPRO) who study Romanian cultural heritage and learn how Romanians offer training & undertake interpretation of this. They also link with archaeologists to receive students to take part in archaeological digs; they are interested in the concept of ‘sustainable ancestors’. With Scottish partners they host ‘Nature Exchange’ & ‘Innovation in Cultural Heritage Interpretation’ to receive trainers through LdV.

They recognise the potential of young people in the rural area & work to organise international youth projects through ‘Youth in Action’. SV have worked throughout 2010, meeting with and visiting the UK and GHT , the Icelanders & Germans to develop the EVEHD project. They bring into the partnership their knowledge and experience of sustainable rural communities, e.g. the Transylvanian village of Gârboviţa, which they have analysed in detail.

They work with all partners in but are specifically skilled in community engagement through village councils, youth groups & the church. They have skills from the ‘Green Village’ DOI project, where they also lead in community liaison and have as their themes, ‘Sustainable ancestors’, ‘Empowering communities’ & ‘Rural Food’ – this is all critical in terms of EVEHR because they are subjects which engage entire communities, including volunteers. Satul Verde (SV) deal with rural issues and are involved in VET; as trainers they promote traditional skills in a contemporary way – they are hosts for a Leonardo IVT called ‘TICATEC’ – “Training in Contemporary Applications of Traditional European Crafts’. Staff of SV are registered and qualified teachers – ‘history of art’ and ‘textiles’.

SV are concerned with the future of Romanian villages and the rescuing of traditional skills. They are successful applicants to Grundtvig for a Learner Workshop on traditional folk crafts & from a practical viewpoint SV link into a range of suppliers of sustainable local materials – i.e., wool, wood, leather, glass, wire, horn, bone, etc., to be used in practical workshops. This latter element is important because local trading empowers local village communities (A EVEHD objective). Their main interest is in working with disadvantaged villagers – achieving mobility through a good community engagement strategy is key to this ambition. SV think it is important to contemporise traditional skills, processes and products, in order to (in the long term) create a better rural economy.

During 2010 SV attended the Grampus-led CEDEFOP study visit “The Value of Mobility for young people and adults from remote rural communities” to geographically remote Cumbria in the United Kingdom, to discuss this target group and meet individuals who had benefited from a European mobility experience. This exposure to Cumbrian communities & seeing firsthand their needs, was partly the reason for them joining BUCH. They plan ever increasing involvement with adult learners and a realisation that informal learning is important in the development of the most disadvantaged of this group. They therefore have the skills and experiences for leading the community engagement. SV work also with traditional limeburners from the western foothills of the Apuseni mountains; their interest being in rescuing a craft that dates back to Roman times but also in creating a market for lime-based products for building, paints, etc.

Through all this cross-sectoral work, their view of the creative and cultural sector is rounded. Such a broad view is needed because the EVEHD project addresses many community-based stakeholders & they must be brought ‘on-board’.


The Restoration of a holy well is enlisted as Action No.15 Action under the EVEHD Work Programme.

The holy well / sacred water site restoration was a common thread through each of the 6 multilateral, all partner cultural actions. It was also an ongoing process throughout the two years that EVEHD ran. In fact, the purpose was to ‘kick start’ a process that would just keep rolling with local volunteers. I believe we have succeeded in that regard in Germany, UK and Slovakia; in Romania, Iceland and Turkey I am more pessimistic but this needs qualifying a bit.  In Romania the Orthodox Christian church still has enormous power and influence and most if not all holy wells are under the control of monasteries and looked after by monks and nuns – we had some difficulty finding one to work with. In Iceland Gudmundur the Good, the then Bishop of the country, blessed many wells (the ‘Blessed Wells of Iceland’) and we realised that people do not take them too seriously these days (Father John Musther, the English Orthodox priest who led in the wells, would say it’s because they’re Protestants!); we think it would be very difficult to generate a group of volunteers to do this ongoing well maintenance. Again qualification is needed – we looked at 6 holy wells in the process of choosing one to work on – all were on private land and most were cared for by the owner.

Here is a potted description of what we achieved with our volunteers.

The well we worked on became holy on account of a monk from the monastery of Rămeţ, at the foot of the mountain. It’s the oldest orthodox monastery in Romania (built in the 13th century) and has as specific bell resonance, due to its location in the Râmeț Gorge. Full of grass lawns and flowers, the monastery courtyard is a nice place for relaxation and meditation. We visited the site to meet the nuns, tell them about EVEHD and to see the two holy wells in the monastery courtyard – one dedicated to the Virgin Mary. Our chosen well was high in the mountains close to a small hamlet (one of thirteen) in the Municipality of Rămeţ. The story attached to it, is from the period at the height of the Austro-Hungarian domination of Transylvania and the people were oppressed, poor and starving. An elderly monk used to walk up the mountain with his donkey to bring food to the starving people and meet them by the spring/well. Over the years he became older and in poor health and on his last trip, he was taken ill and died beside the well.  It is now believed that the water from the well has special powers to heal, somehow linked to the charity of the monk. The monks body was returned to the monastery on the donkey and when the other monks received the body they were very sad and (it is said) the donkeys hoof print was made in solid stones at the old church doorway (we went to see this – it is a revered thing). We worked in total 4 days in the spring, but it had to be finished after we left. The team was rotating but all had a go, it involved removing the old water trough & installing a new one plus making a stone seat and re-routing the stream from the spring. A local builder was in charge with a team of Romanian volunteers.  It turned into quite a big engineering job supported by the Primaria’s (mayors) office. There was some disagreement about how to proceed but the result was generally satisfactory.