Sarai Gal-Chis
Sarai Gal-Chis
Romania 2013
Hi! My name is Sarai, and I’m just another 19 year old - one who has been extraordinarily and undeservingly blessed. As an immigrant to the United States from Romania, I am very excited for the opportunity to go back to my hometown this summer and work with orphan girls alongside Romanian Orphan Ministries. Read More About Sarai →

Evenimente![Events] Week 05/23-05/30

Special events of the week! 

Friday, May 24

Eva’s birthday and surprise party!!

IMG_6975 IMG_6986 IMG_6990 IMG_7006 IMG_7007

Monday, May 27

Cireasa’s visitors!


Wednesday, May 29

Visitor Rose from Great Britain!



Friday, May 24

The return of Corina, one of the girls who went to America with Corey and Diana on their last visit!



Annnndddd the amazing race of the ROM assembly line of staff and girls trying to get a huge shipment of supplies in before the torrential rain took its toll!



O Săptămână [One Week]

I did not realize how much activity could happen in one small house in just one week!

My first week at the Beauty from Ashes center has shown me just that. The hustle and bustle of life never ends at the center- there is always something new going on, a celebration around the corner, a job to be done, or a visitor. Through a series of pictures, I want to take you through a “regular” day of my life here with the girls: the extras will be in other posts!


Every morning, bright and early, rain or shine, cold or hot, I hop on a tramvai number 3 to get to the center where the girls carry out the majority of their daily activities. The tramvai is the mode of public transportation that keeps Oradea and countless other European cities flowing, and is the way many people in the city commute to work or school everyday. 


After taking the tramvai, I have a short walk through Nufărul to get to the Beauty from Ashes center, where I spend the day with the girls.

When I get there in the mornings, the girls are doing various chores, working, cooking, doing schoolwork, or whatever their daily schedule consists of. Organization, structure, and responsibility are vital life skills that the center wants to teach these girls, and by appointing the different household tasks to the girls on a schedule, they learn how they themselves would run a household. Cooking is done on a rotating schedule as well as dishes, and the girls have to go and buy groceries for the dishes that are on the menu that they have created for the week.

IMG_7022 IMG_7103

The piață, or market, is where many Romanians go to purchase fresh food items, as well as stores similar to our Wal-Mart and Kroger. Determining what items they need, purchasing the best quality and best priced items, and learning how to cook these items are are skills the girls are picking up on quick, to the pleasure of their peers who have to eat what they cook! By creating a thought-out menu ahead of time, healthy lifestyle choices can also be promoted. The girls learn how to cook a variety of foods containing many necessary nutrients, something they may not have always received. In addition, every Tuesday and Thursday morning, they get a break in their activities if they choose to participate in Zumba, something that’s so fun for us to all do together and get in some exercise as well! The cold, rainy weather that is quite abnormal for late May has limited our outdoor activities thus far, but I’m sure that more of those will appear as the weather begins to improve.

IMG_6937 IMG_6943 IMG_7234IMG_6934

Some of the other family chores that the girls have to do besides the cooking and cleaning is to help with some of the outdoor things, such as feeding the animals, and at times, also helping with the garden.

The things I have listed above are some of the daily chores that the girls do that would occur in a family setting normally. Besides that, since the girls in the program are all over the age of 18, they are required to hold some kind of job. For many of them, it’s very hard to try and find a job in the city, although some of them do have one (some of the girls work at various factories in town).

IMG_7226 IMG_7269 IMG_7235IMG_7097

Jobs are also offered at the Beauty for Ashes center for the girls. One of the jobs that they can do is babysitting the children of the employees at the center.

IMG_7112 IMG_7240 IMG_6911

Another job they might have is to create some of the handmade items that Beauty from Ashes sells, or help with the packaging and preparation of clothing items. The handmade items that they create may be hairpieces (clips and bands), brooches, croqueted hats or scarves, or cards. The girls are taught to work hard and diligently at their tasks, and as at any job, the quality of their work is reviewed and they have deadlines, requirements, ect.

(Items the girls make or prepare can be found at for purchase!)

Besides this they also do school! (More details to come in a later post)

IMG_7221 IMG_7224

While all this is going on, the employees and volunteers are working alongside the girls all day. Some of them work directly with the girls, teaching them how to cook, coming up with the designs for the cards and flowers, checking the quality of their work, helping with babysitting, ect.. while others just work in the same rooms as the girls, and although their are doing their own separate work on the computer, they have the opportunity for many meaningful conversations that stem from doing life with these girls.

What do I do? A little bit of everything:) I help with babysitting, work, cleaning, cooking, and anything and everything in-between. This week, I’ve also started teaching as part of the homeschooling type program that they do! (more details to come in a later post)

IMG_6931 IMG_6932 IMG_7083 IMG_6959

Getting to know these girls and spend all day with them is something I wake up and look forward to every day! The tiredness and challenges exist, but getting to do life with the girls and love them make the challenges so worth overcoming and brings me so much joy 🙂

Acasă [Home]

When even lost luggage, constant rain, and weather much colder than you packed for can’t get your spirits down, you know you’re where you’re supposed to be.

Oradea, Romania: Beauty for Ashes Center– yep, this is exactly where I’m supposed to be.

My first day back in the motherland was filled with logistics- trying to find lost luggage, getting a Romo phone number, getting a tramvai (tram) pass, and other such things that must be done.

But, today, my first REAL day, was absolutely wonderful:)

I was greeted early in the morning by the sunshiny faces of the girls at the ROM Beauty from Ashes center, making me forget all about the wet, nasty weather outside, and so ready to get started! I didn’t know how the girls would take my coming- accepting? rejecting? adjusting? welcoming? It’s hard to have someone new to step into your daily routine of things. But I can honestly say that Day 1 was great! The girls were so warm and welcoming. I worked with them all day, just helping them with whatever jobs or activities they were doing, trying to get a feel for what a day in their lives is like at the center before I get plugged in to whatever my niche shall be. We joked, told stories, sang, worked side by side, and kept wishing we had each other’s accents. There was so much going on at once, but everyone had a job and knew exactly what they were doing- some getting wedding stuff ready since the director of the center is getting married in a couple of weeks, some working on the products that they sell, others organizing clothes, others cooking, others at work, others at school, others babysitting... but they all were like a family. And I think that’s what impressed me the most.

For any given group of people, it’s hard to say that they’ve reached the point of acting like a family. ESPECIALLY for a group of orphan girls, who haven’t ever had a family or much love and care. To mix these girls with Romanians, Americans, volunteers, social workers, friends, and say that this big jumble acts like a family is a miracle- yet they do:)

I can’t wait to do life even more with these girls, and see how much I’ll learn from them while I try to teach them and share some of what I know and some of my life with them.

And what you’ve all been waiting for... PICTURES!


The Beauty from Ashes House of Romanian Orphan Ministries where the girls work, most of them live, and everyone that is involved performs their daily activities.


Handmade decorations in the living area.


Sweet little Rebecca.


Emma, one of the workers.


Jetta, another worker, and the mother of Rebecca.


Eva hard at work!


Carmen, the newest and youngest member, babysitting.


One of the things the girls do is croquet these flowers along with various other styles to create headbands or brooches that are sold. The girls also make cards, wedding invitations, and other such things at the center as part of their working program.


One of Nadia’s completed hair clip sets!


Taking a break!


Cosmina the kitten- one of the newest pets of the family.


The family of girls and workers at Beauty from Ashes. What a wonderful first day:)


Bine ați venit! [Welcome!]

I can’t believe it’s almost here.



In a little over 5 days, I will be traveling half-way across the world to devote my summer to a cause that is so much greater than I. Romania is a country that I look upon as the Motherland-the beautiful eastern European country where I was born. It was home to me for a short 5 years before I moved here, to America. Sadly, it has never been a true home for its many orphans that roam the streets, gutters, and alleyways. They are undervalued, under-appreciated, and the forgotten citizens of the country.

This summer, I will be working with some of these forgotten orphans, who may be currently viewed as nuisances, but can become gems. Specifically, I will be working with older orphan girls, mostly all over the age of 18, who have “aged out” of the orphan system, meaning they have been kicked out due to their age. Their transition to life in the real world is not a smooth or successful one in most cases. Beauty from Ashes is a program that teaches work ethic, punctuality, job skills, simple hygiene and common manners are not well-taught in the orphanages to these girls, which are all vital skills to surviving in today’s world. More importantly however, it provides them with a family. Love is the last thing these orphans are ever shown, and it is the first thing I want to show them. The rest will go from there.

Thank you for joining me on this journey that I’m sure will be as much, if not more, of a blessing to me as it will to those girls I will be helping.


Here is a better picture of what orphans in Romania are facing, written by those who work faithfully with these orphans day in and day out:

Orphans in Romania

Orphans are looked down upon and are not helped like disadvantaged people are helped in America. They grow up in orphanages without role models or mentors. They are psychologically, emotionally, and physically abused. They are taught little about life skills and then, when they finish school (where they have learned very little), most of the time around eighteen years of age, they are forced to leave the orphanages.

At this point the government offers them very little help. Unless someone steps in and helps them, many become outcasts of society. Almost none are capable of making it on their own. Having been taught nothing about money, a work ethic, how to find a job or a place to live, paying bills, manners or even simple hygiene, many cannot fend for themselves and become jobless and homeless on the streets with other orphans. They beg and steal for food, become addicted to drugs and, worst of all, are lured into the underground world of prostitution and human trafficking.

The children who are prostitutes in Romania could almost be considered fortunate in comparison with the many that are made sex slaves and taken to other countries where they are never heard from again! The problem with the international sex-slave trade and human trafficking has been well documented and many exposes and books have detailed the horrible atrocities surrounding modern-day slavery.

Orphan youth are turned out onto the streets with few life skills. Joblessness, homelessness, drug abuse, prostitution, jail, and becoming victims of human trafficking are just a few of the results.

Romanian Orphan Ministries assists these youths in the transition from institutionalized life to becoming a productive member of society.

Our strategy is holistic, encompassing spiritual, social, physical, and educational facets.

We currently work very closely with around 20 orphans. We seek to have a big impact on a few lives rather than a little impact on many. We spend much time building relationships with them so that we can make a difference in their lives.

Our biggest project is our Beauty from Ashes Center for Orphan Girls.

The Beauty from Ashes Center for Orphan Girls is a ministry of Romanian Orphan Ministries in Oradea, Romania. Teenage/young adult orphans who have “graduated out” of the orphanage system are taken into a family environment and begin the process of transitioning from institutionalized orphanage life to a normal, well-adjusted, productive life in Romanian society.

Since the teaching of a work ethic, punctuality, job skills, simple hygiene and common manners are not well-taught in the orphanages, a long up-hill struggle is required for an orphan to achieve the goals of this Center.

The Beauty from Ashes Boutique is one part of this program. Here the young women spend eight hours a day creating beautiful hand-made craft items which we then sell in Romania, Europe and North America. The proceeds from these sales are used to fund the Center. The girls are paid a fair wage,thereby breaking the cycle of dependency on others and the “hand-out” mentality that is so prevalent among orphans.

This is of utmost importance because homelessness, drugs, a life of crime, prostitution and human traffickers await these naive young people upon their exit from the orphanage system.

But programs and activities aside, we personally believe that the one thing that overrides all others is love. We show them love and acceptance, treating them and considering them as part of our own family.

Romanian Orphan Ministries Website

Romanian Orphan Ministries Facebook Page (updated weekly):

Beauty from Ashes Facebook Page: