Oana Livadariu, OvidiuRo’s beloved PR specialist and a gifted and respected journalist, died of brain cancer at the age of 34 in 2015. Oana was a passionate advocate – and practitioner – of using the media to shine a light on the wide disparity between urban progress and rural decline in Romania.
In her honor, OvidiuRo awarded 20 fellowships in 2015 and 2016 to encourage young journalists to document Romania’s rural, largely invisible poverty, that keeps far too many children undernourished, uneducated, and without hope for a better future.
These stories – of a village in transformation; of the huge role that chance plays in poor people’s lives; the importance of role models – both good and bad; and the long-term game-changing effects social programs can have when they reach strong, tenacious people – all provide a snapshot of both the hardship and the personal heroism to be found in abundance in rural Romania.
Between 2015 and 2016, The Alex Fund sponsored nineteen writer-photographer teams:
- Mihai Voinea & Auraș Mihaiu (ADEVĂRUL) – Iazu, the Village Converted to Education
- Lina Vdovîi & Ioana Cîrlig (CASAJURNALISTULUI.RO) – So Call God, Why Don’t Ya
- Oana Dan & Silviu Panaite (DELA0.RO) – Every Child in Preschool. Except Nicușor.
- Alexandra Dincă & Bogdan Dincă (HOTNEWS.RO) – Playing Grown-Ups
- Alex Nedea– VICE România: The story of children expelled because of poverty, article picked up by Realitatea TV
- Diana Meseșan & Andrei Becheru– DOR (Decât o Revistă): Wild animals on children’s way to kindergarten
- Andrada Lăutaru & Delia Marinescu– VICE România: How is the life of children in Clejani, the place where people are afraid to admit they are Roma
- Patricia Iftene & Vlad Bâscă– VICE România The story of the poor children to whom the state gives as much money as it takes
- Iulia Roșu & Ioana Epure– Adevărul The story of lost children in the geography of poverty
- Andreea Pocotilă– VICE România: Kindergarten behind the wall: a dystopia in the world of illiterates
- Gabriel Sandu & Maria Cîrstea– VICE România I went to see why some poor Romanian children are not at school and I stumble upon a party at the City Hall
- Mircea Oprea– RFI The children who don’t want to become anything when they grow up
- Mircea Barbu– Adevărul Reportaj: From war to chaos. How Romania misses the integration of refugee children through education
- Gabriel Kolbay & Vali Kozak– Viața Liberă Galați: The exit from the slum goes through the classroom
- Diana Mitrache & Ilie Pintea– Cronica Văii Jiului: Aninoasa, life between two freight trains
- Cătălin Hopulele– Ziarul de Iași: The Olympic flame smolders in the mud from Oproaia
- Sebastian Olaru– Agerpres: The teddy bears’ waltz
- Ana Dănescu– Gazeta de Sud: Barefoot through life, on the way to kindergarten
- Mihaela Vlădescu– Ziarul de Vrancea: Speranța (Hope) doesn’t go to kindergarten