Romania

Cluj, Romania

The city of Cluj-Napoca (with a metro population of a little more than 400,000) is considered the unofficial “capital” of the historic region of Transylvania, and while there are no famous vampires haunting the region, it is a relatively short drive to towering, Dracula-esqe castles.

The country remains torn between people living in Soviet-era poverty and affluent communities with a more Western lifestyle, driving housing prices upward and making our work of building simple, decent and affordable homes critical.

Getting Involved

  • Donate to support this specific partner. Houses cost money to build, so any donation is always helpful!
  • Volunteer on one of our Global Builders teams, which you can learn more about below. You’ll travel to Romania and get to know the local people and culture while you partner with families to complete a home.
  • Join a virtual volunteer team, choosing to donate your travel costs instead of making the trip in person. This is the perfect way to stay involved and give back during the COVID-19 pandemic.

Duplex Sponsorship Cost: $50,000

Upcoming Trips

Click on the leader’s name to learn more about the leader and trip details. Click “Join” to apply for their trip. Have a spot reserved on a “Full” trip? Complete your registration here. Or learn about sending funds to support local labor by joining as a virtual participant.

The typical family with whom Fuller Center Romania partners usually has a working mother and father earning minimum wage, an obstacle to obtaining decent housing through traditional mortgage opportunities in an expensive market.

Most of these families have 1-5 children and come to us from situations where they live with relatives in crowded situations. Others come to us from small rented spaces without access to basic utilities such as potable water, flushable toilets and adequate heat. Some come from unsound shacks and shelters.

The families become true partners in the process, helping in the construction work done on their homes and repaying the costs on a no-profit, no-interest basis. Their repayments remain in Romania and are recycled to help the next families get this much needed hand-up, turning the partner families into not just recipients, but givers themselves.

Local Romanian volunteers actively support the efforts, but international volunteers are needed to take the housing program to further heights.

What is a trip like?

Each trip to Romania will be with a group of mission-minded volunteers — typically 8-20 total — who want to experience the world, meet new people, and make a difference. No skills required, and trips last 1-2 weeks and include time for local R&R activities.

Due to the cold winters, the best time to travel to Romania is May – September, though April, October and November are feasible for the cold-hearty as well. 

Sample Schedule:

  • 8:15 a.m. – Transport from accommodation in Cluj-Napoca to worksite in Jucu de Sus
  • 9 a.m. – Arrival at worksite. Safety briefing, morning prayer & equipping PPE. Icebreaker game
  • 9:30 a.m. – Start building
  • 11:20 a.m. – Break
  • 1 p.m. – Lunch
  • 2 p.m. – 4:30 p.m. – Continue building
  • 4:30 p.m. – Housekeeping (cleaning tools and worksite)
  • 5 p.m. – A word of grace & acknowledgment; transport back to Cluj-Napoca
  • 5:40 p.m. – Arrival in Cluj-Napoca
  • 7 p.m. – Dinner at accommodation or another restaurant

Exact schedules can be discussed and set depending on the team’s preferences and length of stay.

All types of construction operations, other than work those requiring a special permit or skills (electricity work, pouring the foundation, plumbing etc.), or working on the roof, due to safety issues regarding working at heights.

Volunteers might be expected to cut and mount wooden beams for the wall structure; to raise the walls on the existing foundation and set them in place, to install insulation materials (outside or inside the home); install wooden boards on the walls and/or ceiling; work at ground level; on stairs or on scaffolding to plaster or paint some walls inside or outside the home; perform digging operations and carry materials if physically able.

Volunteers will stay at the beautiful Univers T Hotel, which is a modern hotel located on Lake Gheorgheni and near other city sites. 

Breakfast is served at the hotel, lunch will be delivered to the worksite by a local catering company, and dinner will be eaten together as a team at the hotel restaurant or other local restaurants. 

Transportation to and from the airport in Cluj-Napoca as well as between the lodging and worksite each day are provided. The worksites are typically about 30-40 minutes from the host hotel.

A full packing list is provided in the Fuller Center’s Romania Guidebook that you receive upon registration. Bed linens, towels and toiletries are provided by the hotel. Bring a pair of sturdy boots to wear on the worksite. Pack a variety of lighter clothing as temperatures can vary greatly. Some “nicer” clothes are also helpful to have for dinners and evenings out.

Cluj-Napoca has a rich history as the unofficial “capital” of the Transylvania region. The city itself boasts several museums, a botanical garden and an Ethographic Park featuring historic wooden homes from all over Romania. Also within easy driving distance are:

  • Salina-Turda Salt Mine amusement park (30 minutes away)
  • Banffy Castle in Bontida, a.k.a. “Translyvania’s Versailles” (40 minutes away)
  • The Citadel of Alba Iulia with its medieval buildings, monuments and pedestrian roads completely restored (1.5 hours away)

Prices vary based on team size and trip duration, but a typical trip to Romania will last between 7 – 14 days and cost between $1,400 – $2,800 depending on the length of stay and other options. That fee covers your lodging, food, in-country transportation, insurance, and a donation to fund the project. Fees do not include airfare, visa fees, tips, or site-seeing entrance fees (unless otherwise indicated).

If looking to bring a group contact globalbuilders@fullercenter.org for more details or submit your trip proposal here.

Are you unsure of how to prepare for such an experience or just looking for some tips on how to be better prepared? If so, we suggest you take a look at our Trip Preparation page where you will find a lot of helpful information and links – Preparing For Your Trip!

Pricing – What’s included?

Team Materials Fuller Center hat, t-shirt, country guidebook, fundraising page (optional), & more
Trip Support Easy contact with Team Leader and Global Builders staff
Lodging  Volunteers will stay at Univers T Hotel
Transportation To and from work sites and airport
Food and Drink Three meals a day and bottled water
Travel Insurance Provided by Berkley Accident and Health, with with Generali Global Assistance. Contact us for details.
Life-changing work Alongside your teammates and the homeowners!

What happens after the trip?

Even after you return, your trip can have a sustained impact on both you and the community in which you served! 
Learn how on our Country Champions page.