Community
Published: June 03, 2021
Community
Published: June 03, 2021

Providing a Calm and Colorful Haven for Victims of Trafficking

It’s a shocking fact but there are more slaves today than at any point in history. According to UNICEF, each year, 1.2 million children are trafficked, and 800,000 people are trafficked internationally. Therefore, when Stela Tomescu, Environment, Health and Safety (EHS) manager in Bucharest, Romania, and the Bucharest team discovered a shelter in her area that supports victims of trafficking, they knew they must do something to help.

“Yesterday a Victim, Today a Survivor, Tomorrow a Fighter”

The Open Door Foundation in Bucharest, Romania is a shelter whose mission it is to give assistance and protection to victims of human trafficking and to support them in gaining full autonomy and reintegration into society. The only shelter of its kind in the country, an estimated 70 mothers and children currently benefit from its 18-month program.

When Stela learned about a potential COLORFUL COMMUNITIES® project with the foundation, she knew immediately she wanted to be involved because the cause spoke so directly to her heart.

The shelter’s activity is focused on non-judgement, equal opportunities and a second chance. They provide safe shelter and genuine support for victims to re-gain their lives as free independent beings.

A Career Taking Care of People

As a mother and sister, Stela is part of a family with strong and independent female figures.

I’m a strong and determined woman (by education, by chance and with the loving support of my family) and I have a daughter. These are really powerful reasons that deeply connect me with the cause.

She is our EHS country manager for Romania and EHS manager for the Bucharest plant. She joined us four years ago after the acquisition of Deutek (now PPG Romania) where she had been working since 2003.

I have always worked in EHS – since I graduated 23 years ago – and I cannot see me doing anything else. I love that I can contribute to people going home healthy and safe every day.

Standing Aligned with Her Values

Stela was integral in organizing the successful Colorful Communities project at The Open Door Foundation, responsible for keeping everyone safe during the outdoor renovation. The project brought together more than 35 PPG volunteers plus 10 volunteers from the community, with Stela making sure everyone follow the COVID-19 safety guidelines, as well as the painting instructions!

It connected us in such an unexpected manner. I am happy and proud. I have a great feeling knowing I was aligned to the values I believe in.

Our volunteers renovated all the indoor and outdoor spaces across the two floors of the main building, as well as the courtyard and playground. They repaired and renovated the shelter’s furniture, while volunteers from the shelter and a design contractor were involved in painting the walls.

All renovation activities were carried out in compliance with COVID-19 requirements, the furniture being repaired and decorated outdoors at the PPG premises, and the interior spaces only allowing one person per room.

At the beginning, I thought it might not happen, that we needed to wait for better times. But we built it one step at a time. We were brave and cautious, and I am proud that we managed to get involved with a ‘safety first’ philosophy.

The Perfect Products for A Complete Makeover

Volunteers renovated and decorated the shelter’s premises in a palette of light, natural and pastel colors. They used up almost 2,000 liters of interior and exterior OSKAR® wall paint, as well as anti-mold primer, washable paint Total, SuperWeiss and Yacht paint for wood, decorative plaster, AquaMatt and special home appliances paint.

PPG also provided funding for the renovation of the playground and for new tablets used for online schooling.

A Source of Passion and Pride

Being one of a kind in Romania, the shelter is always full and relies entirely on donations.

With so many areas needing our focus, we really needed your support with thebuilding itself. Thank you for teaming with us.
Monica Boseff, General Manager, Open Door Foundation

Stela was impressed by the work and felt touched by the dedication of all the partners and volunteers involved in the project.

I’m glad that I was able to contribute with the team in delivering more color and comfort to the residents of The Open Door Shelter.

It’s great to know we have someone as passionate and value-driven as Stela at the helm of EHS in Romania. In fact, she tells us that she finds nothing more motivating than when her daughter talks of her with pride: “My mommy takes care of all the people at work.”