Claudia Popa – spring fellow from Romania

Claudia Popa currently is Manager of Colors Association, a small Romanian NGO founded in 2008 that aims to develop individuals and their communities to meet the challenges of now-a-days life, implementing mainly educational, cultural and youth projects and activities for children, youngsters and seniors from Brasov and Sibiu Counties and promoting voluntary work as the main tool for personal and community development.

Having more than 3000 beneficiaries every year, Ms. Popa has been actively involved in developing new activities for Roma children, persons with disabilities or socially disadvantaged, etc. For instance, during 2015, together with her team, she is going to develop a new visual arts program for 400 Roma children from Garcini neighborhood in Brasov County, with the support of EEA Grants. Organizing members of the community, being a leader or generating ideas are skills that Ms. Popa has been practicing since primary school. During the years she has added lots of others – e.g. being a trainer or communicator, using technology and social media etc.

Ms. Popa has started her NGO career as a youth volunteer for Brasov Branch of the Romanian Red Cross during her University studies in 1998. Between 2001 and 2008 she has worked as a Manager for the Sibiu Branch of the same organization.

Brasov /foto: Iulian/

foto by Iulian

In these years Ms. Popa has created new innovative programs for different minority groups and not only and been a part of the national teams that created the youth leadership system and the communication strategy for the organization. In the same time here she learnt how to organize volunteers and beneficiaries and mobilize resources to meet different needs and solve problems.

Ms. Popa has a BA in Economics and International Transactions from the Transylvania University, Faculty of Economics in Brasov (Romania 2001). She is a Postgraduate in Fundraising from the Babes-Bolyai University in Cluj Napoca (Romania 2009). Ms. Popa also took part in Participatory Capacity Development Program organized by German Red Cross between 2004-2005, and in a training in advocacy organized by Grasp/USAID in 2003. She has qualifications as a trainer, youth worker, HR and project manager and extensive experience in PR and non-formal education.

Ms. Popa is a native Romanian speaker and C1 level English (speaking, understanding, writing, and reading). She has also basic German knowledge, and she can understand and speak a bit of French, Spanish and Portuguese (due to similarities with Romanian and/or practical international work).

Wichita, Kansas

This is going to be her first visit to the U.S. With the support of this fellowship Ms. Popa would like to be more efficient in mobilizing and empowering people, and resources from her community in addressing the problems that they have and to see practical examples from civic organizations in the United States.

She is going to use her knowledge and skills in strengthening Colors and other NGO’s that she works with in both Brasov and Sibiu to be able to solve problems. Her field work is going to be in Garcini neighborhood (part of Sacele, a town close to Brasov), target group being the Roma youngsters. She has already done different activities for children in this community and she is interested in extending them to youngsters as well, with the support of local partners.

Ms. Popa special interests are youngsters and topics like leadership, campaign planning (e.g. empowerment) and fundraising. Her hobbies are sports (swimming), blogging, photography, travelling and meeting new people.

Claudia will have her internship at Seed House (Wichita, Kansas).