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The beauty of unconventional charity

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Charity. Community. Help, by means of money or others. When you hear the word charity, the first thing to come into your head is the image of some men dressed in fancy costumes, which donate to different associations, during different times. But what if there was another picture which could be painted when you hear the word charity?

Cluj-Napoca is the place where a nonconformist NGO, called Beard Brothers, was born in the year 2013. One may ask, what is so nonconformist about this association or simply, what is it about it? A number of guys, all with beards, maybe considered hipsters and… is that it? What is their connection with the community and what do they do exactly?

These guys, all of them with beards, some with tattoos and some flash piercings in their ears, want to help people. This association took birth in order to provide a change in both the mentality and the community, and in order to help people, without concentrating on the appearances or even the age of those involved. Becoming more of a family, instead of an association, the work these guys do is voluntary, as they do not obtain any financial benefits from it. But even so, as it has been shown in many cases, the benefits which are offered by what they do cannot be replaced by money or objects. Happiness is what they get in return of their actions and it has driven them a long way ahead.

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In terms of ways in which they help people, this happens through different campaigns, which address people of all ages. For example, through their first campaign, with different sustainers and people who just wanted to help, they managed to raise clothes, toys and food for 2 child care centers, a day care for elder people and six families who needed help in Cluj-Napoca and in the villages near the city. Through different other campaigns, they managed to buy a bus for the Special Kindergarten from Cluj-Napoca, to raise money for Eduard, a little boy diagnosed with cancer, who is now totally recovered and healthy or raise money for a roller skating team, in order for them to get to the world championship from Geneva. Sometimes, one can say that small gestures are those which really count, and this might also be considered the slogan for the “Catch a smile day”. Offer a flower to a random person on the street, a balloon to somebody, even if that person is not a child, offer to buy a sandwich for someone who cannot afford it. Whatever you choose to do, make sure it is out of compassion.

Which is their biggest achievement? Being where they are at this very moment and the fact that through their campaigns, they managed to provide help is more than enough. And knowing that people smile whenever they see you is more than a pay-off. Nothing is more sincere than the smile of a person whose day you have managed to make brighter with a simple gesture.

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