“Professor Dorothy J. Tarrant, retired Professor from Eastern Nazarene College was honored on New Year’s Eve Day 2021 by receiving an MBE by her Majesty Queen Elizabeth. An MBE is The Most Excellent Order of the British Empire is a British order of chivalry, rewarding contributions to the arts and sciences, work with charitable and welfare organisations, and public service outside the civil service.
The award was unknown to Dorothy as her Godson, Joshua Ilie Powers, (a Romanian child abandoned at a week old at Orphanage #1) that Lynn fell in love with and adopted, had sent a request to Prince Charles making a request that she be honored. In 1993 Dorothy traveled to București, România along with Lynn A. Powers and eight ENC College Students as a sponsored Pilot Semester Program to work with the elderly and children.
The elders were housed at Spital Zece (Hospital #1) and the children at Orphanage #1. The students took classes as well as volunteer 16 hrs a week at either one location or both. Dorothy oversaw the students with the elderly and Lynn oversaw and developed the Orphanage Based Program. ENC found that the Pilot was a success and remained involved until 2001. Students from various Christian Colleges continued to send their students for a once in a lifetime experience.
Dorothy remained in România moving the program to Sighișoara, România located in the Transylvanian Mountains.
According to the biography written after the Program’s name was changed from the Romanian Studies Program to Veritas Sighișoara, here is more information regarding Dorothy.
The history of Veritas goes back to the summer of 1995 when Dorothy Tarrant, a British professor of social work, came to live in Sighisoara and to establish the Romanian Studies Program. The RSP was a program of Eastern Nazarene College near Boston, Massachusetts, that provided American college and university students with the opportunity to spend a semester in Romania, to live with a Romanian family, to study the language and culture, and to serve disadvantaged people in the community. Tarrant’s strategy was to find local Romanian Christians willing to work alongside her students, caring for abandoned infants in the town hospital, providing a safe place for learning and play for children found begging on the streets, and visiting isolated elderly.
Groups of students came and went. Their Romanian translators, high school graduates who knew English well, provided continuity. The translators learned the satisfaction that comes from helping others and began to assume more and more responsibility in the programs that were developing and growing for children, teenagers and seniors. Some of them accepted the opportunity to go to university, their fees paid by foreign donors, and earned degrees in social work, psychology, education, accounting, law.
Tarrant began to sense the need of a non-profit organization in order to be able to pay salaries and taxes, to buy property, to write grants and solicit funds. In 2001 Veritas was legally registered as a Romanian NGO, with Tarrant as the executive director and president of a local board of directors. The name Veritas, a Latin word meaning truth, was chosen to identify the NGO as a group of people seeking to live as disciples of Jesus who is the way, the truth and the life.
In 2001 Veritas had two buildings, the Family Center where social programs took place for children and families, hot meals were served and material aid distributed, and the House on the Rock, a five-story house dating from the 17th century, which hosted educational programs and activities promoting intercultural exchange. This historic building, situated on the main square of the Citadel, Sighisoara’s medieval center, gave a lot of visibility to Veritas and allowed it to begin organizing and hosting cultural and spiritual events for the benefit of the community.
In 2001 Eastern Nazarene College ended its sponsorship of the program it had started in Sighisoara. Tarrant chose to stay in Sighisoara and keep the Romanian Studies Program and Veritas going independent of American institutional support. Two grants from USAID (United States Agency for International Development) confirmed that decision by providing funding to develop educational services at House on the Rock and then for the start-up of a program to combat domestic violence.
Meanwhile the RSP has continued to provide support for Veritas, as dedicated students bring skills, energy, fresh ideas and financial support into the organization. Since its beginning the RSP has brought over 500 students and volunteers to Sighisoara.
As Romania was preparing to join the European Union in 2007, national standards were developed for social services. Veritas gained accreditation from Mures county authorities in 2006 for its programs for children and families, for the elderly, for persons with special needs and for victims of domestic violence. Accreditation has been renewed in 2009 and 2012. Accredited services must have staff with appropriate credentials, and Veritas has succeeded in assembling a dedicated team with professional qualifications, half of whom have worked for Veritas for more than ten years.
Although the Program was handed over to the Romanian Staff in 2010, it was always the plan to do so. Dorothy remained in Romania ensuring grants were submitted. She also spent several months on the Baltic Highway teaching Syrian Refugees English. She retired to her homeland Scotland a few years ago but is still involved via zoom with staff from Veritas.
When speaking with her on New Years Day she was humbled by the award. Josh was excited beyond words that his Godmother got the recognition she so warmly deserved.”
This article was contributed by Josh Powers, Dorothy’s adopted Romanian son.