Annual Report 2021 - Hope and Homes for Children Skip to content

What do children lose when they have already lost too much?

A Hope and Homes for Children Annual Report about Human Dignity. And about the struggle to ensure and regain it.

Dignity cannot wait for better times.

Our dear friends, we wanted to start with a quote from Alberto Cairo because it expresses the gravity of the social and political events that have happened during the last months and the need for us to get involved not only up to the border, but also beyond it. The war does not only shatters lives, dreams and homes, but it can mutilate the human personality, its values, the reason of someone left, all of a sudden, alone in front of a whole world full of strangers, where every instinct is cancelled by the urge to survive.

#IAmHereForTheChildrenFromUkraineOrphanages

In the middle of the fighting, there were approximately 100,000 children in Ukraine orphanages. Some of them have already arrived in Romania, others will arrive in the following months. They are our priority during this period of time:

Where and how will they be able to sleep?

What do they eat?

What do they wear?

How do they find something to be happy about?

How are they taken care of and caressed?

During March and April 2022, we supported 230 Ukrainian children. Once they arrived in Romania, they were taken over by the Child Protection Department from Bucharest, Iași, Prahova and Brașov counties.

In the same period of time we helped more than 1,000 Ukrainian children and adults sheltered in the emergency reception centers for refugees, supporting them with: beds, mattresses, bedding, blankets, daily warm meals, we made sure we had on going presence at the borders from Sighet and Siret in the Blue Dot Centers supporting the refugees with whatever they needed, we payed for accommodation and transportation outside Romania and during the first week of war we sent medicine, medical supplies and kits, 1,4 tons of fresh fruits and vegetables, as well as mattresses and sleeping bags to Ukraine through the Sighet border.

During the first weeks of war we offered financial, logistical and human support totalizing over 100,000 Euros. Because our heart and yours as well is big enough to comprise both our vulnerable children and theirs.

Thank you all: UiPath FoundationNN RomaniaFondation de FranceBanca TransilvaniaAlliance HealthcareJYSK, Think Human Foundation, Webhelp RomaniaTDCXCarl von Linde Foundation.

Dignity cannot be regained from one day to another.

The fight against poverty is actually the fight for dignity and it has to be constant; it is a long process that needs supported programmes. In other words: ”one swallow doesn’t make a summer”. Nor a sporadic help. The support that changes lives is constant, targeted, offered from the heart.

For the last 23 years, we offer dignity to Romanian children and their families, day by day, month by month, offering them our support by:

  • Improving feelings of own identity, independence, privacy – by closing the orphanages and opening family type homes63 orphanages were closed and other 10 orphanages are in the process of being closed down; 1,792 children were taken back to their homes; 116 family type homes became a ”home” for almost 1,400 children;
  • Increasing the financial stability and medical safety within marginalised families, trying to prevent the separation of children from their parents38,000 children were able to remain with their families due to our interventions;
  • Teaching and raising the trust of young adults who, at the age of 18, must leave the child protection system – due to our supported independent living programmes: for the last 23 years more than 2,000 young adults have received our support;
  • In 2021 we started the fourth intervention pillar – building the first center for integrated community services in Brașov County.

 

What does a family type home mean for the dignity of children?

See what that means for Ștefan, a student in acting school in Sibiu county, one of the children for whom “home” is the family type home from Piatra Neamț county, built by Hope and Homes for Children some years ago. You can read Ștefan’s story on republica.ro.

For us that means normality. The normality of a home where you can have privacy and freedom, where you can receive guests for Christmas and not only during the holidays and also to try something new in the kitchen.

In 2021, our priority remained the closure of the orphanages.

You cannot ask a child to keep his head up when the sadness is overwhelming and the humiliation lowered his shoulders for days, months and years in a row. At the same time, you cannot ask him to walk in front of the row when the lack of a family and disorientation are pulling him back all the time. Orphanages have a negative impact upon children’s physical, social, and intellectual development.

Without a constant and structured support, without a home that can offer him dignity, privacy, independence, the poor or alone and abandoned child will be the adult friend of crime, indifference and human degradation.

It is difficult to imagine what these children are going through. But there are emotions that you are familiar with. If you have ever experienced the fear of loss or abandonment, you know what is there, in the heart of the children from orphanages, day after day.

In 2021:

  • We closed down 3 orphanages in Bucharest, District 4 (Robin Hood), Neamț county (“Elena Doamna” institution), Bihor county (Institution no. 2, Oradea town);
  • 128 children left the orphanages. 65 of them returned home to their parents or grandparents;
  • We opened 4 family type homes in Bucharest, Neamț, Oradea and Sibiu counties. 48 children are now regaining their dignity through independence and autonomy: they are learning to cook, to wash their clothes, to take care of their room, spend a birthday just like in a real family; they are watching movies in the living room, are preparing the Easter eggs together or making Christmas cookies. In other words, they have access to normality.

We thank our partners: Kaufland Romania, LPP Fashion Romania, Association of Real Estate InvestorsJYSKCarl von Linde FoundationHolcim RomaniaAlliance Healthcare.

Dignity needs clothes, a warm meal and a home.
In 2021, we helped 1,779 children to remain at home.

We all know what poverty means. However, there is extreme poverty, a threshold beyond which people alienate their soul and integrity and children risk to be separated from their parents.

A reality we live with every day, at Hope and Homes for Children, is that there are one million people in Romania currently living in isolated communities, in the so-called poverty pockets, where there are several hundreds of thousands of children with no access to running water, electricity, or any kind of infrastructure, or to heating. These are children who sleep in the mud, who are born in shacks and at least 80% of their parents are torn from their children not by choice, but by having no other way.

– ȘTEFAN DĂRĂBUȘ, DIRECTOR GLOBAL DE PROGRAME, HOPE AND HOMES FOR CHILDREN

On average, a child who enters an institution will remain there for about 8 years; their reintegration process is difficult. If poverty was the cause for this separation, the parents hardly manage to overcome their huge challenges in order to prove they can provide the child with decent living conditions. In many cases, a rehabilitated home, one that is renovated and equipped with furniture, can bring the children back home.

In 2021, we helped 1,779 children to remain at home and this would not have happened without your help!

Cosmin’s story is about the power of community.

Cosmin lived in one of the most disadvantaged areas in Bucharest, in a 12 sqm apartment. In spite of all the shortcomings, of the fact that he saw his mother fight cancer and his father dying of the same illness, the boy knew that it was only education that could save him. He did not abandon school, on the contrary: in 2020 he was admitted to Sfântul Sava College with a 10 out of 10 grade.

Cosmin was included in our programme to prevent the separation of children from their family. Together with the increasingly bigger community that gathered around him, we managed to buy him a two-room apartment, far away from Ferentari. An apartment that “Extreme Makeover – Home Edition” transformed into a warm and welcoming home.

For all the positive stories we thank you and our partners: ProTVGenpactKaufland RomaniaAlliance HealthcareWorld BankVodafone FoundationBanca TransilvaniaTerapiaPepcoFildas TradingB&B CollectionSynevoCoca ColaJanssen RomaniaCollonade InsuranceStrauss RomaniaSamsung Electronics.

Dignity requires equal opportunities.
Only after you know “What will you eat and where will you sleep?” you can have an answer to “What do you want to be when you grow up?”

You cannot know “What do you want to do in life?” or “What are you good at?” or at least “Would you manage?” if the questions you always had to find answers to were completely different.

When faced with financial issues or abandonment, a child learns to survive instead of learning what changes to make in order to find a good path in life.

At the age of 18, when they suddenly have to become adults, they need to leave the child protection system well-enough equipped: they need to be resilient, perseverant, to create and have role models, to build a CV, to know how to answer a job interview, to know how to ask questions or how to make requests, to be disciplined and so on. This is where we come in:

We supported 137 young adults to be part of a society, instead of merely surviving in it.

We helped with material support: paying for rent and utilities, covering basic needs (such as food or hygiene, clothing, footwear, dental interventions), providing recommendations to find employment, training sessions and psychological support and specialized counselling in order to create the basis for a successful integration on the labour market and in the community.

Marina is 21 years old and has been in the child protection system for the same amount of time. She grew up in foster care, then in an orphanage and, for the past few years, she has lived in the Cavalerii Family-Type Home that we built in Bucharest, District 4. Until the 10th grade, she attended a special school, but she was out of place among her schoolmates: she learnt a lot more quickly. She decided to transfer to a high school in the 10th grade and she graduated from high school last summer with the highest grade in school.

Marina is now studying to become a social worker. She became a university student last summer, with an 8.9 grade out of 10. She says she wants to become a social worker because she wants to change the system she grew up in.

Team Hope Partners: Kaufland RomaniaGenpactJYSK, LPP Fashion România, MazarsStrauss RomaniaSoftelligenceEmiaCOSTurbomecanicaRSM.

Each of us has a story, each of us overcomes challenges. With that in mind, 14 youngsters who are preparing to leave the child protection system participated in a camp in Șuior, Maramureș county, in August 2021. It was a week in which they met different people who succeeded in life, but their success did not come easily. They made the children understand that not everyone has it easy, that negative emotions are normal and we need to accept and understand them.

Thank you: NN RomaniaKaufland Romania, Think Huma Foundation, Webhelp Romania, LPP Fashion Romania.

We are building the first integrated community centre in Codlea, Brașov County. Because people need acceptance and inclusion, not just money.

The fight against poverty does not happen every once in a while, it is a constant process that needs to be consolidated by education and inclusion at all times. This is why Hope and Homes for Children is building the first community centre in Codlea, in Mălin, a marginalised community where children run the greatest risk of being separated from their family. It is the fourth intervention pillar that we build as part of the process to reform the child protection system in Romania, a reform that is based on preventing the separation of children from their family.

The community centre is a pioneering investment in social protection in Romania, with a holistic approach in meeting the needs of vulnerable communities.

What services will provide the community centre?
  • Medical assistance
  • Social assistance
  • Day centre
  • Hygiene centre
How do we estimate the impact?

Over a 20-year period, we estimate that 3,500 people, of which 70% are children, will benefit from the services of a team consisting in social workers, psychologists, health mediators, educators, and school mediators.

Many of these children live in extreme poverty, in unsuitable homes, with no proper food or heating, with no access to medicines or medical services and at risk of early school abandonment. By building an Integrated Service Centre within this community will mean raising the quality of life for them and their families and, consequently, the assurance that they would be able to remain at home and far from orphanages.

We were lucky to have with us our partners from Kaufland România, main supporter of the Foundation in the process of reforming the child protection system in Romania.

We launched With the heart on the sleeve, a podcast in which we speak openly about parents and children, verticality and vulnerability.

With the heart on the sleeve is a podcast produced by Hope and Homes for Children and hosted by Amalia Enache, PROTV journalist, mother and Hope and Homes for Children Ambassador.

Each episode of the podcast brings forward difficult subjects, sometimes taboo for far too many people: fears regarding drugs or other addictions, how to get closer to children, even when they leave home, vulnerability of mothers and children during the first years of life, and also the challenges of single parents.

The first season of the podcast was launched in 2021 and included 7 episodes, being produced with the support of ParkLake Shopping Centre. In March 2022, together with Amalia, we launched season 2 of the podcast, in partnership with UiPath Foundation.

You can watch here the dialogues With the heart on the sleeve, a podcast on the most serious game: the game of being a parent, for parents and children alike, but also for parents and children for whom poverty changes the game completely.

In order to show that we are not oblivious to their losses, to tell them you can do it, kid! and to support everything we started, we need your help:

Thank you helping us provide Dignity in 2021, as well!

Over 15 million lei invested in 2021 in our interventions in closing down orphanages, keeping children with their parents and supporting the most vulnerable youngsters to have a good start in in life:

Income sources (RON)

Funds from international network 5.443.510 34.57%
Funds from Romania 10.226.464 64.95%
Sponsorships from companies, foundations and organisations 7.447.620
In-kind donations 317.077
Events/ campaigns/ donations from individuals 1.947.474
Various donations 514.293
EU funds 75.876 0.48%

Expenditure projects (RON)

Expenditure projects (RON) 12.500.090 79.41%
Development and establishing family-type residential services 5.691.640
Training and technical assistance 430.604
Preventing the separation of children from their families 2.199.246
Young care-leavers support 1.179.622
Family reintegration, support for children in communities 999.740
Increasing the quality of life for children in foster families and in family type homes 1.999.238
Administrative expenses 3.164.280 20.10%
EU funds 75.876 0.48%
Total expenses 15.740.246 100%

Over 20,000 individual and business donors provided a chance to DIGNITY for vulnerable children. Thank you!

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