At the end of June 2020, construction work began for the first family-type home that Hope and Homes for Children is developing together with Kaufland Romania in Iași. Once the construction work is completed, 12 children from the “Ion Holban” Institution in Iași will move into it. The institution is being closed down as part of the partnership between Hope and Homes for Children, CPD Iași and Iași County Council. The Foundation aims to close the institution by the end of 2022.

The partnership between Hope and Homes for Children and Iași CPD for the closure of “Ion Holban” Institution was initiated in 2014. At the moment, there are 65 children inhabiting this institution, each child being assessed by the Hope and Homes for Children and CPD specialists in the attempt of finding the most suitable placement alternatives for them, once the institution is closed. Until the end of 2021, 12 of the children will move in the first family-type home developed by Hope and Homes for Children and Kaufland Romania and another 12 children will move into the second family-type home, to be built in Iași.

Hope and Homes for Children and Kaufland Romania have been collaborating since 2014, and at the moment they are working together based on a strategic partnership through which the company is supporting the Foundation’s programme to close down old-type institutions in Iași County. The partnership period is between 2020 and 2022 and is worth 440,000 euros, funds that cover the construction of two family-type homes in which 24 children will be moved from the “Ion Holban” Institution in Iași.

In the family-type homes there are 10 to 12 children who receive care, education, emotional support and counselling for the development of independent living skills and, where possible, they are prepared for social and professional integration. Above all, children live in an environment as close as possible to a family.

“Today we start the construction of a new home for 12 children who do not know the warmth of a home. A house is more than four walls and a roof; a house harbours the hopes, dreams, good moments, but also the trying moments of those who live in it – all the elements that turn a house into a home. We at Kaufland Romania believe in the mission of Hope and Homes for Children to provide a home for all children in orphanages and we support the Foundation’s efforts, believing that involvement makes a difference.” – Anna Katharina Scheidereiter, CSR manager Kaufland Romania

Hope and Homes for Children started the process of closing the institutions in Iași County in 2014. At that time, “Ion Holban” Institution was the largest one in the country. Since its activity in Iași County began, the Foundation, in partnership with CPD Iași, has closed the “Veniamin Costache” Institution (in 2018) and the institution within the “Sfântul Spiridon” Social Services Complex in Târgu Frumos (in 2019).

“From time to time and unfortunately far too rarely, there are people and companies who, through their civic involvement, have a catalytic role, change destinies, change communities. This is what I think is happening with this partnership between Hope and Homes for Children and Kaufland Romania. For 6 years now, we have been building together not only homes for vulnerable children and young people, but models of corporate and individual social responsibility. Through their effects, such partnerships become paradigm shifts for their beneficiaries and a real chance at a life in which words like family or love actually have meaning.” – Ștefan Dărăbuș, Regional Director, Central and Southern Europe, Hope and Homes for Children

Iași is the county where there are currently the highest number of old-type institutions and children in state care in Romania. In 1997, there were 35 institutions in the county, where more than 5,000 children were institutionalised. In 2019, there were only 9 institutions remaining in the county.

“In 2000 we had 5,000 children in the residential system, and now we have about 800 children, half of them in old-type residential institutions and about 400 in family-type apartments or houses. The partnership with Hope and Homes for Children Romania is a successful one and has been going on for several years. Together with them we closed two large institutions in the county: “Veniamin Costache” Institution and the one in Târgu Frumos. Following this public-private partnership model, together with Hope and Homes for Children we built 4 family-type homes and now we begin the construction work for the fifth one.” – Florin Ion, General Director, CPD Iași

Hope and Homes for Children aims to close all old-type institutions in Romania and eliminate institutionalisation as a form of child protection. To date, Hope and Homes for Children has invested more than 35 million euros in reforming the child protection system, closing old-type institutions, reintegrating children into the birth or extended family, placing them in the care of professional foster carers or in family-type homes. Another important programme, complementary to the deinstitutionalisation programme, is the prevention of separating children from their family, which stops the entry of other children in state care and in institutions.