Hope and Homes for Children recently launched a social fundraising campaign – a wake-up call.

Hope and Homes for Children is launching a social fundraising campaign as a wake-up call concerning the increasing number of children who are at risk of being separated from their parents and end up in state care, given the pandemic and the extreme poverty in which vulnerable families sink, in the absence of a job. With the message “Extreme poverty gradually separates children from their parents, until the separation is complete. Send HOPE to 8844 and help them remain together!” the Foundation aims to support 1,600 children at risk and their families through integrated interventions, to keep children safe at home in the future. The video spot that accompanies the campaign, created in collaboration with director Tom Wilson, talks about waiting, but also about the risk of institutionalisation for children living in poverty.

Recently, World Bank announced that extreme poverty is increasing for the first time in the last 22 years and estimated that the effects of the pandemic will push towards extreme poverty between 88 and 115 million people during this year alone, especially in countries facing increase poverty rates, such as Romania. Given that in 2019, Romania already ranked first in the EU, according to EUROSTAT, with 1 in 3 children living at risk of poverty and social exclusion, the situation is becoming increasingly alarming: in the absence of the basics to survive – a roof over their heads, the heat in winter or at least one meal a day – children are separated from their parents and inevitably end up in foster care or in special forms of protection.

A donation platform – www.pretulbinelui.ro – supports the campaign where those who want to help can make a monthly donation for 3 meals a day, a month’s rent, the wood necessary for one family during the winter – and other interventions that can make a major difference in the fight to survive for a poor family. Each helping hand matters, so that, as alternative placement and care solutions are found for children still left in orphanages, others do not take their place.

The campaign was launched as part of a small, outdoor event, housed by His Excellency the UK Ambassador to Bucharest, Andrew Noble, during which the video spot of the campaign premiered. The new Hope and Homes for Children Ambassador, journalist Mihai Morar, was announced and he is joining the Ambassadors’ team that includes Amalia Enache, Marius Manole and Alexandru Tomescu.

“I don’t think we would ever want to imagine our childhood without parents and without a family. Then why would we accept this reality for the tens of thousands of children around us? If we know how terrible the consequences of institutionalisation are on children, if we understand the extent of the traumas of their separation from their parents, then we cannot be part of such dramas, even remotely. If you don’t want this to happen to your loved ones, let’s do something for children exposed to such misfortune: help them stay with their parents. Very few things can be more important than that.” said Ștefan Dărăbuș, Director of Global Programmes, Hope and Homes for Children

In March this year, almost 5,000 children were still institutionalised nationwide, in 166 institutions (according to NAPCRA). For over 20 years, Hope and Homes for Children Romania has been contributing to the closure of old-type institutions, in collaboration with local authorities and, at the same time, is implementing a complementary programme to the DI programme – Preventing the separation of children from the family, which stops the entry of other children in the child protection system and in institutions.