We managed to keep more than 750 vulnerable children with their parents.
Because separating children from their parents should not be the price paid for 3 meals a day, for school or for medicine.
According to EUROSTAT, in 2019 one 1 of 3 children in Romania lived with a high risk of poverty and social exclusion; we are the country with the highest number of children affected by poverty in the European Union. In 2020, as the pandemic hit, the situation became increasingly alarming, as families who were already vulnerable were losing their income sources; when families lack the basic tools to survive, more and more children risk being placed in institutions or in state care.
This is why, in 2020, our annual fundraising and communication campaign – The Price of Doing Good – was our wake-up call and the voice of vulnerable children at risk of separation from their family:
Once taken away from home and placed in an orphanage it takes 8 years, on average, for a child to return to their family. This is because the parents need to prove they have financial stability and decent living conditions for the child, which is almost impossible for a family battling poverty to achieve.
This is why it was essential for us in 2020 to focus our interventions on keeping as many children as possible with their parents and away from orphanages. Despite all the distancing, we managed to stay in contact with the families in our programmes and worked closely with local and county authorities in 14 counties – and where social assessments and investigations recommended the placement of children in state care, we intervened. More than 750 children are now at home, because their parents received help at the right time last year.
Our ambassadors delivered our messages even further away and gave a voice to the voiceless children. Although at a distance in 2020, they remained close to us, as they do every year.
On World Orphans Day violinist Alexandru Tomescu, Hope and Homes for Children Ambassador, held an outdoor recital dedicated to all children who undergo or have undergone the trauma of being separated from their parents and of being institutionalised. During his recital, which had no audience, the central fountain in Unirii Square was illuminated in blue, the symbol of Hope and Homes for Children.
2020: about the vulnerability
of families who are already vulnerable.
Crina is now 19 years old and has never been to school. When we were given a book and a school bag, Crina was kept home to help around the house. She is one of the children who has now become and adult and who has never had a chance to get out of poverty, because she did not have access to education.
Crina lives in a trailer with her 3-year-old son and his father, somewhere on the outskirts of Bucharest. Last year she was included in our Programme to prevent the separation of children from their family and we helped them overcome some difficult times, when they did not have enough money to buy food, because the father could not earn enough to cover all the needs of the family.
Last year we succeeded in keeping 265 families together with emergency financial assistance and counselling in our Programme to prevent the separation of children from their family thanks to: PEPCO Romania, Webhelp and SHARED – Webhelp Foundation, Vodafone Foundation, KRUK and DB Global Technology
We had the joy of receiving, in a complicated year, the support of:
- His Excellency, Andrew Noble, UK Ambassador to Bucharest, who housed the launching of our campaign – The Price of Doing Good – at his residence;
- His Excellency, David Saranga, the Ambassador of the State of Israel to Romania, who visited families in our programmes in Baia Mare and offered tablets to the children in order to access online education;
- Our friends, Keo, Alexandra Ungureanu, Alina Eremia, AMI, Lidia Buble, Paula Seling and Liviu Teodorescu, for The most beautiful present given to vulnerable children. A song they sang together, in December, the last month of a year when we all felt vulnerable yet managed to find resources to be generous.
We closed down two orphanages and built two Family Type Homes.
„when we close down an orphanage, not only do we change the lives of tens of children already living there, but we save other hundreds of children who could have ended up there from the trauma of institutionalisation. Each orphanage closed down is a step forward for the reform of the child protection system in Romania – namely it is the concentration of more state resources towards the programmes of prevention of separation of children from families. Only when the fast alternative of placing children in orphanages is eradicated will we have a reform at state level.“
Bianca Stegeran, National Deputy Director
Hope and Homes for Children Romania
„The closure of an institution usually takes two years. We are there for the children and the staff from the moment when we announce them that the institution is going to be closed down, for the entire duration of the process. From the time when the news is shared until the children’s belongings are moved and the monitoring of the adjustment period, each step is a process in itself. Many children are scared first at the thought of the move, they even refuse to move, because they need – maybe more than any other children – stability. Any change can destabilize them. This is why it is so important to be there in all key-moments and to prepare them for the life in Family Type Homes.“
Anamaria Vid-Pop, Psychologist, Manager of Education and Therapy Department
Hope and Homes for Children Romania
In 2020 we closed down two orphanages – „Sfinții Arhangheli Mihail și Gavril”, in Solca and „Speranța”, in the municipality of Suceava – in cooperation with the local and county authorities. A total of 29 children moved in two Family Type Homes built and in three Family Type Apartments renovated by Hope and Homes for Children for them. The deinstitutionalisation process has ended in Suceava County once the two institutions were closed down.
Family Type Homes are the last resort used for closing down an old-type institution. In identifying the best alternatives for the children in institutions, our psychologists start by assessing the chances of reintegration in birth or extended families. Wherever possible, we make all the efforts so that a child can return home. We support families from the material point of view and, many times, we need to improve the living conditions.
We reintegrated children
in birth or extended families
as we closed down orphanages.
„Many institutionalised children who return home have kept in touch with their families in time, but poverty prevented parents or grandparents from demonstrating that children can be safe at home. Here is where we intervene, if, following the social inquiry, we appreciate that the children are wanted in their families and the parents are responsible. For many reintegrations we renovated homes, sometimes we built or renovated 100% the homes, we provided furniture and focused on children’s rooms. The conditions in which children study represent an important aspect when it comes to preventing school abandonment.” Radu Tohătan, Manager of Social Work Department, Hope and Homes for Children Romania
Sometimes, life says no in a very decisive way and you just cannot fight it. Leo had to give up 3 of his 7 children to be placed in state care after, years after years, he fought to provide for his family and take care of his children as a single parent, following his wife’s demise. Alina, Tatiana and Luca spent six years in placement, but all this time they kept in touch with their father, who wanted them back. The other four children were already on their own, but Leo’s fight continued: he had to prove that he could provide the necessary conditions for these three children so that he could take them back.
Finally, Leo received social housing, but in a very derelict state. The children were never given back to him and, in these conditions, he had no resources to renovate the apartment.
In order for 64 children who lived in orphanages to get back home, in the year of distancing we had Alphega Pharmacies/Alliance Healthcare Romania together with us. Marius Manole, Ambassador of Hope and Homes for Children Romania, spoke in a LIVE interview on Facebook with Omid Ghannadi about generosity and other ways of support and about how each one of us received, at one point in time, a helping hand that made the difference.
We build Family Type Homes and the concept of “Home” for institutionalised children.
Join us to see what a Family Type Home means and why children call it Home from the moment they move in. Why 12 children in a house means Home, compared to 60, 80,maybe 100 children in an old-type institution, where – as children say – the “law of the jungle” applies.
Mihai Morar, who joined us last year, as Ambassador, was a good host:
„As Ambassador for Hope and Homes for Children Romania, I will fight so that my daughters Mara, Cezara and Roua do not remain with the same childhood memory as I did: another child, behind the bars of an orphanage, with a teddy bear in his arms, begging to be saved.”
More on Mihai’s thoughts as Ambassador of vulnerable children can be found here:
131 youngsters received our support at the beginning of their independent lives
„For the youngsters who live in state care, already traumatized by a childhood spent without parental love, without a family, taking the step into independent living is very rough: they do not have anybody to turn to, no family, friends or relatives. Actually, for them it is now that the difficulties really start. And if they do not have any type of support, no matter how small, they have very little chances to succeed in a society that wants them adapted to something that they had not been prepared for: living on their own.” Radu Tohătan, Manager of Social Work Department, Hope and Homes for Children Romania
Cristina and her daughter moved, without support, in a cosy and clean studio last autumn. When we first met them, they were living in difficult conditions, in a room with broken windows and no heating. The cold season had arrived and Ana was a baby, she was not safe at all. Ever since, we have been alongside Cristina and we have been covering rent, food and mains costs, as well as anything else she might need so that things are fine and the mother can continue boxing at a high level. Ana has just started kindergarten and Cristina can now work and provide for her daughter.
We could be alongside Cristina with the support of Kaufland Romania.
We are building a second Transit Centre for the youngsters who leave the system.
„A transit centre means a two-year break, a time in which youngsters can start living independently. Once they left the institution at the age of 18 and have nobody to turn to and no material support, they have here a place to stay and food, but more importantly, they have here somebody to support them in finding a job and in understanding, gradually, that they can live on their own, through their own efforts. I spoke to many such youngsters. And each of them told me that a place to stay and a person to listen to them and help them start their lives were their salvation.” Ștefan Dărăbuș, Director of Global Programmes, Hope and Homes for Children
Together with Kaufland Romania we are building in Botosani the second transit centre – with a capacity of 10 studios – for the most vulnerable youngsters in Romania.
„The social and professional reinsertion of the young care-leavers is an essential component of the reform of the child protection system in Romania. Our initiative to build transit centres started from the severe lack of support from the state for these youngsters. Unprepared and left on their own after a lifetime spent in institutions, they cannot handle day-to-day tasks. They have weekly developed communication skills, reduced self-esteem, behaviour issues and attitude-related issues. They have challenges in initiating meaningful relations and are at risk of being exploited because they are vulnerable.”
Bianca Stegeran, National Deputy Director
Hope and Homes for Children Romania
Starting with 2020, over 2,000 youngsters were supported to start an independent life, on their own, through our interventions.
350 amateur athletes ran from their homes in Team Hope
The past year came with many lessons and one of them was that distancing can actually bring us closer, that people can be united, even if they are separated. United for Good Deeds.
With the support of Galantom platform, 130 volunteer fundraisers mobilised in 2020 for the children at risk of being separated from their parents and gathered around them over 600 individual donors and companies. 350 people chose to exercise individually in Bucharest Virtual Marathon and Uniqua Virtual Run. And not even the lockdown managed to stop them, because the Livingroom Sports Games brought a challenge to our amateur athletes in their own homes.
In a complicated year, over 76,000 EUR were raised through the Team Hope community, for 90 children which we supported with the help of Good people.
In the first 2020 virtual marathon, Uniqa Virtual Run, over 250 Good people from the Genpact Europe, JYSK Romania and DB Global Technology teams ran together in the month of August for the children who fight with extreme poverty. Henkel Romania and Skanska Romania joined Team Hope in 2020. Thank you!
Joining a running initiative for Cosmin,
the A-student from Ferentari!
Omid Ghannadi, Adi Nartea and Cosmin Stan mobilised 3 teams of runners and Galantom-fundraisers in October, within the Bucharest Marathon Virtual Run event for Cosmin, so that he gets the chance to study in better conditions. Vladimir Drăghia, Alex Călin and many other Good people joined, as well as George Ivan, part of the JYSK Romania team and tireless supported of Team Hope.
Omid Ghanadi spread the word to everyone for Cosmin, at Bucharest Marathon 2020:
15,000 EUR were raised in the Bucharest Marathon Virtual Run event for Cosmin in 2020. This encouraged us to continue and do whatever we can to move Cosmin, in 2021, from 12 square meters and a ghetto area into an apartment with two rooms, in a quiet neighbourhood.
Thank you, fine people, from a less fine year!
over 20 million lei invested in 2020 for vulnerable children.
Income sources (RON)
|Funds from international network||8.096.304||38.94%|
|Funds attracted from Romania||9.719.813||46.75%|
|Sponsorships from companies, foundations, organisations||7.775.805|
|Events/ campaigns/ donations from individuals||1.355.555|
|Development and creation of family-type residential services||9.925.279|
|Training and technical assistance||401.480|
|Prevention of separation of children from their families||1.947.198|
|Social and professional reinsertion of young care-leavers||1.002.347|
|Family reintegration, support for children in communities||771.520|
|Increasing the children’s quality of life in foster care, Family Type Homes etc.||607.289|