His Excellency, Mr David Saranga, the Ambassador of the State of Israel to Romania, visited yesterday several beneficiaries of the Hope and Homes for Children programmes and offered 25 tablets to the children and youngsters who nowadays are in great need of support to gain access to the on-line classes. Last year His Excellency ran the Băneasa Forest Run Marathon to support Hope and Homes for Children, this year he continues to offer his assistance and support a common vision – that of a world in which no child suffers the nightmare of institutionalisation.

His Excellency’s visit began at the Hope and Homes for Children head office in Baia Mare, where he discussed with Ștefan Dărăbuș, Director of Global Programmes, and with the whole team about the children and parents from the Foundation’s programs. Discussions focused on the challenges encountered during these times, in the context of the pandemic, when more and more vulnerable families are sinking into extreme poverty – and in the absence of a job and a minimum income, children risk being separated from their parents and end up in state care.

”Children are a symbol of hope, of life, but also an x-ray of the society we live in. If they are cared for and loved, society becomes more prosperous and we all live in a better world. We can fight poverty through education, but for that, every child must have access to it. For us, the State of Israel, a country without many natural resources, human capital is the most precious wealth. We understood that through education we can fight any obstacle and thus we managed to become the innovative state we are today. We hope that with this donation of tablets we will help these children be less vulnerable and give them hope and dignity for a better future.

Congratulations to the Hope and Homes for Children team for your wonderful work, dedication and care in giving children a family and a normal life based on affection and in preventing the separation of children from their family. Your mission is one that brings light and hope to a cruel reality and we will continue to be by your side whenever we have the opportunity,” said His Excellency Mr David Saranga, Ambassador of the State of Israel to Romania.

His Excellency’s visit continued at the Transit, Assistance and Counseling Center for young people leaving the child protection system in Baia Mare. This was followed by a visit to one of the foster care families supported by Hope and Homes for Children since 2008. The family takes care of three children, the eldest of whom has been in their care for 12 years. His Excellency, Mr. David Saranga, ended his visit at the home of a family included in the Programme to prevent the separation of children from their family, where the Foundation supports a single father – with medical problems, who was also raised in the child protection system – to be able to keep his two children home with him.

”When the whole world is under siege from an economic and health crisis triggered by the pandemic, the poorest people and their children are still the most exposed and vulnerable. Often without their own home, in rented apartments that they can barely afford, surviving in makeshift conditions, with income below the poverty limit, these families have the highest risk of separation, and children end up in state care or captive in human trafficking networks. They are not visible, they are not a priority and they risk being ignored, there are millions of them and their number is increasing from day to day. This means that we, those who can speak on their behalf, make them heard and support them to stay together. If, indeed, we believe the saying “children are our future” it means that we are doing nothing more than protecting our future.” said Ștefan Dărăbuș, Director of Global Programmes, Hope and Homes for Children.

Hope and Homes for Children recently launched a social fundraising campaign 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!- 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. As a result of the appeal, we aim 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 talks about waiting, but also about the risk of institutionalisation for children living in poverty. (link HERE). A donation platform – www.pretulbinelui.ro – supports the campaign, where those who want to help can contribute with a monthly donation.

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.

In March this year, more than 4,800 children were still institutionalized 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 program to the DI program – Preventing the separation of children from the family, which stops the entry of other children in the child protection system and in institutions.