September 2020, Bistrița-Năsăud. Hope and Homes for Children, with the financial support of Rombat, starts the construction of the sixth family-type home in Bistrița-Năsăud County, in Unirea, where 12 of the children and young people with severe disabilities from the “Bistrita” Institution for children with special needs will live. The project continues the partnership with the Bistrița-Năsăud County Council and with the Bistrița-Năsăud CPD for the closure of old-type institutions, this being the last institution for children with special needs in the county. Once the construction work is completed, at the end of 2021, JYSK Romania will furnish the rooms and common areas of the house.

Hope and Homes for Children has been working since 2018 to close the “Bistrița” Institution, inhabited by 37 children and young people with severe special needs. The closure of this institution will require the construction of three family-type home, this being the first of them. Given the severe disabilities of the children and young people who will move into this house after the completion of the construction work, they will remain here for life, without having to move again to another institution once they turn 18. Reintegration into birth and extended families or placement in foster care are not viable solutions for these children.

As part of the process of closing the institution, Hope and Homes for Children also provides training courses to the CPD staff (social workers, educators, foster carers, management team, etc.) who will work in the family-type homes, to ensure the best possible environment for children and young people.

Rombat, a company member of the Metair Investment Limited group in South Africa and the only car battery manufacturer in Romania, supports the construction of the sixth family-type home in Bistrița-Năsăud with a sponsorship of 50,000 Euros.

“Rombat greatly appreciates the activity of Hope and Homes for Children, dedicated to disadvantaged children, children without a family, without a home and without too many prospects for the future. We are glad that there is someone who thinks of them, someone who wishes them a better life and facilitates their integration into society. On behalf of the Rombat employees, we thought of helping out with the construction of the sixth home in Bistrița-Năsăud County for these children. For us it is a special project and we want to contribute to the joy that will surely be offered to them by a better life.” – Ioan Repede, Rombat General Director

Hope and Homes for Children started the process of closing down orphanages in Bistrița-Năsăud County in 2011. In nine years, in partnership with the Bistrița-Năsăud County Council and CPD, the Foundation closed “Teaca” and “Năsăud” institutions, in which 126 children were residing. Hope and Homes for Children specialists evaluated each child individually in an attempt to find the most suitable housing and care alternatives after the closure of the institutions and has so far built 5 family-type homes in which 57 children and young people live, as they are those who cannot return to their birth families.

“The care we offer our children is the care we give to the future. After completing 5 family-type homes that provide children with warmth and protection, together with Hope and Homes for Children we are now laying a foundation for another such home. The value of what we do goes beyond money and touches these children’s souls, their development and their future. I am glad that, together with Hope and Homes for Children, we are laying a strong foundation for vulnerable children and our partnership will not stop here. We have the responsibility to continue this process.” – Radu Moldovan, President of the Bistrița-Năsăud County Council

At national level, approximately 6,500 children, most of them with special needs, are still institutionalised in more than 160 overcrowded institutions. Children arrive in these institutions after being abandoned at birth, because of poverty, because they were removed from abusive environments, because they were sent to special schools and thus placed in the institution for the duration of their studies or because they have severe special needs that the parents cannot cope with.

“For nine years, the lives of children condemned to living in institutions have been transformed in Bistrita. We have almost 170 children rescued from orphanages and the third institution that we are closing, together with our colleagues from Bistrița-Năsăud CPD and County Council. Apart from the family-type homes we have built and are building, there are children reintegrated with their families, there are those we have supported to remain with their parents, or the young people we have helped to become independent. It is a whole reform process, not at all easy to implement, which our partners here have undertaken, together with us. We work as a team and the hundreds of children saved are well worth every day of the nine years so far, as well as the years to come. My gratitude to Rombat and JYSK for contributing to transforming these children’s destinies.” – Ștefan Dărăbuș, Regional Director, Central and Southern Europe, Hope and Homes for Children

So far, together with its partners, Hope and Homes for Children has built 110 family-type homes in 20 counties in Romania. Hope and Homes for Children aims to close down 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 deinstitutionalization programme, is the prevention of separating children from their family, which stops the entry of other children in state care and in institutions.