The long rule of dictator Nicolae Ceausescu and his police state was overthrown in 1989. Former communists dominated the government until 1996 when they were swept from power. Romania joined NATO in 2004 and the EU in 2007.
Romanian orphanages became a byword for neglect in the early 1990s, when the world saw conditions in these squalid institutions for the first time. The children’s empty faces and emaciated bodies shocked all who saw them.
Our aim was to help children who lived in the institutions to grow up in a normal family setting. Despite being labelled as ‘learning disabled’ and being ridiculed for wasting effort and resources on children who “could not be helped”, we wanted children to be taught in mainstream schools. The lack of early care and stimulation was to blame, not their innate abilities.
We opened a home in Tirgu Mures with 12 children. Over the years, others joined the family, some just a few days old, others needing specialist care and medical attention. Our commitment was to treat each child as a special individual so they would all know they belong and are loved.
As the children grew into young men and women, they moved under supervision into two independent-living flats. Today all of our young people have successfully navigated school and, for some, university life, and are living independently
Romania as a nation has also been on a transformative journey over the years. The post-Communist chaos in which we began our work is long gone. Romania is now a developing middle-income country, and has been a member of the European Union for almost ten years. As Global Care seeks to work with the poorest and most vulnerable children worldwide, it is time to end our involvement in Romania. This moment came in December 2016, when the last two young people in our care graduated from our sponsorship scheme.
We are so proud of all we achieved. Our heartfelt thanks go to all who supported this work over the years.