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.
Between 1992 and 2016, Global Care committed to the care of a group of children drawn from the orphanages, pioneering family-based orphan care in Romania, taking ‘our’ children from childhood through to independent adult life.
“I really loved being part of these children’s lives. The wonder of lives being transformed before my eyes. Children whom the local authorities told us we were wasting our time with, moved from being without hope to giving hope and joy to so many. From lives blighted by neglect, to lives that shared hope and love. I will miss the dedicated staff and those who were willing to give so much for these children.
I am proud to have been part of what Global Care has done here in Romania. I am humbled that I was allowed to be part of these young people’s lives. I am honoured that I was allowed to be part of such a special team. I have been enriched by being part of this wonderful project.” Read the full blog from John White.
Our aim was to help children who lived in these institutions to grow up in a normal family setting. Despite being ridiculed for wasting effort and resources on children who “could not be helped”, we wanted the children to be taught in mainstream schools. They were all labelled “learning disabled”, but we believed their 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 over a decade. As Global Care seeks to work with the poorest and most vulnerable children worldwide, we brought our work in Romania to an end. This moment came in December 2016, when the last two young people in our care graduated from our sponsorship scheme into full independence.
We are so proud of all we achieved. Our heartfelt thanks go to all who supported this work over the years.
You might also be interested in the work we do with orphaned, abandoned and abused children in Zimbabwe through the Houtberg Childcare Centre.