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Chain of Hope
We aim to beat the UK record for the longest paper chain!
Romania today is one of the poorest countries per capita in Europe.
For twenty-five years after World War II the country was controlled by the Communist Party headed by President Ceausescu. His aim was to convert Romania from its historic situation as a self-sufficient agricultural country into an industrial state such as he witnessed elsewhere in the world.
To achieve his industrial objectives he built factories on green field sites across Transylvania and elsewhere in the country alongside which he built blocks of apartments for the workers. Villages were closed and the residents moved to factory sites. The State ordered that in spite of their poverty all Romanian married women had a duty to bear children to become workers for the state. The President reassured them that they should not worry about their children’s future. The President would care for the children in special accommodation that he would provide.
The extent and nature of that accommodation was finally revealed to the world after the Romanian Revolution at Christmas 1989. The world’s media called those homes the Romanian “Orphanages”. Some 100,000 children were discovered living in them, with such poor care and in such poor conditions that many of them had permanent health problems. The consequences of the President’s 25 years of social engineering in this and other ways are still evident today, particularly in the social acceptance of child abandonment and society’s failure to accept disability.
Before 2007 when Romania wanted to join the EU, her government was required to rehouse the Orphanage children. There were about 100,000 Orphanage children, and to rehouse them the government did its best to trace their families, to encourage fostering of children whose families were unwilling to accept them and to build new homes for the children who are disabled.
In 2011 the number of abandoned babies started to increase again and this was for the same reasons as in previous decades – poverty. Most abandoned babies and young children are fostered, but those with disabilities are placed in centres like Speranta where our therapy volunteers spend their summer.
When our children reach the age of 18, they can no longer remain in Speranta and they must transfer to local adult centres. The centres for adults do not offer the same level of care as adults are expected to be more independent. At these centres there are many more residents per staff member, and the institutions offer a bleak future to any youngsters entering them probably for the rest of their lives. Children with disability do not cope well with this situation. Bianca, a disabled child after whom the Speranta project is named, survived for three months after she entered an adult institution at 18 years of age.
We are now able to offer a better life to three of the children from Speranta. During the summer of 2019, our Romanian charity SHARE renovated a house in a nearby village to accommodate three young people from Speranta who were known to our therapy volunteers. They reached the age of 18 last year which would have meant their moving to an adult centre. Those of us who had known Bianca, Alex and Onu for many years because of the Bianca Project could not bear the thought of what might happen to them. The charity received a substantial donation from one of our supporters and this enabled Share to link with another charity – Love Light Romania. The other charity agreed to support the three young people and provided a house for Share to renovate.
In October we moved the three children into their new home that we have called “Jim’s House”. The changes in all three of them have been amazing, and their feedback has been wonderful.
Bianca recently sent this message – “I miss my friends at Speranta but I am so happy that I have a normal life now. I feel that I am a normal girl now. I like that I can get to cook, clean sew and draw and have a family life. This is the best thing that ever happened to me. I am normal now.”
The two boys Alex and Onu both have autism, but they are improving almost daily and are growing in confidence. They now help with jobs around the house and garden, something that they were never able to do before the move. They too are leading a normal life.
We need £2500 a month to keep the young people in Jim’s House, as they need round the clock care. The lockdown has prevented us from doing fundraising events, and we are rather anxious to secure the future for the three children.
How can you help?
Over the next few months, we would like to raise £1000. To do this we aim to beat the UK record for the longest paper chain! The current record is 472 metres. The current record paper chain was made after the terrorist attack on Borough Market and there are handwritten messages on each link from all over the world.
We invite you to donate a minimum of £3 for one metre of chain. We will write your name or your message on each link that you buy.
Once the lockdown is over, the chain will be put on public display.
Donations of any amount can be made through www.give.net/20023496
When adding your links to the paper chain please give the details of the names and messages to be added to the friend who shared this message with you.