They were joined by Irina Iodăchescu, The Mono Jacks, pianist Andrei Licareț and the Violoncellisimo Ensemble – all for the vulnerable children supported by Hope and Homes for Children

Andra, Smiley, Alexandru Tomescu, Irina Iordăchescu, Zoli TOTH Project, Marius Manole, Andrei Licareț, The Mono Jacks and the Violoncellissimo Ensemble performed on the Romanian Athenaeum Stage.

On April 22nd, the Romanian Athenaeum proved too small a venue for the 6th edition of the Hope Concert, organised by Hope and Homes for Children to the benefit of vulnerable children included in our programmes in Romania. Andra, Smiley, violinist Alexandru Tomescu, Hope and Homes for Children Ambassador, soprano Irina Iordăchescu, Zoli TOTH Project, Doru Trăscău, The Mono Jacks’ band leader, actor Marius Manole, Hope and Homes for Children Ambassador, and pianist Andrei Licareț, accompanied by the Violoncellissimo Ensemble conducted by maestro Marin Cazacu all performed on stage. The event was hosted by Amalia Enache, PRO TV journalist and Hope and Homes for Children Ambassador for the past 10 years, together with Dragoș Bucurenci, the Foundation’s development director. The 2018Hope Concert marked 20 years of Hope and Homes for Children activity in Romania and was attended by Mark and Caroline Cook, the organisation’s founders, by Her Excellency Michele Ramis, the French Ambassador, by His Excellency Paul Brummell, the UK Ambassador, as well as by many representatives of partner companies, celebrities and other public figures who in this way publicly expressed their support for the Foundation’s programmes and the children we target.

For the 6th consecutive year, the Romanian Athenaeum was the meeting spot of classical music with theatre and pop-rock music, in the name of hope and charity. The Hope Concert is the most important event organised by Hope and Homes for Children yearly to build awareness on the deinstitutionalisation programmes and the prevention programmes against child-family separation carried out in the past 20 years in Romania. Over 700 guests attended the event and over 78,000 people watched the concert online, following the memorable acts dedicated to the most vulnerable of Romania’s children.

The Hope Concert stage echoed the tune of the well-known song Dragostea rămâne (Love Remains) by Andra, who sang accompanied by the Violoncellissimo Ensemble. Smiley invited all members of the audience to sing along to the chorus of his song Acasă (Home), while violinist Alexandru Tomescu impressed the audience with two works signed by composer Astor Piazolla. Actor Marius Manole gave a passionate rendition of a fragment in the story of The Little Prince, accompanied by Andrei Licareț on the piano. The members of the Zoli TOTH Project brought unconventional music to the Athenaeum, though songs like Cocoon, Puls and Hiperboreea, played on percussion instruments and accompanied by the cello orchestra. Doru Trăscău, The Mono Jacks’ band leader, sang the rock song 1000 de Da (1000 times Yes) together with the 35 children in the Cor cu Dor Ensemble conducted by Teodora Jaworski. The evening ended in a memorable manner, with soprano Irina Iordăchescu’s passionate interpretation of two songs — One day I’ll fly away and Ave Maria.

Like every year, the Hope Concert was completed with the stories of Hope and Homes for Children programme beneficiaries. The audience met Monica and Geri, two young people abandoned at a very early age at the terrifying Sighet and Cavnic cradle homes for infants. They met in one of the Hope and Homes for Children small group homes, and after the age of 19, the Foundation helped them find jobs. Another moving story was that of Mărioara Moldovan, single mother of six who received help from Hope and Homes for Children to rebuild her house, which had been devastated by a fire; she received support for medical care for herself and the children and she was helped to purchase a few animals for the family’s daily food supplies. Dina Bogar is another young woman who grew up in a Hope and Homes for Children small group home and she is now a final year student at the Babeș Bolyai University, the pedagogical section.

The 2018 Hope Concert was attended by Her Excellency Michele Ramis, the French Ambassador and His Excellency Paul Brummell, the UK Ambassador. Mark Cook and wife Caroline, Hope and Homes for Children founders, were joined by Richard Greenhalgh, Chair of the Board of Trustees and Sue Rooke, Hope and Homes for Children Director of Resources. Celebrities too answered the invitation of Hope and Homes for Children: Cătălin Măruță (PRO TV), Marius Pancu (Digi 24), stylist Adina Buzatu, Otniela Sandu, participant in PRO TV’s show Survivor.

Hope and Homes for Children is a global organisation founded in the UK in 1994 by Mark and Caroline Cook, to rebuild the orphanages that had been destroyed in the Bosnian War. Working with the children in orphanages, they realised that what abandoned children needed was the love and care of a family. In 1998, Hope and Homes for Children became active in Romania, when over 100,000 children were living in orphanages. Today, only 6,500 children remain in old-type institutions. Children growing up in orphanages exhibit physical, emotional, social and cognitive developmental delays. And young people coming out of these institutions are faced with the inability to become independent, which makes them easy targets for abuse, exploitation and trafficking; or they can develop forms of anti-social behaviour. The Hope and Homes for Children mission is to close down all orphanages in Romania by 2026.

 “In 1998, my wife Caroline and I decided to come to Romania and lend a helping hand. Caroline’s dream was to close down all orphanages in Romania. We thought this to be impossible, but we set a target and we received support from extraordinary people who donated money, mostly people in the UK, but also people from all over the world, Romania included. At present, only 6,500 children remain in institutions. The Romanian team has always been a pioneer and is setting an example in deinstitutionalisation. At the moment, all around the world, 8 million children are still incarcerated in institutions, and our purpose is to eliminate institutionalisation globally. Romania is a leader in this, there is a Romanian model and other teams from other countries are coming here to see how it’s done. I thank everyone in the Hope and Homes for Children Romania team, they have worked very hard in the past 20 years, in spite of the problems and obstacles they faced, things moved forward due to their dedication and involvement.” - Mark Cook, Hope and Homes for Children founder

“Many of the families we work with exhibit an optimism that I would like to feel myself sometimes. Many of these families with many children have absolutely no possessions, they live in unimaginable conditions, in makeshift cardboard or plastic shelters, they survive the winter with no heating, no fire, in the cold, no running water, no electrical power, and somehow, they survive. Around 300,000 people in our country survive in this manner. Together with our supporters, in the past 20 years, we have managed to help 50,000 Romanian children to have the childhood they deserve. We will continue to do the same for the 6,500 children still remaining in institutions, as well as for the 300,000 children who risk ending up there. In these 20 years we have managed to stay close to those we help, and this is what makes our programmes strong. The Hope and Homes for Children Romania team is made up of people who have been together since the very start, they are indeed those who can move mountains and make sure that in a few years Romania has no child institution left.” Ștefan Dărăbuș, regional director, Central and South Europe, Hope and Homes for Children

 “We are very lucky to be able to give, to help others, but there is doubt looming somewhere above us, like in the story of the Little Prince and his flower. Our life is a flower that one morning someone can trample underfoot, so that we no longer have it. I think it is this uncertainty that makes us more generous, closer to others. I wish Hope and Homes for Children Foundation the ability to keep strong, to go on dreaming, to remain as generous, strong and young as today and to enable all children in institutions to lead normal lives.” - Marius Manole, Hope and Homes for Children Ambassador

“It was a very emotional evening, especially since it reminded me that Princess Marina Sturdza left us 6 months ago; it is to her that many of us owe their involvement in such a beautiful cause. I am happy to see more and more artists joining this cause every year and to see the number of children helped by Hope and Homes for Children Romania grow constantly.” - Amalia Enache, PRO TV journalist, Hope and Homes for Children Ambassador

“This edition of the Hope Concert is the second one without Princess Marina Sturdza and I think her kind thoughts and her precious memory guided us and helped us get here, after 20 years, and will continue to guide us ahead. Hope and Homes for Children has grown tremendously in these 20 years, reaching maturity, like a child going through school and getting ready now to do what grown-ups do. In the next 8 years we will close down the last institutions in Romania, and this will be the Hope and Homes for Children legacy to Romania.” - Dragoș Bucurenci, Development Director, Hope and Homes for Children 

Sponsors: UPC Romania, Alphega Pharmacy

Strategic Partners: Kaufland Romania, Holcim Romania, BRD Groupe Société Générale, ARVAL BNP Paribas Group and JYSK Romania

Main Media Partner: PRO TV

Event Organiser: Quartz Media Production

Recommended by Europa FM

Music Partner: HaHaHa Production

With the support of: FIVE’S, George Enescu Philarmonics, Oveit, Gitana, Aqua Carpatica, Antalis

Media Partners: Adevărul, Click!, Cațavencii, Blitz TV, Cariere Magazine, Observator Cultural, Nine O’Clock, Agerpres, Parents, CSR Media, Qbebe, Business 24,, ZiarMM and Cocor Spa Hotel.