On the 14th of April, the Romanian Atheneum hosted the seventh edition of the Hope Concert, an annual event organised by Hope and Homes for Children to support vulnerable children in Romania. Violonist Alexandru Tomescu, soprano Irina Iordăchescu, singers Feli and Alexandra Ușurelu, Adrian Despot and Cezar Popescu (Vița de Vie) together with Blue Noise, Zoli TOTH, FiRMA band, accompanied by the Violoncellisimo ensemble let by Marin Cazacu, chose to show their support for the programmes managed by the Foundation and for the children in these programmes through music.

The event was hosted by Amalia Enache, PRO TV journalist and Hope and Homes for Children Ambasador in the past nine years, and by Dragoș Bucurenci, Head of Development.

The Hope Concert 2019 marked 21 years of activity for Hope and Homes for Children in Romania and hosted two esteemed guests, namely her Excellency Michèle Ramis, Ambassador of France, and his Excellency Andrew Noble, Ambassador of Great Britain, among numerous representatives of the Foundation’s partner companies, stars and supporters. The event was attended by: Corina Caragea, Diana Enache and Ramona Păun (PRO TV), Alina Vîlcu, Omid Ghannadi, Cristina Joia, Laura Boghiu and Valentin Ionașcu, the team of architects and interior designers from the PRO TV show “Visuri la cheie” ”(the Romanian equivalent of Extreme Makeover: Home Edition), the stylist Adina Buzatu, Marius Pancu (Digi 24), Diana Sar and Olimpia Melinte, the actresses from the PRO TV series “Vlad”, Mihai Morar (Radio ZU). Hope Concert is the most important annual event organised by Hope and Homes for Children in order to raise awareness of the programmes seeking deinstitutionalisation and preventing the separation of children from their families, carried out in Romania ever since 1998. Over 700 guests attended the Atheneum

concert and enjoyed the impressive artistic moments dedicated to the most vulnerable children of Romania.

For the seventh year in a row, the Romanian Atheneum became the place where classical music merged with pop and rock rhythms, voicing feelings of hope and charity for vulnerable children. Alexandra Ușurelu performed the songs “Ție” and “Ceva se întâmplă cu noi”, accompanied by the Violoncellissimo ensemble. Violonist Alexandru Tomescu impressed the audience by playing “Dans țărănesc” (Peasant dance) signed by Constantin Dimitrescu and Mircea Chiriac’s “Serenade”. Soprano Irina Iordăchescu stole the audience’s heart with Lauretta’s aria from the “Gianni Schicchi” opera and with the famous aria “Lascia ch’io pianga” composed by G. F. Haendel. Zoli TOTH brought unconventional music on the Atheneum’s stage through the songs “Iubește și lasă” and “Patimile Estului”, played on percussion instruments. Rhytms of pop, rock and classical music merged in the songs “Va urma”, by Feli, and “Mângâierea lumii”, sang by FiRMA. Adrian Despot and Cezar Popescu (Vița de Vie), together with the Blue Noise backing vocals group sang the popular song “Luna și noi”. The night ended with a memorable moment, when the Violoncellissimo ensemble and Alex Gavril, FiRMA guitarist played and sang “Bohemian Rhapsody”.

This year too, the stories of some of beneficiaries of the Hope and Homes for Children programmes were brought to life on the Hope Concert stage. Through emotional movie clips narrated by Marius Manole, Ambassador Hope and Homes for Children, the audience got to know the protagonists of these stories. Alina (23) who become a mother when she was only 15, was helped by Hope and Homes for Children to take her daughter back home, after she was placed in foster care. Șerban takes an interest in drawing and architecture, but his family was not able to help him follow his passion. Șerban has been the recipient of a scholarship for a year, as part of the educational programme run by Hope and Homes for Children. He receives the support he needs in order to make his dream of building houses come true. Ciprian and his three friends met at “Sfântul Spiridon” Social Services Centre in Târgu Frumos. The boys were helped by the Foundation to start a life on their own and are now working together in a bakery. Ilie (10 years old) lives together with two of his six brothers in a small group home built by Hope and Homes for Children in Târgu Frumos. Due to the support given by Hope and Homes for Children, their house has been renovated, so that the three children were reunited with their mother. Another impressive story is the story of Lăcrămioara, mother of 11 children who last year received a house for Christmas from Hope and Homes for Children. She was abandoned and has lived in orphanages until the age of 18 and she promised she would never abandon her own children. Aurica is a young woman dreaming of becoming a doctor ever since she was seven. If she hadn’t received help from Hope and Homes for Children, she would have been forced to give up on her dream. Aurica is now a first year student at the Faculty of Medicine and has aced her first exam session.

“It is not only us talking about the trauma induced by institutionalisation anymore. Something is happening: more and more young voices are making themselves heard, telling stories of the ordeal of having to grow up without a family. These are the voices of children who have grown up in orphanages. Bitter, but authentic, they know very well what I am talking about, because they have actually gone through a nightmare we can only imagine. They have formed organisations. They have joined and founded associations. They fight for those still going through the nightmare of institutionalisation. Because they know very well the pain, and how deep the separation syndrom can cut. Even though they are torn because they lack the affection and love of their parents, they are determined to give a helping hand and tear down the symbols of this trauma for future generations. I can only imagine how terrible it must be to grow up without parents, without love. And still, they offer so much to those around them and do everything possible so that other children don’t suffer as much as they have. They are my heroes. I dedicate this Hope Concert edition to these people and I bow before them.” - Ștefan Dărăbuș, Regional Manager for Central and South-Eastern Europe, Hope and Homes for Children

Orphanages in Romania do not disappear by simply refusing to think about them. They disappear because, for 21 years, a handful of stubborn people kept refusing to accept that a child can grow up in such an institution. With every closed orphanage, with every saved childhood, our colleagues change not only the destinies of children they work with, but also our destiny as society, as nation.” – Dragoș Bucurenci, Head of Development, Hope and Homes for Children

“We love our children unconditionally. We still love them when we are tired, when they make mistakes, when they’re not brilliant, good, just. Then why do children living in old centres receive punishments, reproach, contempt, or even sedatives? They need hugs, caresses and love, a home and a family, just like all the other children. These children need us to build homes for them, to make sure they live in a family-like environment and they need us to love them unconditionally. Do you think we can make it together?” - Amalia Enache, Ambasador Hope and Homes for Children.

“«Common, flap your wings! That’s right my girl, flap your wings!» - this is what my father used to say as he was teaching me how to “fly” in the Danube. This is how I learned how to keep my balance and move forward, despite the currents. There was an old cherry tree in my childhood yard by the Danube. It was full of sweet, white cherries and I loved to climb it right to the top, to look at the water. The water connected my city to my sister’s city, and it felt like it was bringing her closer to me. After a while, I realised I wanted to be like a water connecting people too, and this is how I started singing. Music taught me the most beautiful way of bringing people together, through my concerts. The Danube gives me a strong feeling of belonging. I am deeply touched by situations in which children risk being separated from the loved ones and I am very happy to be able to support Hope and Homes for Children through my music, because they are a river of souls brave enough to dream of keeping families united. - Alexandra Ușurelu , singer

“One of my greatest joys is to help children. Hope and Homes for Children turn dreams into reality, making miracles for children in hardship. How else could you name the feeling of love, warmth and security that children find with the help of the extraordinary people from Hope and Homes for Children? Children are like angels: lights descended among us. We must help them to the extent we can, because it’s them we struggle for to create a better and more beautiful world. As ambassador for Hope and Homes for Children, I will fight with my own weapons – the violin and the bow, as Enescu used to say – for the sake of the children!”- Alexandru Tomescu, violonist, Ambasador Hope and Homes for Children

“Now that I understand the joy of being a mother, I cannot imagine how I would feel if I had to live separated from my child. The issue of institutionalised children is, in my opinion, also a test from God.We must prove that, apart from loving the ones near us, we also have the love and power to help children whose life hasn’t been as easy. Hope and Homes for Children Romania have been fighting for 20 years to offer all children the possibility of having a family, and of course I support this wonderful intitiative through my music. ” - Feli, singer

“I really enjoyed the line-up this year, I like they brought artists with a good vibe. I also like the people I see in the concert hall, they care very much about Hope and Homes for Children’s initiative. The Foundation’s message has long reached the hearts of people. Now, seven years later, we send the project to school – the figures, the accomplishments, the smiles of children who escaped from those terrible centres – they all say it’s time. I hope Hope and Homes for Children never changes! - Zoli Toth, musician

“I was extremely impressed by the performance of all musicians and singers on stage, and the final Freddy Mercury moment was brilliant. But what impressed me the most were young people’s stories, their suffering and the way they were helped by Hope and Homes for Children.” – His Excellence Andrew Noble, Ambassador of Great Britain in Romania

“This is my the second edition of Hope Concert and I must say it was extraordinary. The mix of classical and modern music, Alexandru Tomescu, Irina Iordăchescu, Marin Cazacu, the children’s stories, everything was impressive. I want to congratulate Hope and Homes for Children for the wonderful night they have offered us. - Her Excellence Michèle Ramis

Hope Concert was presented by City Insurance.
Sponsors: Alphega pharmacies, UPC Romania, Tema Energy

Strategic partners: Kaufland Romania, ARVAL, Holcim Romania, JYSK Romania, NN, Fondation Solidarité Société Générale, AREI – The Association of Real Estate Investors

Main media partner: PRO TV
Event organiser: Quartz Media Production

Event supported by: Backstage Production Group, „George Enescu” Philarmonics, OVE, Gitana, Anaide, Aqua Carpatica, Antalis

Media partners: Tanănana, Adevărul, Click!, Cațavencii, Blitz TV, Cariere magazine, Observator Cultural, Nine O’Clock, Agerpres, A List Magazine, Parents,

the Civil Society Gala, CSR Media, Qbebe, BookHub, Business 24, Ziare.com, ZiarMM, Ediția de Dimineață.