On 11 July, the Hope and Homes for Children and Holcim România, within a partnership with the General Directorate for Social Assistance and Child Protection (DGASPC) Sector 4 and the Municipality of the 4th Sector in Bucharest opened the small family home “Cavalerii” (The knights), built in the process of closing down the “Robin Hood” Foster Centre, the last one of its kind in this sector of the capital. 9 children between 9 and 17 from the foster centre moved in the small family house, which they will from now on call “home”.

The following took part in the inauguration ceremony: Andrei George Trocan(Vice- Mayor, Sector 4), Dragoș-Vasile Pelmuș (General director, DGASPC Sector 4), Alina Cristea (Sustainable Development Manager, Holcim România), Rado Tohătan (manager, Social Assistance Department, Hope and Homes for Children), Amalia Enache (Hope and Homes for Children Ambassador), the actors Diana Sar, Victoria Răileanu and George Piștereanu, and Gianina Corondan.

The small group home “Cavalerii” is the 107th small group home designed by Hope and Homes for Children in our country and the first of three designed in partnership with Holcim România. The architect Omid Ghannadi and the designer Alina Vîlcu, members of the show team for “Visuri la cheie” (the Romanian equivalent of Extreme Makeover: Home Edition) were also involved in designing the “Cavalerii” house, which was provided with furniture and decorations by JYSK România.

The process of closing down the “Robin Hood” Foster Care Centre in Bucharest, Sector 4, started in the beginning of 2017, by a partnership signed between Hope and Homes for Children and DGASPC Sector 4. At that time, the centre hosted 49 children, each of them having been individually assessed by the Foundation’s and DGASPC Sector 4’s experts in order to try to find the best alternatives for them after the closure. For some of them solutions were found and they left the centre, either by socio-professional integration, or by being placed in maternal care or transferred to other houses or small group flats.

The “Cavalerii” (The knights) small group home started being built in July 2018. In June 2019, 9 children between 9 and 17 moved in the small group house “Cavalerii” designed by Hope and Homes for Children and Holcim România and another 16 will move in another house soon to be developed by the Foundation.

The funds to build the “Cavalerii” small group home were raised within the campaign “Build a house, gift a home!” carried out by Holcim România for Hope and Homes for Children in the period July-September 2017. Within this campaign the cement producer Holcim donated the equivalent of one kilogram of cement for each StructoPlus sack (with the added Duraditiv) they sold. The campaign raised 300 000 euro, which were used to build two small group homes as part of the closedown project of the following foster care centres: “Robin Hood” Foster Care Centre in Bucharest, Sector 4 and “Elena Doamna” in Piatra Neamț.

“We are happy we were able to contribute to such an important cause: every child needs a healthy environment for his appropriate developent. Today we celebrate, because we can leave this event knowing nine children now have a place to call “home” and their future became much more optimistic and brighter. “Congratulations to Hope and Homes for Children and all partners involved in the project!”- Alina Cristea, Sustainable Development Manager, Holcim România

The land the building was built on was provided by the 4th Sector Municipality. The “Cavalerii” Small Group Home is a one-storey building with four bedrooms, a day room, two bathrooms and a kitchen, all very spatious, welcoming and adapted to their needs. The children bakes cakes for the guests in the home’s kitchen and received several surprises, such as a concert of Marian Vasilescu (who debuted in the Romanian TV Show “Vocea României” (The Voice) and also grew up in an orphanage until he was three) and meeting Diana Sar, Victoria Răileanu and George Piștereanu, who play in the popular series “Vlad”.

All small group homes build by Hope and Homes for Children provide children with a family-like environment. This kind of home hosts at most 10-12 children who enjoy shelter, care, education, emotional support and counselling for an independent life. Once the buildings are finished and start operating, Hope and Homes for Children donates the small group homes to its collaborating partner, in this case DGASPC 4 but keeps applying the accommodation programmes which were devised together with working staff for each end every child and keeps monitoring the children and staff on the long term, in order to proactively prevent the possible
problems. Throughout its 21 years in Romania, Hope and Homes for Children built 21 small group homes.

“We are extremely happy whenever we reach such a moment – opening a small group home. The reason is that, we feel that we symbolically open the way for a beter future to these children. From today on, the children moving in the small group home “Cavalerii” will be able to state they have their place, which belongs to them and where they feel protected. We would like to thank our partners from DGASPC Sector 4 for the partnership and for the collaborating manner in our process of closing down the “Robin Hood” Foster Care Centre. We would also like to thank Holcim România for their generosity because, due to their support, we are able to open a new small group home today. Nine children will live here in optimal conditions, they will be able to learn and grow in a very family-like environment, taken care of and protected, as every child deserves to grow up. We also thank our partners who understand how important it is for these children to get a new chance in their life. The opening of this small group home takes us a step closer to fulfilling our dream, closing down all orphanages in Romania until 2026.” - Ștefan Dărăbuș, regional director, Central and Southern Europe, Hope and Homes for Children

“Noticing the joy and serenity on these children’s faces, who have just started a new life in the “Cavalerii” small group home, is wonderful for me. Maybe they did not have the head start in life until now, but I am convinced they have the chance to prevail. They will continue to have our support to be able to enjoy the holidays, their play, the excellent living conditions of this place they can call “home” and belongs to them alone. Seeing the joy they brought to these children’s hearts, on behalf of the Sector 4 Municipality I would like to thank our partners and reassure them of our complete support for future projects meant to bring a better life to children.” - Andrei George Trocan, Vice-Mayor, Sector 4 Municipality