Hope and Homes for Children and Rombat announce a strategic partnership through which the company supports the programme seeking to close down the old-type instiutions (orphanages) run by the Foundation in Bistrița-Năsăud. The partnership will run over the 2019-2020 period as has a value of 50.000 euro. The funds partially cover the construction of a small group home as part of the process of closing down the “Bistrița” Family Foster Care Centre for Children with Disabilities in Bistrița.

In the “Bistrița” Foster Care Centre live 38 children and young people with severe disabilities, for whom at least two small group homes are going to be built in Șieu- Măgheruș.

At national level, approximately 6.500 children – most of them with special needs – are still institutionalised in over 160 foster care centres. The children end up in these centres because they are abandoned at birth, because they have been rescued from abusive environments, because they have been sent to special schools and therefore placed under the care of these centres during their studies or because they have special needs that parents find too difficult to manage.

Hope and Homes for Children started the process of closing down the orphanages in Bistrița-Năsăud county in 2011. During these eight years, the Foundation has closed, together with the General Directorate for Social Assistance and Child Protection (DGASPC) Bistrița-Năsăud, the “Teaca” and “Năsăud” Foster Care Centres, hosting 126 children. From 2018, Hope and Homes for Children are trying to close down the “Bistrița” Foster Care Centre, where 38 young people with severe disabilities live. At least two small group homes are going to be built as part of this process, this being a necessary step because, given the special needs of those young people, reuniting them with their biological families or placing them in foster care do not represent viable solutions.

The funds offered by Rombat, member company of the Metair Investment Limited group in South Africa and the largest manufacturer of car batteries in Romania, will be directed towards building one of the houses necessary in order to close down the “Bistrița” Foster Care Centre and relocate 12 children and young people into a new home by the end of 2020. Such house hosts up to 10-12 children who receive care, education, emotional support and counseling in order to develop independent living skills and, if possible, training for their socio-profesionally integration. Above all and to the extent possible, these homes are designed to offer children a family environment.

“We are glad to offer, through this small gesture, a bit of love, the most important ingredient of Christianity. We make this act of kindness for the institutionalised children, who want to feel loved more than anyone. We appreciate the activity carried out by Hope and Homes for Children and everything they have done so far and we put our trust in the Foundation’s management team, knowing they are going to reach those honorable and beautiful objectives. – Ioan Repede, Director General, Rombat

As part of the process of closing down the foster care centre, the Foundation also undertakes the vocational training of the staff from DGASPC Bistrița-Năsăud (carers, educators, foster parents, the management team etc.) who will move to the small group home in order to ensure the best environment for the children.

Hope and Homes for Children has set as its principal objective to close down all the old-type institutions and eliminate institutionalisation as a form of child protection. Up to this date, Hope and Homes for Children has invested over 33 milion euro in the child protection system reform, closing orphanages, reintegrating children in their natural or extended family, placing them in the care of professional carers or moving them to small group homes. Another important programme complementary to the deinstitutionalisation programme is the one preventing child-family separation, which seeks to prevent other children from entering the child protection system and being institutionalised.

“We are glad every time our message reaches the hearts of generous people who decide to join us and support our endeavour of closing down the orphanages in Romania. Thank you, Rombat, because, due to your contribution, many children will have the chance to go from living in an impersonal and soulless institution where they are deprived of the care and attention they need, to living in a small group home, where they’ll feel surrounded by love and live as much as possible in a family environment. In 21 years, our work has changed for the better the lives of almost 55.000 children – and this is quite something. Until 2026 we wish to eliminate the institutionalisation of children in Romania and for this would like to thank our partners who have offered us their trust and the resources needed to make this dream come true .” – Ștefan Dărăbuș, Regional Manager for Central and South- Eastern Europe, Hope and Homes for Children