Romania Rehabilitation Therapy Team (140705ROPT)
In 1966 communist dictator Nicolae Ceausescu banned contraception and abortions in Romania. He dreamed of creating a large, industrialized military state. But he did not have the resources to care for all of the children that his new laws produced. Rates of poverty, homelessness and hunger all grew as the population swelled. Families could not provide for their children and were forced to abandon them in state-run placement center or on the streets.
Today, Romania struggles with weak economic conditions, high inflation rates and a small middle class. The government estimates that 28% of the population lives below the poverty line. There are still 36,403 children in placement centers (homes for orphans and children whose parents cannot care for them); 78% of those children are older than 9. Romania’s acceptance into the European Union in January 2007 has further strained the welfare system, as they try to meet requirements for a lower number of documented orphans. Although the Romanian government reports that the number of orphans has dropped, thousands of orphaned and abandoned children live on the streets and in the sewers. Families still intact struggle to be self-sufficient as they battle high unemployment rates, poor infrastructure, disease and alcoholism.
To serve underserved children by providing rehabilitation plans for children with physical and mental disabilities who would otherwise not receive care.
Fundatia Heart of Hope
Jo Flomer and Jilda Veja