Rotary has been at the heart of Hope and Homes for Children since 1994. Rotary has helped them to grow and become leaders in the movement of children from institutions into a system of family-based care. Hope and Homes for Children has a vision of a world in which children no longer suffer institutional care and Rotary is helping them to achieve that goal.
In 1999, when the charity started working in Romania there were over 100,000 children under institutional care. Boys like Sanchu who grew up in the loveless, sterile environment of an orphanage He had few skills and little knowledge of life outside the orphanage.
When Sanchu turned 18 he was forced to leave the orphanage and struggled to adjust to life. He faced challenges like: where would he live? What would he do? Who would support him when times were bad? Having no one to help him Sanchu tried to take his own life. Tragically, his story is not uncommon amongst the young adults in Romania.
It is estimated that one in ten young adults who grew up in an institution will attempt suicide and even more are vulnerable to exploitation as they appear to face a bleak future.
If we are to break the cycle of institutional care for good, Romania’s young adults need help to realise their potential and unlock their futures.”
Thankfully, Sanchu was supported by Hope and Homes for Children through this difficult time and he is now thriving. They helped him complete his education and he is working as a teacher.
He is a happy, popular and respected member of his community, contributing to his country’s economy and making a difference to the lives of children with similar experiences to him.
Rotary is supporting young people like Sanchu and they will be given the opportunity to realise their potential to live independently. Unlocking Futures is a new project that will have a lasting impact on Romania, doing away with institutions until such care is a thing of the past.
The aim of Unlocking Futures is to provide support and life skills training for young adults.
The team in Romania are trained to assess the needs of each individual with common areas of support including; confidence building, finding employment and accommodation, education, temporary financial support and family planning.
Anne Wright from the Rotary Club of Kelso who support the project said, “If we are to break the cycle of institutional care for good, Romania’s young adults need help to realise their potential and unlock their futures. We are on the cusp of a new era, which will see all institutions in Romania closed within a few years and the support from Rotary for Unlocking Futures is driving this change.”