Diary 3 July 27th 2012 27/07/2012
Without any doubt today has been an excellent day. It began with a visit with Kathy to 2 of the group homes run by the government for handicapped children. It is usually very very hard for outsiders to visits these homes so it was quite remarkable that I was allowed to go and visit.
As I understand it following the horror on discovering the extent of the state orphanages in Romania, there has been huge reform and change for the better. Many private orphanages exist but they are on the group or family model rather than a large institution. In the reform, the preferred option was for the children to be returned with support to their biological families or adopted. But there are still a number of handicapped children who were not either adopted or fostered or returned to their biological families and these are cared for by the state in larger institutions for the most profoundly handicapped or family group homes for the less handicapped.
However it seems the Romanian government does not have adequate resources to provide properly for these children and Mustard Seed Jersey had a request via Kathy for clothes to assist these children. I responded that we would be pleased to help but on one condition that I could visit after they had received the clothes etc. and Kathy had arranged it for this morning which was wonderful.
There are about 20 such group homes altogether in the area, each with about 12 children. What I immediately liked was to understand that these are homes for life - it is recognised the young people will need help throughout their lives and they can stay in these homes for life. The children sleep 3 to a bedroom and the places seemed well built - built by an overseas charity who then donated the house leaving the state to find the running costs. I was told money is provided for food, heating, salaries, but NOT for clothes, toys, re-decoration, even with basic toiletries the provision seems inadequate.
I would happily have stayed there for the day - or certainly longer than the hour we were there. We visited 2 homes which are on the same property - there are 2 more a short drive away all administered by the same lady with different house mothers and carers in each home. I have come away with a long list of needs ranging from washing powder to tricycles and paint to redecorate one of the homes also shoes are needed.
We spoke about Christmas shoeboxes and the staff said this would be wonderful but PLEASE include toiletries for each child.
It is getting quite late now so I will sign off and continue again tomorrow. Another very hot day - though it was cooler this morning after the rain only 29 I believe. The heat is difficult I find. I think we may have another thunder storm as there were rumbles when I went for a walk this evening - maybe it will cool things down, that would be fantastic.