End of Project report (AWB, BE – FCCA, RO) (2002)
The Heart for Youth – “Free Children” Christian Association Project to build a family home in the village of Livada de Bihor was among the 20 projects submitted for partnership with the government of Limburg, a province in Belgium. The project was sponsored by Mr Eric Selis of Architects without Borders (Architect sans frontieres (Architecten zonder grenzen), Belgium).
Of the 20 projects, only four were chosen : 2 in Romania and 2 in Poland. Besides our project, the other project in Romania is a Charity shop run by a Christian charity.
Visits to Romania –
Sudy Mission – Easter 02
Eric Selis and team embarked on a one-week study mission to asses the social economic and political issues including information on local social networks that are in existence, the way the area is governed and integrate the other two projects (the christian charity and the worldshop). The visit was from 28-29 Mar 2002. Click here to see the photos.
Site Visit – Summer 2002
Eric Selies (AWB) and Margriet Wensing (H4Y Partner in Belgium) accompanied by Luc and Karin representatives from the provincial government of Limburg (Belgium) visited Romania from 23 – 29 Aug 2002. They met officials and programme partners in Romania and attended the foundation laying ceremony of the family home on 26 Aug 2002 in Livada de Bihor. More information about the submitted project is available from the AWB website in Flemish (link removed as it is outdated).
Conclusions – Aug 2002
Following the site visit by the Belgian Team, the Limburg government decided to withdraw from the programme in Romania and not to disburse the 53,000 euro budget allocated to us. No reasons were given but they had the following comments about our project and the way be run:
a. We did not appear to provide a wide enough access and seemed to work only within a closed Christian community and not involve enough of the village. Our partners have letters of support from the village councillors and the Primar – all of who support the work of the association. They also received and continue to get financial and material support from families in the village and the church testimony of the support they receive.
We later understand that while there was unanimous support for the work of the association in the village, there were many reservations (justified and unjustified) about collaborations with governments. Neither Free Children nor the village were pleased with Heart for Youth’s proposals. They preferred to and continue to work their own trusted way which are bearing fruit.
b. Our partners appeared to work only with friends and relatives. The President of Heart for Youth was also related to the Director of Free Children Christian Association. Our partners already have broad access but stand by their principle that they work with only honest, upright and trustworthy people since it is essential that they work with people they can depend on. The President of Heart for Youth has since resigned.
c. The land on which the family home is to be built was on Florica’s name (This was on the advice of the lawyer) and a government cannot be seen to support an individual. We are seeking alternative legal advice as to the implication of transferring the land to the name of the association to which Florica donated it to. If acceptable, Florica has said that she will execute it but wants to ensure that the land and building actually get to house orphans, the purpose she donated the land for.
d. There appeared to be a lack of a coherent executable plan and coupled with the inexperience exhibited by Heart for Youth, the project did not appear to be workable. Heart for Youth has since sought professional advice and will be re-structuring to ensure that we support our partners in Romania in the best way possible. The Director of Free Children Christian Association has accepted this as a postive step and tasked her UK partners to concentrate on their responsibility of raising funds for the building of the family home.
Free Children has unveiled their own long-term vision for the development of their ministry and generation of a steady annual income to support the running and expansion of their ministry in 2008. This has already received endorsements from several independent organisations. Their ideas have also been praised and being carefully studied for implementation by other charities in Romania and elsewhere as a model.
We thank the Limburg team for the invaluable advice and support in the planning stages. However, we regret but understand their decision to withdraw from the programme. Our partners, Architects without Borders did however express their belief that the family home will be built but regret that they could not help further. Florica has asked her UK partners to avoid future government collaborations but work with Christian NGOs and churches as they would be more understanding and familiar with the ethos, philosophy of and practical problems faced by her and her Association in their uphill task to reform an out-dated system by example and translate their Christian vision into practical ways to help the orphans and youth in Oradea and the village of Livada the Bihor.
Heart for Youth
Updated Jul 2003.