This project has been set up with the partnership of Heart for Youth which is based in UK.
This is the first of our projects anywhere in the world and we supported the initial running costs of the Association (1 year start up grant).The Association in Romania now has independent funding from a churches in London & Singapore and family businesses in Romania.
The Association hopes to partner with other Christian organisations in Romania as well as around the world and also to work closely with City Council and the Child Protection Directorate in the city of Oradea.
- To set up and run a Christian Family Home (caring for up to 10 children at a time) in the village of Livada de Bihor as an example to this and other villages
- To assist families in our village to look after and/or adopt children
- To be a resource and outreach centre for the community for adoption and foster care as well as partner organisations with interests in the future of Romania’s youth
- To run a day/ community centre for Gospel outreach and Summer Bible camps to the youth of the village
- To empower local youth by investing in them to enable help their own communities
How we came into existence
The Association was founded in Dec 2001 by Dr Eva Andrea Todos, a Romanian medical doctor so moved by the plight of an abandoned deformed 2 year-old girl in the state hospital where she worked, that she took the little Florina into her own care.
Over time, her whole family grew to love the little Florina and decided to start a family home. Her sister, Florica Todos, previously a sceptic about such a project, was so touched by Florina’s development due to the love of the Todos family that she donated her own plot of leased land as well as her entire life savings totalling US$5,000 to buy building material (which was initially meant for her own house) to the association to build the family house. She had originally intended to take 10 years to single-handedly build the family home. (Florina is now registered under Florica’s foster care as Eva is living with her husband in Cambridge, UK). (Updates on the lateFlorina’s blogsite)
This act of sacrifice inspired many people around the world and donations totalling US$10,000 were sent from Singapore and the United Kingdom. Heart for Youth was set up to support the Association by advising, setting direction and raising funds for the building of the family home in Romania as well as raising the awareness of the plight of orphans and the positive steps that Romanians themselves are doing to address this.
Why and what we hope to achieve (2002)
After the world’s eyes were opened to the state of Romania’s orphanages after the revolution, conditions have improved dramatically. However, while orphanages may be decent places to stay, they are not conducive environments for children to grow up in. Sometimes centres have up to 100-200 children; individual care and attention the children need cannot be effectively given by the over-stretched staff.
It is the Romanian government’s initiative to phase out orphanages and set up family homes with up to 10 children and run by a family. Two centres have been set up in Oradea, a city of 230,000 near the border with Hungary, with state help and these children are better prepared for adoption in families. Government officials have endorsed the Associations plans to build and run a Family home.
The current family homes are in the cities and children brought up in the cities find it difficult to adjust to life in the villages. Since 56% of Romania’s population is rural, it makes sense to raise children in a village and this is what we intend to do – build a family home in the village where the costs of living are lower and it can be self-sufficient.
Milestones (2000 – 2005)
Jul 2001 – Using her own funds of about US$ 5,000 faithfully saved over a period of 10 years, Florica bought building material to build her own house and cultivated the land for her farm.
In 2005, this plot of land is worth $20,000.
Aug – Nov 2001 – After her family grew to love Florina, the abandoned girl in their care, Florica decided to donate her plot of land for the building of the Family Home and the US$5,000 worth of building material, plans and authorisations already invested by her to build the family home instead.
Dr Damian Yap who was in Romania at that time was impressed with her vision and sacrifice and promised to help support the Association and in partnership build the Family Home with them.
Dec 2001 – Dr Barbara Wensing visited Romania and saw the vision and dedication of the Romanian staff that she and Damian returned to London to set up Heart for Youth to support the Association as partners.
Mar 2002 – Together with Heart for Youth (H4Y) and their partners, Architects with Borders (AWB), Belgium, the Association put forward a propose to build and run a self-supporting family home with income from the farm. They also proposed ways in which they could help transform the economy of the village.
A successful study mission tom Romania by Eric Selies (AWB) and Margriet Wensing (H4Y) was conducted.
Jun 2002 – The joint venture found support with the government of the Belgian Province of Limburg who wanted to collborate with the Romanian district of Bihor using our project as a springboard.
Aug 2003 – The official dedication of the site of the Family Home was on 26 Aug and was attended by guests from the United Kingdom (London & Scotland), Belgium, Sweden and as far away as Singapore.
The Foundations, however, were not finished in time for the opening as the funds raised were insufficient.
A senior team from the Belgian government visited ths site but withdrew from the programme due the differing objectives of both parties.
Feb 2003 – H4Y initial funding (1 year start up grant) to the association comes to a conclusion, Florica uses her family’s funds and savings to not only continue the work of the Association but increase its range of activites. The association is grateful that God sustained them through a Romanian Foundation and two UK charities.
Barbara Wensing, Trustee of H4Y is posted permanently to Holland and has to be replaced as she would not be a resident of the UK.
Mar 2003 – Florica uses her visit to the UK to forge a partnership with St Mary’s Church and speaks to many advisors of Heart for Youth, diplomats, and officials while in London.
She is anointed by St Mary’s church as their partner in Romania and receives broad support from all sides for the building of the family home.
The Committee nominates Berit as replacement Trustee and Madaleine was consultant to Florica. They write to Free Children for their approval – this is granted by Florica.
Jun 2003 – A group from Yio Chu Kang Brethern Church, Singapore (Rtd Pastor Freddie Ho, Mrs Grace Ho and Dr Eric Yap) made a special trip to see the work of the association. They were impressed with the work that is being done and that the association is investing in the youth and has plans to be self-supporting. They have been supporting and will continue to support the Family Home project financially and in prayer.
Jul 2003 – Free Children organised a 3-day summer camp for 30-50 children and youth in the village of Livada de Bihor. This was conducted by volunteers from Free Children and Heart for Youth and funded by Kaitlyn, a 16-year old American high-school student from Kansas City who sent $100 to Florica for her ministry.
Aug 2004 – Free Children organised week long summer camp for 30-50 children and youth in the village of Livada de Bihor. This was conducted by volunteers from Free Children and Heart for Youth and St Barnabas Church, Cambridge. For more info please this link.
Aug 2005 – Free Children organised a summer camp for 30-50 children and youth in the village of Livada de Bihor. This will be conducted by volunteers from Free Children and Heart for Youth and St Barnabas Church, Cambridge. For more info please this link.