November 7 2011

New child care and family support programme in Romania

07/11/2011 - On 20 October, children and staff of SOS Children's Village Hemeiusi, in presence of many local partners, donors and friends and representatives of SOS Children's Villages, celebrated the official inauguration of the third Romanian SOS Children's Village.

Photo: Katerina Ilievska
Children are releasing balloons at the opening ceremony - Photo: Katerina Ilievska
"This is a crowning moment of our efforts from the past years," said village director, Mr Mihai Bandraburu, referring to the challenges of the past five years since SOS Children's Villages took over the decade-old project Poiana Florilor, a children's village-like facility for out-of-home care of children in need, from the Dutch organisation Child Development Trust.

In parallel to remodelling the existing and constructing new buildings in the village, SOS Children's Villages Romania worked hard on successfully introducing the SOS child-care model, implementing the care quality standards and ensuring solid educational support for the children and youth. In addition, 2007 saw the launching of a family strengthening programme in five rural locations in the area and in autumn 2010, the first SOS Youth Facility was established in the near-by town of Bacau.

Today, over 300 children living in their families of origin benefit from the work of SOS Children's Village Hemeiusi, while the construction of two new family houses increased the capacity of caring for children in SOS families from 28 to 40. It is expected that the village will reach its full capacity by end of 2012.

Photo: Katerina Ilievska
The official ribbon-cutting ceremony in the SOS Children's Village Hemeiusi - Photo: Katerina Ilievska
The inauguration that was attended by many distinguished guests, among which Dr Michael Schwarzinger, Ambassador of Austria to Bucharest, Mr Constantin Scripat, prefect of the Bacau county, Mr Michael Pöltl, deputy secretary general of SOS Children's Villages International, Mr Michai Negut, president of SOS Children's Villages Romania, representatives of the Romanian branches of the companies Dr Oetker, Roweni and Bosch, who helped furnish the new houses, and others.

"We know that a lot of people contributed to this project and I hope that this village will bring much happiness to the children in need. In Austria, which is the mother country for SOS Children's Villages, we have many such projects and we are very excited about the developments internationally," Dr Michael Schwarzinger.

Photo: Katerina Ilievska
Children performed traditional songs and dances - Photo: Katerina Ilievska
The representative of Dr Oetker stressed that "you can not do well if you're not helping" and congratulated SOS Children's Villages Romania on the inauguration. Following the ribbon-cutting ceremony, the children released multi-coloured balloons in the sky and invited the guests to visit their homes. A performance by a local children's folk group was followed by a puppet show by the children, which drew a huge applause.

In addition to the programmes in Hemeiusi, SOS Children's Villages Romania runs two SOS Children's Villages, two SOS Youth Facilities, two SOS Kindergartens and two family strengthening programmes in Bucharest and Cisnadie, an SOS Playbus programme (a playbus which is visiting various public places throughout the country) and one children summer camp in Cisnadie.