ACN assistance began years ago when, as a very young organization, we began offering assistance to orphans with HIV/AIDS. At the time courageous NGOs were shifting these orphans from institutions to smaller, family-run residential centers of 10-12 children. While these residential centers were a vast improvement over the impersonal institution, a house with 10-12 children still set it apart in a neighborhood where an average of 2-3 children reside in each home. Believing that these children could blend into their neighborhoods even more easily if their housing situation more closely resembled “the average home,” ACN purchased and renovated a foster care apartment designed for only 2-3 abandoned children.
This living arrangement helped the three children gain acceptance into the local community, including neighborhood games and activities. The apartment was purchased then donated to an outstanding Romanian NGO and it has since been transformed into an independent living center for older teens so that many more children can live in this unique setting while learning independent living skills.
Through the energetic efforts of our liaison partner, Action International, ACN handed over its carpentry project for emotionally abandoned children to the Urziceni regional government, which has taken a strong and welcome interest in special needs children. This handover brings ACN’s involvement in Romania to a close.
In addition to providing a means by which older HIV-positive youth could transition from their institutionalized setting to self-care, ACN also built a playground for young children, confined to one floor of a hospital. Before the playground had been constructed, these children had not been allowed outside their hospital walls.
Over the years ACN has taken great pride in seeing the growth and success of both the projects and the individuals we have supported, and leave Romania with the belief that if other Romanian NGOs are as well organized and conscientious as our Romanian partner, Action International, and if the government continues to take an active interest in the future of its children,as is the case with the Urziceni local government, the country's abandoned and orphaned children will be well-served.