Supporting Neglected & Disadvantaged Children in Romania


Below you can read the newsletters that have been written over the years. These newsletters demonstrate Open Hands development over the years and will give you a more personal insight of our work on the ground with the children and families in Romania.

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In this Newsletter: One Year Rainbow House & Family Support Achievements
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    Tackling Poverty | One Year Rainbow House
In April 2016 Open Hands started a new project called ‘The Rainbow House’ or ‘Casa Curcubeu’ in Romanian. This involved buying an old, run-down house, renovating and furnishing it to receive deprived children from the local slum. The Rainbow House is run by two Roma ladies Olga and Ramona. Many of the children who attend the groups of The Rainbow House are Roma, these children face prejudice, hate and discrimination in the community. 
The children we support:

The children who started to attend The Rainbow House groups come from homes with no running water and had at first no sense of cleanliness or hygiene. Most of them had never experienced a bath or shower and never had their teeth brushed or their nails cut. At home in the slum they had to scavenge for food and endure high levels of deprivation in a dangerous community.

Picture below: Rebekka visiting the local slum in 2013

Pictures below: Children from the local Roma slum
The children did not know what it meant to sit and eat a meal around a table. They were feral children with no structure, who had not learnt how to speak nicely and play safely with others. Seeing these children without the love and care they so desperately need spurred us on to create a safe haven for them.

Pictures below: Rainbow House children's first Easter celebrations 2017

                             One Year on | First Achievements
Our aims:

The aim of The Rainbow House is to break generational circles of poverty by offering the children education, love and care. We want the children to understand that if they learn and apply their skills a different, more promising future can be realised.
To achieve this we:
  • Create a safe & warm environment for children to play and explore
  • Give children healthy meals and social time around a table
  • Wash, change and teach the children about hygiene
  • Support their health (e.g. doctor visits, hospital stays, diagnosis, medication)
  • Catch up on their lost learning
  • Meet with kindergartens & schools to integrate children in the education system
  • Provide children with shoes and clothing to enable them to go to kindergarten & school
  • Teaching children skills for life through specific workshops (e.g.: gardening & growing food)

Pictures below: Rainbow House children enjoying the new sandpit and sowing their first vegetables
Children who were scared and withdrawn now communicate and play freely. The children enjoy sharing their feelings in little social groups. Recently we have noticed that the changes in the children also impact their wider community: children now regularly attend school and kindergarten and their performances are improving.   
After the first year at The Rainbow House we have noted that the children play less destructively and that their social behaviours have greatly improved. The children now share, respect and care for each other. The children continue to develop new skills (e.g.: through arts-and-crafts, songs, books, gardening, discovering outdoors). They now have a better understanding of hygiene and the children’s health has improved due to regular eating.

The children have grown to love The Rainbow House, they enjoy eating nutritious meals, learning for school, playing in a safe place and celebrating their birthdays.

Family Support Achievements | A new Family

Apart from The Rainbow House we run a Family Support Program. We currently work with 78 children from extremely impoverished families. Common problems these children experience include: no access to health or social care, child hunger and neglect, poor living conditions, school absence and isolation. 
Last Christmas when we gave out the Christmas Shoe Boxes we became aware of the plight of this single mum with her two small children.

Picture below: Left -The shack mother, grandmother and two children live in. Right - Mother & little Edith with her new teddy giraffe from Open Hands.

Seven-year-old David* and his little sister Edith* share a tiny shack with their mother and grandmother. The room they live in has no electricity or running water and we found the children suffering from the cold. Due to the high poverty mother Maria* was unable to provide adequate food and clothing for her children. Unlike most children David and Edith did not own any toys. The tiny space they live in consists of two small beds (which sleep four people) and a stove.

Since we have started to work with this family David's eye problem is being treated by specialist doctors. We have been able to support the children with clothing, food and have enrolled both children in kindergarten and school. Together with their mother Maria we can now offer these children a brighter future.  

Picture below: Maria and her children are now regularly visited by Iulia from Open Hands

The Importance of Play
Over the past months Iulia, our family support worker, has started to take a big bag of toys when she visits the children. It has been wonderful to observe the difference play makes in the children's lives: it has made them much more carefree and happy.

Iulia has opened up a whole new world to the children - they now attend art and craft workshops at the local library and go on day trips - things they would have never been able to do before.
Recently we have seen an increase in school attendance with all our children now attending kindergarten or school. As a result the children’s school performances are improving. We focus on education because it is the only way that will enable our children to break out of poverty and have a better future.  

Picture below left: Iulia visiting the children at home and right: Iulia introducing the idea of play to the children.
Thank you for reading about our work - as a team we feel very fortunate to support these beautiful children - thank you for helping to make this possible.

If you would like to learn more or support our work - please get in touch with me: This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

Peace and love to you all,
Rebekka and the Open Hands Team
Copyright © 2017 Open Hands Charity, All rights reserved.
* All names have been changed

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Open Hands · Spindle Tree Cottage · Stockland Lane · Hadlow Down,Uckfield, East Sussex TN22 4EA · United Kingdom

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Wellgreen Lane
Kingston/ Lewes
East Sussex ¦ BN7 3NS

phone: (0044) 7949766147

German Office

Open Hands
Andrea van Hoven
Hagener Str. 29
49377 Vechta

phone: +49 4441 9518875

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Suceava City
Zamca district ¦ No 5 Octav Bancila Street
29th block ¦ Staircase A ¦ Flat no.: 2

No.: 0040 740 239 964

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