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Project for homeless children

05/07/2005: Romania

After arriving in Romania in 1998, the brothers decided to work especially with street children and, connected to this, young abandoned and homeless children. After years of working with other institutions that work in this area, in April 2004 we opened the “Saint Marcellin” House to accommodate six boys in the community residence. We decided then to double the number of brothers in the two communities, to accompany the people of this home and to have a second place at Bucharest where we could aim at achieving two basic objectives: the creation of a ‘day centre’ where preventative work could be carried out to combat abandonment in families and to provide pastoral and vocational animation.
We are now starting the construction work of the new Saint Marcellin Champagnat Centre, an enclosure where the new Marist community and four houses will be situated. Each of these houses will accommodate from eight to ten boys and girls aged from six to eighteen. The idea of this mini-village is to be able to offer these young people a family atmosphere and a close accompaniment. The most important economic support is coming from Caritas Vorarlberg (Austria) while the basic pedagogical idea is coming from contact and exchanges with Voralberg Kinderdorf (Villages for Children). Other institutions are also working with us in this project, especially in Spain and in Austria.

We hope to finish the work in spring next year and then to start to accommodate the boys and girls that summer. In Romania last year, 4000 babies were abandoned immediately after birth. This gives some idea of the socio-economic and family breakdown that affects a great part of this society, despite the attempts at modernisation and adaptation to the European Union locomotive (integration is expected in 2007). The public social services are deficient and the large state boarding schools are generally incapable of responding to the needs of thousands of young people whose past is lost and who risk losing their future also.

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