Tuesday, July 17, 2007

The Romanian Orphan Crisis

We've all heard the horror stories of how orphanages in foreign countries, such as Romania, used to be. Remember learning about the babies left in their cribs 24 hours a day, rarely being spoken to by their caretakers? The children who sat in their cribs and rocked or banged their heads in an autistic-like fashion ... causing the American doctors who visited the places to come to the conclusion that actual autism was caused by "refrigerator mothers"?
Of course, that was a long time ago. Now, everyone knows that all babies and toddlers need lots of eye-to-eye, skin-to-skin contact, stimulation, and love. Everything is fine now. Right?
Wrong.
Take a look at this video. It shows an ABC news investigation of psychiatric hospitals in Romania. Children with even the mildest of disabilities... and even some children abandoned because they just "aren't cute"... have been warehoused in these adult psychiatric hospitals. This video shows what these kids go through on a daily basis.
Romania's Starving Children

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So what can we do to help this situation?
Well, there are online petitions you can sign, like this one and this one, urging USA, European and Romanian government officials to take a stronger stance on the protection and care of these kids.
You can donate to the Relief Fund For Romania, a UK organization that provides relief efforts in many different capacities for Romania, including for orphans. They are currently working to get every institutionalized child out of the institutions and either back with their families or into regular foster care.
You could sponsor a child throught the Romanian Children's Relief Fund, which works to prevent children from being abandoned in the first place, and also removes children with special needs from psychiatric hospitals and institutions, places them in specialized foster homes. These children recieve weekly outreach visits to make sure they are being properly cared for, and training, support, and financial aid for the foster families caring for the kids.
And if you have the resources to be able to do so, you could even volunteer in Romania!
Most importantly, just keep these children in your mind, your heart, and your prayers!
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2 comments:

Assistive technology said...

Wow, awful! This is just terrible. Thank you for bringing this to our attention.

Anonymous said...

What kind of gift can you give for $10 this holiday season? Some new socks? A few iTunes downloads? How about shelter and warmth for a child ? A hot meal and clean sweater for an orphan who has neither?
This holiday season, the Strive For Life Foundation has partnered with the Case Foundation, Facebook and Parade magazine for a wonderful opportunity, and we are asking that YOU be a part of it.
For a donation as small as $10, you can change the life of a child. Each donation will be tracked and counted. If we are among the top charities for NUMBER of donations (not dollar amount, just number of individual donors), then we can "win" a donation of up to $50000 from the sponsors.
On December 13th, 2007 this challenge will go live, and run until January 31, 2008. We NEED your support to do our work.
$10 can change the life of a child.
Or it can buy some socks.
Please show your support.
Visit www.striveforlife.com for information.

Join this cause to help raise awareness and funds for the Strive For Life foundation, a 501(C)3 registered tax exempt charity. This organization is working to provide the basic necessities of life to the children of Romania.

After the fall of communism in 1989, the dreadful living conditions of the orphans and homeless children of Romania were exposed to the world. Soon after the media coverage stopped so did much of the caring. Some changes have been made, but not nearly enough.

There are estimates of over 20000 children living in the streets, sewers and underground train stations of Romania. Addicted to inhalants which curb the aching hunger and blur their bleak futures, these children fight every single day to stay alive.

The "fortunate" children in the institutions are hardly in a better position. They suffer neglect, malnutrition and bide their days in substandard facilities receiving little attention.
Strive For Life wants to reeducate the public about what is going on.

We want to help change the lives of these children and help them move towards futures filled with potential and growth. Basic human needs will be provided including food, clothing, medical attention, shelter and education.

Strive For Life. Making a difference one child at a time.