Why we work here
The population of Romania suffered greatly under the communist
dictator Nicolae Ceausescu. Despite Ceausescu being executed in
1989, Romania has continued to feel his legacy. However, the
country achieved membership of the EU in 2007. Corruption is a
major issue in the country and although it is starting to
experience some economic growth, it is happening rather slowly.
Romania is a significant transit point for heroin which impacts on
crime levels. MWB has a large programme of work in Romania and was
one of the first organisations to respond when the conditions for
children living in state homes were first revealed to the world.
The impact of Romania's orphanages continues to be felt and we work
extensively with families and children in the region.
The average age that children stay in school until is 14
22% of the population live below the poverty line
1% of Romania's children are engaged in child labour
The difference we make - Dumitru's story
Dumitru is 12 years old. He lives with his parents, Nicolae and
Aurica and his three siblings, Mihai, Alexandru and Elena.
Dumitru is Roma and he lives in the slums of the city. His father
is a street cleaner and he earns approx. £155 a month. Dumitru's
mother is mentally ill and epileptic which means she is unable to
work. Almost all of the money earned by Dumitru's father is used to
pay for his mother's medication. While Dumitru and his brothers go
to school, his sister stays home to look after his mum. Dumitru's
father works extra on Saturdays so that the family can pay for
electricity and food but during the winter months he cannot work
extra hours. This makes winters especially difficult for Dumitu and
The children love to help their parents and they dream of having
jobs when they will be grown-ups. Dumitru wants to become a
forester, Mihai wants to be a driver, Alexander wants to build
houses and Elena wants to become a doctor - to help her mother get
Dumitru is a very diligent and hardworking boy. He wakes up in
the morning and washes his face outside in a bucket, because they
don't have a bathroom. Then, he eats what he finds and sometimes,
he doesn't eat at all because they didn't have the money to buy
some food the day before. Many times the children eat only the
bread and the milk they receive at school and many times that is
the only meal they get in a day.
Dumitru doesn't have many friends because he is Roma, an ethnic
group that is heavily stigmatised in Romania. Dumitru
struggles a bit at school because he has to help out a lot at home
and doesn't have much time to do his homework. Dumitru is a
very good and obedient boy. He does everything his parents ask him
to and works from the morning to the evening, every day.
Dumitru was delighted when he had the chance to go to summer
camp with his brothers (his sister is too young to attend). After
the camp Dumitru said: "I had so much fun with my brothers, it is
the first time we have ever done something like this. Everything
was so good: the food, the people… I have made many friends there
and the leaders were so nice with us."
The MWB team in Romania have provided food, clothing and shoes
to the family when they are in crisis. We've also provided them
with materials to insulate their home to make it more efficient and
keep winter fuels costs down. Long term plans have been put in
place to help the family achieve self-sufficiency and we've been
able to provide Dumitru, his siblings and parents emotional and
spiritual counselling to support their wellbeing. We support
Dumitru and his family with their immediate and long term needs to
help them secure a happier, more stable future.