Hitchin charity supports orphaned and abandoned children in Romania

PUBLISHED: 09:57 31 March 2018

Angela and Nicoleta, who live in one of Humanitas' Safe Homes, with fundraiser Jo Wearne and volunteer Kasia Burke. Picture: Humanitas

Angela and Nicoleta, who live in one of Humanitas' Safe Homes, with fundraiser Jo Wearne and volunteer Kasia Burke. Picture: Humanitas

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A team of staff and supporters from Hitchin charity Humanitas have returned from work with orphaned and abandoned children in Romania.

Humanitas physiotherapist Radu gives treatment to Loan in his foster home. Picture: HumanitasHumanitas physiotherapist Radu gives treatment to Loan in his foster home. Picture: Humanitas

The youngsters are cared for by foster parents with support from the charity’s doctor, social worker and physiotherapist.

The six-strong team from Hitchin stayed in the village of Tinca, where Humanitas runs two Safe Homes – for up to 12 children between them. They also visited some of the 13 children living with families in the region.

Hitchin-based photographer Kasia Burke was among the Humanitas volunteers.

She said: “I have been completely overwhelmed by the connection that the foster parents have with the children. You would never know that they weren’t naturally born into the families.

Humanitas staff and volunteers with some of the children living in Safe Homes. Picture: HumanitasHumanitas staff and volunteers with some of the children living in Safe Homes. Picture: Humanitas

“The care and love that they give is unconditional and wonderful to see.”

Many of the children supported by Humanitas live with physical or mental disabilities as a result of neglect they suffered at early ages. The charity’s founder Sarah Wade, of Harpenden, cited the case of a girl called Nicoleta – whose first four years, in Romania’s worst orphanages, were such that she was unable to speak and had little experience of life beyond a small bed.

Nicoleta has behavioural difficulties as a result of the trauma she experienced, but the Humanitas team helped her overcome this, and she is now a thriving 17-year-old who studies at college and does work experience in a shop.

The other Humanitas volunteers included artist Lynn Grounds, who said: “We visited a severely disabled 12-year-old boy called Loan who has been living with his foster family since he was a year old.

“The trust that he had in the physiotherapist Radu was humbling, and to have the opportunity to see the amazing work that Humanitas does on the ground was very powerful.”

Philip Storey, founder of marketing firm Enchant, said: “It was a completely immersive and eye-opening experience.

“The children are so positive and full of life. I have returned with a renewed sense of purpose and will continue to show my support for the incredible work that these guys do.”

To find out more about Humanitas, volunteering and the charity’s future overseas trips, contact Joanne Wearne at joanne@humanitascharity.org.

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