Impact Romania is the name given to the partnership between International Teams of Canada and our Romanian foundation, Pas Cu Pas. Our program focuses on institutionalized Romanian orphans and young adult orphans now living independently in northwest Romania.
- Population: approximately 23 million
- Between 1977 and 1981, Nicolae Ceausescu’s economic policies impoverished Romanians. Romania became a police state.
- These hardships culminated in his overthrow and execution by firing squad during the Romanian Revolution of 1989.
- Ceausescu made birth control illegal. Thousands of newborn babies from poor families were abandoned in hospital wards.
- International adoption helped alleviate this problem until 2001 when the practice was prohibited as a preequisite to inclusion in the European Union.
In the early 1990s, CNN carried the dramatic footage of children overflowing the orphanages in the former communist country of Romania. The world was gripped with compassion as the plight of these unwanted children was made public.
Over 15 years later, the same orphans who stared into the TV cameras are now in their late teens and being released from their state-run institutions to an uncertain future they are ill-prepared to face. They are vulnerable, unsupported and without direction. Approximately 80,000 Romanian orphans live in orphanages and in foster care, where minimal skill training or preparation is provided prior to releasing the youth into the community. There are many kinds of orphanages in Romania, including specialized facilities for children of convicts, children touched by tuberculosis, children with special needs, and infants who have been abandoned at birth.
International Teams’ Involvement
The purpose of Impact Romania is to disciple and develop (Psalm 78:72) Romanian orphans to grow in character and influence in the world.
The objectives to accomplish this purpose are as follows:
- Teach Jesus Christ as the foundation of life and restoration
- Create a supportive “culture of growth in community” for orphans
- Train orphans in family relationships and life-skills.
- Encourage Romanian orphans to help other Romanian orphans
Romania Orphanage Project – Impact Romania is committed to providing support for the on-going needs at three Romanian orphanages. Each week, older orphans lead teams to visit the orphanages, where they build relationships, lead programs, and just have fun together. In this way, the program objective of Romanian orphans helping other Romanian orphans is met. Many practical needs, such as supplying firewood, fruit, and medicine for the children are also met through the program. Every year, a team from Canada provides a dental clinic for institutionalized children who would normally have minimal access to dental care.
Camp Discovery – International Teams Canada organizes “Camp Discovery”, a 4-day summer mountain retreat for 40 institutionalized orphans who would otherwise have few opportunities to do things outside of the institution. The children are accompanied, one-to-one, by young adult orphan mentors. The focus is as much on developing the leadership skills of the adult orphans as it is on serving the needs of the children.
Canadian Teams – Visiting Canadian teams provide much needed support. Together we form a community, whose primary goal is to equip needy young people with a spiritual foundation, practical life skills and a heart to serve the country of Romania. The life-changing relationships that have been forming since 2001 are creating a community of healing and restoration for hearts that have seen abandonment and abuse.