Why the Poor, Sick and Elderly in Romania Still Need Your Help

Romania continues to suffer from a legacy of 40 years of severe communist dictatorship - after which Civil Society and social services had to be reconstructed from scratch. Twenty years of "Free Market" capitalism hasn't been a great help either - at least not for the children, sick, elderly and poor who we try to help.

Western "market led" reforms by the likes of the World Bank left most of the population 8 times poorer than before. A tiny fraction thrived. But that's all.

The people who suffer the most are the poor, the sick and the elderly and particularly the people who live in badly underfunded state institutions. Many who we work with are the former "Romanian orphans" whose desperate plight had such a Dartmoor effect on world opinion 20 years ago. They graduated from state orphanages to state institutions for adults (see how we help them)

Romania is placed near Namibia and Columbia in its economic indicators report.

Every 5th Romanian Child is Exploited: some 900,000 of the approximately 5 million children of Romania are forced to work. Approximately 300,000 (of these) are forced to perform extremely hard manual labour (See note 1)

The North East of Romania - where we have many of our community-based projects - has been described as "the absolute poverty pole of Europe" – (See note 2)

95% of Romanian households in some parts of the North East have no running water, 10% cannot afford to connect to the electricity supply and there are no social services - other than those we provide - for an area of 24,000 people.

With 18 deaths per 1,000 babies born alive, Romania has the 3rd highest infant mortality rate in Europe after Albania (37) and Ukraine (21).



Note 1

"Every 5th Romanian Child is Exploited: some 900,000 of the approximately 5 million children of Romania are forced to work. Approximately 300,000 (of these) are forced to perform extremely hard manual labour . Most of them are illiterate as they were withdrawn from school in order to be able to 'do their job'.

About 89% of the exploited children live in rural environments. Poverty was deemed as the main cause of this situation."


Study by UNICEF, Ministry of Labour Romania and the Bureau of
International Labour Affairs


Note 2

Significantly, over two thirds of the paupers live in rural areas, where the poverty risk is 2.3 times higher than in urban areas. Geographically speaking, 25% of Romania's paupers live in the north eastern province of Moldova, where the poverty risk is 43%. Generally speaking 20% of the paupers are farmers, while another 20% are pensioners.

The most affected individuals are usually children or aged 15 - 24 (40%), followed by farmers (20%), retired personnel (20%), employees (10%) and unemployed (9%).