About the Relief Fund for Romania


How we work

Our Aims And Objectives

Our Reputation For Successful Work

How We Are Funded

Our History



We are a British charity, based in the UK, (Registered charity number 1046737) that raises funds and spends them in Romania.


When the humanitarian crisis in Romania became an international scandal we were the first UK / Romanian charity to be set up - by Ion Ratiu who was the leading Romanian exile at the time. (He had also helped set up Amnesty International).

We helped expose the scandal of Romania's orphans to the world when one of our team took a BBC film crew into a Romanian orphange. As a result we were at the centre of the huge international response that followed and became one of the largest and most active UK charities helping Romania.
More recently our senior UK team have handed over most of the significant management to our highly trained and effective colleagues in Romania. We are now volunteers but we continue to steer the charity.

We are still a reasonably significant funder and remain one of the leading UK Romanian aid groups.

What we do

We either fund Romanian charities - with whom we work closely on various long-term community based projects - see our partners or we deliver services directly with our own projects.

Our charity also funds national campaigns and training programmes particularly focusing on human rights in institutions and community care of the elderly.

See our projects

Read why Romania still needs help

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How we work

Our work focuses on the principles of self-help and aims to spread successful project models.

What has been tried and tested is communicated to others.

We listen to our Romanian colleagues, identify and study problems where we can make a difference and work with them to create workable solutions with defined aims and timescales.

We work in established partnerships with Romanian registered charitable organizations.

Our main partner, Fundatia de Sprijin Comunitar, was formed by staff who have worked with us from the outset.

To read more about our Romanian partners please click here

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Our Aims And Objectives

The relief of poverty, sickness and distress through projects helping the children, sick and elderly of Romania's institutions and most disadvantaged communities.

To sponsor national campaigns, for example, for the prevention of tuberculosis and the raising of standards of medical care.

To support the emerging charity sector through capacity building and to encourage Romanian professionals to channel their energies and talents into improving their society.

To continue helping those most in need by funding projects.

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Our Reputation For Successful Work

The Relief Fund has built up a hard-earned reputation for producing effective work in what is widely acknowledged as a very difficult arena in which to operate.

Our projects in Romania have helped many thousands of children, sick and elderly, making a real difference to their lives, whilst also supporting the struggling Romanian professionals who are working for them.

The importance we place on the opinions of the Romanian colleagues ensures that the work we do is relevant and doesn't simply impose our own Western values, which would ignore the very different social, economic and cultural conditions that resulted from Ceausescu's extremely severe totalitarian regime and remain to this day..

We were the first charity in the UK to be awarded a Seal of Approval by the Accrediting Bureau of Fundraising Organisations, an initiative which involved detailed examination of a charity's work, accounts and administration systems, to show that we are accountable to the public.

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How We Are Funded

We are funded by public donations, grant-making trusts and our charity shops.

Please see our latest accounts which show very low administration costs.

We focus on spending donations quickly and effectively.

Sadly, demand for help always exceeds our ability to respond and we have to refuse many heartbreaking requests.

We guarantee that 100% of any donation from a member of the public will go directly to Romania. (This is because our administration costs are funded separately).

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Our History




The Relief Fund for Romania was founded by leading Romanian exiles from Communism led by Ion Ratiu RIP (1917 – 2000), distinguished Romanian diplomat, entrepreneur, publisher, writer and humanitarian. He devoted his life to the fight for democracy in Romania.

Ion Ratiu also co-founded Amnesty International withh Peter Beneson

As Ceausescus' appalling regime collapsed, he set up the charity - the first of many to be formed.

We were a major focal point of the UK's generous aid response.

We were soon involved in publicising the terrible plight of the children and adults in the orphanages and psychiatric hospitals.

We then played a significant part in coordinating the huge aid response to the Romanina orphans, transporting huge quantities of emergency supplies and networking aid efforts to Romania, particularly from the UK.

We soon saw the dangers of enthusiastic but unfocused aid and led many of the more serious aid groups on formative policies.

For example we discouraged the expensive transportation of donated toys and other materials to Romanian orphanages. Although given with the best of intentions these were often broken and of little use to the orphans - who needed a serious long-term approach to their proper care and future.

We now fund various long-term community-based and national projects and campaigns helping Romanian orphans, institutionalised children and adults and others in need.

All of our trustees are of Romanian origin.



Here are some of our old charity projects in Romania


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"It is good to see the RFFR responding to the TB crisis so effectively."

Dr Arata Kochi, Head WHO Global TB Programme.

"None of this (TB programme development) would have been possible without the sensitive and flexible approach of the RFFR."

Professor Emil Corlan, Head Romania National TB Programme.

"I am pleased to inform you the Relief Fund for Romania is the first British Charity to have been awarded our Seal of Approval."

Dr John Beishon
Chief Executive
Accrediting Bureau of Fundraising Organisations

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About our website

Please note that our website was built and is maintained by volunteers. This means it might not always be as up to date as it should be.

For example we might still show links to old projects, and not show any thing at all about new projects.

If you see anything that looks odd please do contact us to let us know and we will do our best to change it asap. Thank you

If you would like to make a quick secure donation to help those in need in Romania please click here