The Relief Fund for Romania was founded by leading Romanian exiles from Communism led by Ion Ratiu (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 with British lawyer Peter Beneson.
As Ceaucescu's disastrous regime collapsed, Ratiu set up a charity to aid the terrible plight of the children and adults in the orphanages and psychiatric hospitals. The Relief Fund for Romania was the major focal point of the UK's generous aid response. "...Our teams work daily on the streets together with the local Department of Child Protection in an outreach programme. It identifies homeless children very early in their life on the street before they succumb to the inevitable risks of substance abuse and criminality. We offer food, friendship and support to each street child before they are admitted to our refuge. We also provide 'drop-in' day care facilities for children who do not wish to be admitted so that they still have access to medical care, showers, food and support services...."
The PEACE Fund is very proud to be associated with the Relief Fund for Romania and its ongoing work to aid and assist children in need.
WHY has The PEACE Fund chosen a Romanian charity?
Studies by UNICEF, Ministry of Labour Romania and the Bureau of International Labour Affairs May 2004 estimated the following: that over 6,000 children are living on the streets;
that 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; Northeastern Romania - where Relief Fund for Romania has many of its community-based projects - was recently described as "the absolute poverty pole of Europe"; 95% of Romanian households in some parts of the northeast have no running water, 10% cannot afford to connect to the electricity supply and there are no social services - other than those provided by Relief Fund for Romania - 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).
Adrian was able to see the situation first hand while filming Highlander:EndGame in 1999 and has, since that time, awaited an opportunity to do something tangible to help make a difference in the lives of at least some of these children. That time has now arrived.
thank you to www.peacefund.org/