Fundatia de Voluntari Somaschi

In Romania, the situation of children and young people in need of protection is problematic and complex. In recent years, the country has been going through a phase of socio-economic and political crisis and the population has felt a lack of hope and confidence in the future, which has led to a sort of immobility and resigned fatalism. Specifically, from a social point of view, there are very serious problems such as the phenomenon of children on the street, alcoholism, drug addiction, family violence, child abuse within and outside the family, the phenomenon of institutionalization of minors and the high rate of pediatric HIV, as well as the wide spread of diseases related to precarious living conditions in the poorest segments of the population. In addition, there are very high unemployment rates and pollution (Baia Mare, which means big mine, in the north-west of Romania) was the third most polluted city in Europe, with the consequent very high health risks. The situation is aggravated by poverty, which encourages phenomena such as prostitution, including child prostitution, and exposure to sexual and organ trafficking. The objective to be achieved, in this sense, is to reform the system of protection of children and young people, closing all remaining orphanages and eradicating the institutionalization of children by 2022, working on the improvement and development of the professional skills of social workers and affecting the development of social policies. 

The Fundatia de Voluntari Somaschi is a Romanian association that has been operating in Romania in the city of Baia Mare since 1997, dealing mainly with minors between 8 and 20 years of age, who have precarious and difficult family, economic and social conditions.

The Fundatia is a lay organization, apolitical, born as a day center to engage the afternoons of some boys, but today has grown and offers the following services:

1. The CERS Day Center. The Educational Center of Social Reintegration currently hosts 40-50 young people aged between 8 and 18 years, with serious social problems.

2. The "CASA MIANI" Community. This is a residential community for 8 (currently 12) minors from the Center who have particularly problematic family situations, from an economic or social point of view.

3. The Aid Warehouse. Thanks to the collaboration with various organizations, especially Italian ones, humanitarian aid of various kinds such as clothing, medicines, toys, stationery and food are sent to Romania every month by truck. These goods are sorted, divided and distributed first to the families directly followed by the Fundatia and then to all other associations in the city and surroundings.

4. Health Care. Thanks to the collaboration with some local doctors, the Fundatia guarantees the presence of a doctor and the distribution, from the pharmacy, of free medicines. Through the pharmacy, which is replenished every 2/3 months, we help poor people, mostly elderly, who have a very low pension.

5. The first reception center for minors and adults. The services offered are street intervention with a mobile unit, a socio-educational day center for street minors, a night shelter - section for adults and minors, a canteen for the administration of a daily meal, sanitation services (showers, free basic medical examinations, toilets, laundry and clothing distribution).

6. The Semi-autonomy project. Since 2009, the Semi-autonomy project has been created for young people who are or have reached the age of 18. The purpose of the project is to ensure that users learn, step by step, to manage themselves independently.

7. Training of volunteers. The training program is intended for social volunteering and includes animation in Roma camps, hospitals, hospices, kindergartens, schools, courses and recreational activities. 

All the activities of the Fundatia (in the day care center, in the community, etc.), given the origins of the same, are based on the work of volunteers who assist educators in the implementation of various projects. Currently, the volunteers attached to the organization are about 30.Currently, in Fundatia de Volontari Somaschi, the salaried staff is 12 workers.