I can’t believe it’s almost here.
In a little over 5 days, I will be traveling half-way across the world to devote my summer to a cause that is so much greater than I. Romania is a country that I look upon as the Motherland-the beautiful eastern European country where I was born. It was home to me for a short 5 years before I moved here, to America. Sadly, it has never been a true home for its many orphans that roam the streets, gutters, and alleyways. They are undervalued, under-appreciated, and the forgotten citizens of the country.
This summer, I will be working with some of these forgotten orphans, who may be currently viewed as nuisances, but can become gems. Specifically, I will be working with older orphan girls, mostly all over the age of 18, who have “aged out” of the orphan system, meaning they have been kicked out due to their age. Their transition to life in the real world is not a smooth or successful one in most cases. Beauty from Ashes is a program that teaches work ethic, punctuality, job skills, simple hygiene and common manners are not well-taught in the orphanages to these girls, which are all vital skills to surviving in today’s world. More importantly however, it provides them with a family. Love is the last thing these orphans are ever shown, and it is the first thing I want to show them. The rest will go from there.
Thank you for joining me on this journey that I’m sure will be as much, if not more, of a blessing to me as it will to those girls I will be helping.
Here is a better picture of what orphans in Romania are facing, written by those who work faithfully with these orphans day in and day out:
Orphans in Romania
Orphans are looked down upon and are not helped like disadvantaged people are helped in America. They grow up in orphanages without role models or mentors. They are psychologically, emotionally, and physically abused. They are taught little about life skills and then, when they finish school (where they have learned very little), most of the time around eighteen years of age, they are forced to leave the orphanages.
At this point the government offers them very little help. Unless someone steps in and helps them, many become outcasts of society. Almost none are capable of making it on their own. Having been taught nothing about money, a work ethic, how to find a job or a place to live, paying bills, manners or even simple hygiene, many cannot fend for themselves and become jobless and homeless on the streets with other orphans. They beg and steal for food, become addicted to drugs and, worst of all, are lured into the underground world of prostitution and human trafficking.
The children who are prostitutes in Romania could almost be considered fortunate in comparison with the many that are made sex slaves and taken to other countries where they are never heard from again! The problem with the international sex-slave trade and human trafficking has been well documented and many exposes and books have detailed the horrible atrocities surrounding modern-day slavery.
Orphan youth are turned out onto the streets with few life skills. Joblessness, homelessness, drug abuse, prostitution, jail, and becoming victims of human trafficking are just a few of the results.
Romanian Orphan Ministries assists these youths in the transition from institutionalized life to becoming a productive member of society.
Our strategy is holistic, encompassing spiritual, social, physical, and educational facets.
We currently work very closely with around 20 orphans. We seek to have a big impact on a few lives rather than a little impact on many. We spend much time building relationships with them so that we can make a difference in their lives.
The Beauty from Ashes Center for Orphan Girls is a ministry of Romanian Orphan Ministries in Oradea, Romania. Teenage/young adult orphans who have “graduated out” of the orphanage system are taken into a family environment and begin the process of transitioning from institutionalized orphanage life to a normal, well-adjusted, productive life in Romanian society.
Since the teaching of a work ethic, punctuality, job skills, simple hygiene and common manners are not well-taught in the orphanages, a long up-hill struggle is required for an orphan to achieve the goals of this Center.
The Beauty from Ashes Boutique is one part of this program. Here the young women spend eight hours a day creating beautiful hand-made craft items which we then sell in Romania, Europe and North America. The proceeds from these sales are used to fund the Center. The girls are paid a fair wage,thereby breaking the cycle of dependency on others and the “hand-out” mentality that is so prevalent among orphans.
This is of utmost importance because homelessness, drugs, a life of crime, prostitution and human traffickers await these naive young people upon their exit from the orphanage system.
But programs and activities aside, we personally believe that the one thing that overrides all others is love. We show them love and acceptance, treating them and considering them as part of our own family.
Romanian Orphan Ministries Website
Romanian Orphan Ministries Facebook Page (updated weekly):
Beauty from Ashes Facebook Page: