“Cristian” Orphanage for children with severe physical and mental handicaps – Romania
Protecting and caring for the special needs of children and teens with multiple disabilities.
The Alabama National Guard, Rivers of the World (ROW), and the Cristian Centre.
In 1972 “Cristian Centre” was established as the “Tulcea Orphanage for Pre-School Children” under the authority of Tulcea Schools Inspectorate. From 1972 to 2000 the Orphanage hosted children ages 3-7 with normally developed intellect. By 1998, the scope and authority for the Orphanage was transferred to the new Romanian General Directorate for the Protection of Children Rights and the mission began to change. By 2000, the Orphanage changed its type of activity and the preschool children were transferred to other social assistance institutions.
The Cristian Centre was set up in the empty building in order to offer protection to children and teenagers with special needs transferred from the former Orphanage-Hospital in Horia Commune, Tulcea County, Romania.
The Cristian Centre opened with 66 children and teens with multiple disabilities on 1 September 2000. It is now under the capable guidance of Laura Albu, Director. ROW coordinates with the Alabama National Guard and the Humanitarian Assistance Program Manager at the U.S. Embassy in Bucharest, Romania.
The Alabama National Guard adopted the Cristian Center as a special project in 2008. And through the Guard partnership efforts many improvements have been made – but many more are needed.
In 2011, facility renovation work funded by the U.S. Army European Command (EUCOM) and the Humanitarian Assistance Program included:
- New windows and doors
- An elevator
- New paint
- Flooring / carpeting in the hallways
- Some new heating and air systems
In addition, the Alabama National Guard provided: clothing, blankets, toys and fruit on St. Nicolas Day, sports equipment, pediatric physical therapy equipment.
- The children at Cristian Centre have severe handicaps and have been diagnosed with a variety of neurological problems.
- The number of children varies between 60 and 70 (within the legal limits).
- As both an inpatient and outpatient facility, there are presently 72 children in permanent residence and an additional 28 children from the local community who are offered specific activities by the specialized personnel.
- The children are offered housing, care, affection, confidentiality, formal, informal, and non-formal education, psychotherapy, speech therapy, occupational therapy, and socialization activities.
- The institution maintains contact with the families and other important persons for the children.
- The facility is not yet fully adapted to the specific needs of the children.
- The treatment rooms for the different types of therapies lack the minimum necessary equipment and materials.
- Continued renovation is imperative.
- A complete kitchen upgrade is needed.
- The children are in constant need of:
- Clothing (from babies to teenagers)
- Diapers for all ages since they are mentally and/or physically handicapped
- School supplies
- Handicap accessible equipment such as shower chairs
- Physical therapy equipment
The Cristian Center still has great needs in the area of physical therapy equipment, clothes, child and small adult size diapers, and school supplies. Significant kitchen renovation is needed.
Many of these needs can be met through local purchases in Romania, however, that takes money and that’s where you come in. Through the Combined Federal Campaign (CFC), donations may be made to Rivers of the World (ROW) by mail or online and designated to help the Cristian Centre in Romania. The Combined Federal Campaign code for ROW is # 37837.
More specific questions may be asked of LTC Shannon Hancock, of the AL National Guard.
Shannon’s contact information is:
LTC SHANNON M. HANCOCK
JFHQ-AL ARNG – DOMS
1750 Congressman Dickinson Dr
Montgomery, AL 36109