Orphans International (Oi) is an organization working to bring good news to the orphans and poor, the oppressed and those in despair. We exist to help them have a better future, knowing that they are loved, and that those of us more fortunate do care.
Our work in Romania
After the fall of Ceaucescu in 1989, the overcrowded Romanian orphanages became well know for their inhumane conditions and children in despair. Annabel Stoner, founder of Orphans International (Oi), returned home to the UK from her first visit to such institutions in Northern Romania in 2002. This experience impacted and touched her so much that she was determined to start an initiative aiming to bring hope to those neglected children and impact change. And so Oi was born.
Today, the situation in Romania has changed but it still is Europe’s second poorest country and the impact of poverty on families is devastating. Often children are institutionalised because their parents cannot afford to keep them. About 20,000 children are still living Orphanages in Romania today. Over 60.000 are still in care of the State. But what children need is one-on-one love, care and proper relationships.
Since Annabel’s first visit, Oi has formed a fruitful relationship with Hand of Help, a privately run Orphanage and home to up to 120 Orphans from babies up to 18 years old. Ever since, we have been assisting them in the running of this home as well as providing financial means and support in form of regular visits. We also bought a Stepping Stone Home for young adults when leaving the Orphanage at the age of 18. This apartment provides a home for four girls for a two-year period in which they can learn to become independent. They learn life skills such as financial budgeting, cooking, running a household and many more before embarking on their future lives. We are determined to help these young women in residence find work before they leave the apartment.
Oi also reaches out to the poor in Romania in many ways. We provide food parcels, pregnant cows, wells and financial support to poor families preventing further children being sent to orphanages.
In less careful times, many Romanian children, especially orphans, were infected with the HIV/AIDS virus through blood transfusions and reused vaccination needles. Many of them suffer discrimination in their communities, exclusion in school and cannot find work due to the stigma of their illness.
This is why Oi is helping young people with HIV/AIDS where we can, providing them with supplemental funding for nutrition so they can build their immune system as well as sponsoring accommodation and a yearly holiday to the mountains or seaside. We are currently working on ways of opening up opportunities of employment so they can actually live as normal a life as possible.
PLEASE STAND WITH US HELPING CHILDREN WITHOUT A FUTURE!
Our work in the Democratic Republic of Congo
Life is hard for the vast majority of children in the DRC. For the country’s five million orphans life can be even harder. This is the case especially in the DRC’s eastern Kivu region where children suffer the consequences of war, armed conflict and political instability resulting in tens of thousands of war orphans. The living conditions of these orphans are very poor. Most of them are illiterate and have no means to build their lives. Education, although known as a powerful instrument to reduce poverty and badly wanted by the people in the Kivu region, is a service the non-functioning state is unable to provide, especially for orphaned children.
It is because of this immense need that the War Orphans Education Project (WOEP) was born. Nelson Mandela once said education is the most powerful weapon, which can be used to change the world. Our vision is to impact lives through education and in doing so bring lasting change to people and communities in the DRC. WOEP exists to bridge the gap and help orphaned children access education and build a sustainable future. Our local partners work to place girls and boys in good schools and look after them for the duration of their education paying fees, providing materials and medical care. Because the programme draws children from all tribes, faith and ethnic backgrounds in the Kivu region, the project also serves as an important tool for social cohesion fostering much-needed reconciliation between conflict-affected, segregated communities.
Although located in a volatile region, we have run the WOEP project successfully for 14 academic school years from September 2003 to 2017. We are now embarking on our 14th year programme. The WOEP project has been growing with success: we nearly doubled the number of children in full education from 357 to 606 since the project started in 2003; however, 3000 more children are on the waiting list to be enrolled.
PLEASE STAND WITH US HELPING ORPHANED CHILDREN HAVE A FUTURE !