According to a 2013 UNICEF Annual Report, Romania has the highest child poverty rate in Europe. While conditions have improved since the fall of communism in 1989, remnants of Romania's darkest days are perhaps best reflected in the lives of its orphans, street children, and struggling families.
Children to Love's partner in Romania is Fundatia Inimi Deschise (Open Hearts Foundation). Inimi Deschise offers a variety of social supports and services to Romania's most vulnerable, including counseling, afterschool programs, and Bible study small groups. These programs serve institutionalized children, as well as children from vulnerable families. Additionally, Inimi Deschise's committed team of social workers and psychologists make regular visits to various childcare institutions throughout the city of Bucharest, including homes for children with special needs.
In 2013, Inimi Deschise opened up Home of Hope, a residential program that is currently caring for six young girls who were taken out of abusive foster care situations or orphanage settings. This is a testament to the ongoing collaboration between the Inimi Deschise staff (some who have been with the ministry since it started) and the Romanian government over the past 20 years.
Bogdan Mehedintu has served with Inimi Deschise since 2002 and became director in 2006. In addition to his role as director, Bogdan serves as a member of the Child Protection Commission in Bucharest's Sector 3, where he is an advocate for change and reform of the system. In this role he is able to promote children's rights while being a model of a Christian approach to addressing the problems affecting children. He and his wife Delia have two boys, Victor and David.
Home of Hope is an innovative approach to the care of orphaned and abandoned children in Romania. Watch this video to learn how Inimi Deschise is combatting the problem.