Off the Street
Back in 1995 there were significant numbers of children living on the streets of Romania. Many lived underground in the sewers eking out warmth from the hot water pipes that ran under the city. Others congregated in large groups on the roof of Bucharest's main railway station. Very little was done at the time by the state to support these vulnerable children. Some people 'joked' that the street dogs were treated better and that you were more likely to see an ambulance coming to remove a frozen child's dead body from the street than to see them being helped while they were alive.
It was into this context that Suzie, our teenage founder, decided that she must do something. Given the scale of the problem and that existing charities concentrated resources on so few of the children needing help, she concluded that she should partner with a new start-up that could reach a new group of children and a new set of supporters.
The team of the new start-up would go to the railway station and start to engage with the kids. They would offer them a place to wash, give them clean clothes and offer to help them get enrolled in school.
From there they started to provide somewhere for street boys to live. Initially this looked like 6 boys literally helped off the street living in a 10th floor apartment with no lift and to which the city's water pressure regularly didn't reach!
As this stay in Romania drew to a close Suzie gave them the £400 she'd saved while working as a care assistant in the UK - this was to last them 5 months. Leaving the boys in the care of the Romanian partner, she headed home to the UK to start medical school and to set up this charity to raise funds to continue and expand the work in Romania.