Count your Chickens 

"Whoever can be trusted with very little can also be trusted with much"

We had never thought that a freezer full of chickens was the key to seeing our 'dream home' built, it's not how we'd planned it but it turned out that it was. You see, one of FICR's local volunteers, who used to arrange cultural visits for our boys, was well connected to a wealthy Romanian business man. One day he sent over a freezer for the foundation filled with chickens. It was a very welcome gift. Our budgets were tight and gifts in kind like this made a real difference. We were grateful but thought that was that.

Some time later the business man sent someone over to count the chickens. They reviewed the meal logs (we were required to keep detailed records of meals and samples for testing) and concluded that all the chickens were accounted for - none had 'gone missing'. While this wasn't a surprise to us, it was a big deal for our business man. He had been testing us and found us trustworthy and now he wanted to know what we'd really like his help with.

What happened next almost blew our minds. Having shared with him the vision for a small scale family-like residential centre with 3 units each being home to 8 boys plus associated shared facilities, he picked up the phone. He called his architect and $1.2 million dollars later 'Acasa' (which means "At Home") had been built. It met all our specification including having a workshop for the boys to learn practical skills plus he'd thrown in some amazing extras- like an outdoor swimming pool and basketball court and let's not forget the grand piano in the dining hall. Our integrity really did pay!

Meanwhile around us the state was significantly improving in its engagement with street children. It was at least now rounding them up off the street into emergency placement centres, and while these offered little access to education or training it was at least a roof over their heads. Our role then shifted from taking kids directly from the street to taking referrals from these emergency placement centres, but that wasn't all.…