September 2019 Update
Don Sappington from Remember Nhu with Emilia, Simona, and some of the mums and babies supported by RICF
Welcome to our September update and thanks to all those who support the work of RICF. We hope you enjoy the read as you settle back into normal routines after the summer break.
Remember Nhu visit
We were pleased to welcome Dr Don Sappington, representing our US funding partner Remember Nhu, to Bucharest in August. Don had a packed agenda during his 3 days with our team, travelling around Bucharest and the surrounding area visiting children in their homes with their foster carers and visiting mums and babies supported through our abandonment prevention project. He also really enjoyed his time meeting with our core HQ team, Ovidiu, Simona and Emilia, discussing RICF's projects in detail and brainstorming ideas.
Don wrote the following about his visit with us:
In August I visited Romania, the RICF staff and the clients they serve. Meeting and interacting with the mums, the foster families and staff of RICF was a great experience. Listening to the issues these amazing folks face, the insights and support they offer one another was inspiring. Remember Nhu is proud to partner with RICF as together we seek to protect children and end the sexual abuse and trafficking of children in the region. Investing in the mums, foster families, and the children they are protecting is an honor.
Thanks to Remember Nhu for believing in what we do, and to Don for putting so much effort and thought into his visit with us.
Abandonment prevention project
We continue to support 12 mums with their 13 children in this project. In addition to the monthly group meetings, our team are involved behind the scenes helping the mums navigate various life circumstances, giving advice about accommodation, safe working practices and child health issues, and collaborating as necessary with the Romanian child protection authorities.
At the August support meeting, which was also attended by Don from Remember Nhu, the difficult subject of sexual slavery of children and vulnerable adults was discussed. This subject is very close to the heart of Remember Nhu. The session was facilitated by Simona, our psychologist.
For our vulnerable mothers, being part of a friendship network of mums and having access to the RICF team for support and advice is a massive protective factor against the possibility of enticement into prostitution or falling victim to sexual slavery. Being no longer alone and isolated, and being aware of ways in which criminal gangs might seek to deceive them, they are better equipped to check out any concerns. They can access peer support through the Whatsapp group or at the monthly support meetings, and the RICF team is always accessible by phone or text. Through RICF they are also receiving training and support, and gaining in wisdom and confidence to help them offer the best possible environment for their children as they grow up.
'A Family for Me' Foster care project
We continue to support 14 foster carers caring for 17 children and young people. The foster carers' meeting in August also discussed the subject of sexual slavery and trafficking. The session was facilitated by Emilia, our social worker, and was aimed at raising awareness for our foster carers of the risks facing vulnerable young people, particularly young people in the care system. If the foster carers are aware of some of the methods used by traffickers to entice young people, they can be more alert to potential dangers. Underpinning all of this, the relationship between the young people and their carers is key. If the young people feel understood and accepted, they are far more likely to be honest and open about who they are in contact with, and who they are meeting up with, so that their carers can be involved, offer advice and mitigate risks.
Similarly, it is important that the young people themselves be aware of the risks they may face and how to remain safe in their personal relationships. We look forward to hearing how Emilia is getting on in her one to one mentoring sessions with our young people in foster care.
Thanks to RICF's HQ team
We are very grateful to Ovidiu, Simona and Emilia (shown here with Suzie during her May visit) for their hard work and dedication to RICF's projects. We felt very proud of them when Don was debriefing his visit and spoke very positively of them having spent time discussing our projects with them and seeing them in action during his visit. Well done, team!
Thanks to all our supporters
We are so grateful to all of our supporters around the world, many of whom give regularly and sacrificially to allow our projects to continue. Without you, none of this would be possible, and it is a privilege to work with you, putting the resources you offer to the best possible use.
Remembering our patron Theo Welch
Theo went to be with Jesus on Saturday 6th July. Suzie and her family were very glad to have been able to see Theo and his wife Pam back in May this year. Alice attended the thanksgiving service for his life, which was held in Toft, Cambridgeshire, and found the tributes really inspiring. All the RICF trustees are really grateful to Theo and Pam for their support for RICF over the years.
Some of Suzie's memories of Theo:
I knew there was something special about Theo when I first met him as my anatomy supervisor at Queens College (Cambridge) in 1996. Such a gentle, kind, knowledgeable person, with lots of stories and anecdotes to explain what we were learning, and always a twinkle in his eyes. And even doughnuts for those students would would brave his 07:45 supervision slots!
His faith and love for Jesus were so evident through his manner and how he spoke; his time serving as a surgeon overseas inspired me as a young medical student in the process of setting up Romania International Children’s Foundation (RICF). Theo agreed to be the patron for this fledgling UK charity, which has now been working to prevent child abandonment and to help abandoned and orphaned children in Romania for over 20 years. The team at RICF are so grateful for Theo’s encouragement and support for our work. We'll miss you, Theo, but look forward to seeing you again one day!