Romania was the second country we worked in, starting in 1987. During the Ceaucescu era we helped several hospitals in Bucharest, though we encountered many difficulties. By the end of 1988 we backed out as it was too dangerous to continue. On Christmas Eve of 1989 we helped the Red Cross fill the first plane of emergency aid for Bucharest. The revolution had just taken place. In March 1990 we sent supplies to a 450 bedded hospital for handicapped children in Siret on the Ukraine border. When Anneka Rice’s well-known TV show took up the challenge to give this ancient hospital a “make-over”, many hearts in Britain were touched by the plight of these children. By this time we had decided that the greatest need was for people to give some individual love and attention to these children. They were only taken out of their cots to play for half an hour each day! So these children craved the attention that our of gap year and other volunteers could give them.
Siret, Roumania: Our Day Centre and Rehabilitation Centre: The large Neuropsychiatric Hospital for handicapped children in Siret closed in 2001. The children under 18 were dispersed to small units in their home counties. Those over 18 who had been unable to achieve independence were placed in the dismal former town boys’ orphanage. Consequently, Jacob’s Well built a Rehabilitation Centre which is now the home for 11 young men who are need of supported social housing. With the help of the town’s social services and the local hospital activities are provided which teach them to care for themselves and to provide living and occupational skills. Jacob’s Well also built 4 houses to provide supported social housing for couples or families with special needs.