The issues

At the “Secret Garden” we have many families trying to keep going under huge strain: children may be living with grandparents or other relatives while parents work abroad; some parents are struggling to cope with the demands of working and looking after a large family; older children may be looking after younger siblings; some families are struggling with substance abuse issues and are unable to give the support that is vital to children in the early years. All of our families are living below subsistence level and in addition to any other challenges, face all of the problems caused by extreme poverty.

How we help

Our hope is that people who come to us will see the “Secret Garden” as a kind of extended family, a place in which they feel loved, safe and at home. By providing the concept of an extended family we hope to support families and help them to cope in difficult situations. Mothers often left with all the responsibility of the children are able to take a break have a coffee and talk through their worries while children are occupied with games and other activities. Children receive much needed attention and time spent with them which their parents, in their daily struggle for survival are often unable to provide.

As we spend time informally with families we are able to find out the difficulties and needs, evaluate situations and ascertain whether we are able to help or seek help elsewhere. This may involve helping with paperwork, filling in application forms, providing financial assistance for medicine or a small amount of groceries for home.

How you can help

Financial help is always needed in order for us to be able to provide for small emergency needs. We are seeking people who are willing to engage with the families with whom we work. Sometimes that is simply taking some time with the children to give parents some rest or sitting and chatting with parents or grandparents in a friendly atmosphere, offering advice where relevant. If you are not a Romanian speaker, please don’t let that deter you, the most basic need of all our families is to be shown love and acceptance and sign language can go a long way!