AMURTEL Family – alternative residential care in Romania

AMURTEL Family :

AMURTEL Family has been offering a loving, warm, creative and healing home to children whose parents were not able to take care of them since 1992. The home located in Panatau, a small peaceful rural village in the Eastern Carpathian Mountains, and was designed to offer an alternative to the overcrowded and negligent Communist state institutions.

Purpose: To provide a creative, loving, healing family atmosphere for raising children abandoned to the state

Beneficiaries: 24 children and young people from the child protection system total – currently 11 in the home, 3 in transition, 6 integrated adults, 4 adopted as children

AMURTEL Romania arrived in 1992, and after witnessing the neglect and inhumane conditions of children abandoned in the state Communist children’s homes, decided to open a small family style children’s home in the peaceful rural mountain village of Panatau. The first child arrived in 1995, and since then, “AMURTEL Family” has been home to 24 children. Currently, 11 young people are still living in the house, while several others which are transitioning into autonomous adult life through AMURTEL’s “Vistara Social Integration Project”. From the beginning, Gopi Cornelia Fischer, the director of the house, known affectionately as “Mami” by the children, gave importance to creative expression as a way to heal. All of the children of the house are regularly involved in annual theater productions and other performances so that each one has the opportunity to discover a special talent and shine on the stage in front of their friends, teachers, and sponsors. The young people also have opportunities to travel abroad to visit sponsors and participate in summer adventure camping trips. Since 2012, many of our long-term sponsors from Switzerland have begun pulling out as they reach retirement age and must live on fixed incomes. AMURTEL is thus in need of new sponsors. In addition, we are engaged in finding alternative funding sources to sustain the project.

Development plans include shifting the project’s focus towards integration of youth at risk of social exclusion ( such as those that have grown up in children’s homes) so that we can continue the project building on our experience, once the current children have been successfully integrated.

Donors: Pănătău Kinderheim Verein (Switzerland), AMURT Italy, private sponsors