In 1996, whilst researching for her university dissertation, Helen came into contact with a Staffordshire-based organisation that was preparing to bring a group of children on holiday to England from an orphanage in Dersca, in northeast Romania. After meeting the children, she knew that she wanted to help them, so the following year, visited them at their orphanage to try to understand more about their situation. Whilst their basic physical needs were being met, there was little recognition of their emotional needs and Helen felt that this could not be a one-off visit. She returned during the summers of 1997 and 1998, each time spending a month living near to the orphanage and visiting the children regularly.
In the summer of 2001, due to changes in government policy, the orphanage closed and the children were moved to several different institutions in local towns. Helen moved to Dorohoi so that she could continue to visit all of the children regularly, having promised by this stage to be there for them as they were growing up. Hospital visits became part of her daily routine, as several of the children needed long-term medical care. Several years later, the children moved into state-run apartments in Dorohoi, where their living conditions greatly improved.
Having initially been supported through St John’s Community Church in Chase Terrace, Staffordshire, Helen registered a charity in Romania in 2004 and in 2007, Light for Children became a registered charity in the UK. The work of LFC has since grown as you can see on the website. The original children from Dersca are now all in their thirties and Helen is still in touch with many of them. A few have graduated from university, several have their own families, some work either in Romania or abroad and others still require supported living. Several have now sadly died. New generations of children have continued to come into the care system and there are still plenty of opportunities to help and support them.
Helping children, young people and families in Dorohoi, Romania.
1 Corinthians 16:14