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NEHOIASULUI VALLEY DAY CENTER

Community Profile

Located in the northwestern mountains of Buzau County, the city of Nehoiu is referred to as "Montesnevium," Latin for "Snowy Mountain," because of its rough terrain and remote villages scattered among peaks and valleys. Currently, the town has a population of 12,635, only about 3,200 of whom are employed. Approximately 2,000 residents are under the age of 18. According to a recent study performed on a sample of 43 families (comprised of 252 individuals, among them 155 children), 91% of the people in the Nehoiu area declared their revenues insufficient for covering the bare economic necessities. With an unemployment rate of 52.3%, 39 out of the 43 families declared they had insufficient means to provide for their children.

A recent evaluation by Phillip House Foundation identified approximately 90 children in extremely difficult situations, requiring immediate assistance for improved living and educational standards.

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What we offer

The Phillip House Foundation has initiated a project to provide critically needed social assistance and educational support for the children in this area. Another goal of the project is to prevent and reduce child abandonment and subsequent institutionalization of children. Lastly, we are working to de-institutionalize some of children in this area and move them into a foster family setting.

Thanks to a good collaboration between local government entities and Phillip House Foundation, Nehoiu Mayoralty provided a location for the Day Center, where the activities could be developed. The allotted building was in poor condition, and we had to refurbish it completely. Besides refurbishment, we also had to build some extra facilities essential for the development of activities within the Daycare Center: toilet, bathroom, kitchen and a food store. For a period of time the Day Center functioned within a small local school in an old classroom.

Members of the Phillip House staff bring supplies to the Day Center from Nehoiu every week. The staff also monitors the various activities to ensure that they are developing according to project objectives.

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Activities & Services

  • daily educational programs for 40 children, some of whom are drop-outs, provided by 4 teachers and a social assistant. These teachers assist the children with their homework and help those who have fallen behind to catch up with their classmates
  • Daily hot meal, fruit and sweets
  • School supplies, shoes and clothing
  • Entertainment and/or cultural activities meant to stimulate creativity, critical thinking and problem solving, to motivate participation in competitions with other children, and to instill a sense of belonging to the community
  • Summer camps
  • Legal assistance to organize the children's identification documents and public records
  • Family (re)integration activities, meant to bond and/or mend family relations, involving the entire family in recreational activities and/or friendly competitions
  • Medical assistance according to needs, regular check-ups and vaccination campaigns
  • social assistance within the family for 56 children (food, school supplies, clothes)

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Foster Family Program

Currently a large number of children from Nehoiasului Valley are living in state-run residential institutions. Their parents are extremely poor and unemployed. They do not have as many job opportunities as the citizens from urban areas.

We have succeeded in de-institutionalizing 10 children from state-run residential institutions by placing them in foster families. These alternative families receive a monthly financial aid necessary for upbringing the children. Periodically, members of the Phillip House staff monitor the social situation of each family.

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Results

The lives of the children in the foster family program have completely changed. The children have integrated very fast within the families, where they are given all the love, affection and protection they need. The success of this program is a crucial outcome of the project from Nehoiasului Valley.

Since the start of the Day Center activities, the children's school results have improved significantly and the risk of dropping out of school or of being abandoned has diminished considerably.

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(c) Phillip House Foundation, 06.2003
design by Andrei C. Ionescu