THE FARA THERAPY CENTRE FUND
From 1st March 2016 FARA Shops have been raising money for the FARA Therapy Centres Fund. Please support this by making a donation in your local FARA shop or online
The fund aims to raise a minimum of £5000 to equip St Theresa's newly expanded therapy centre providing specialist therapy services and family support for 80 children aged 0 -16 years old with Autism, Down syndrome, Cerebral Palsy, ADHD, Scoliosis and other complex needs.
The History of FARA's Work with Children with Complex Needs
FARA has been actively working to alleviate the suffering of children neglected by Romania's state institutions for 25 years. Before FARA was founded back in the late 1980s/ early 1990s under Romania’s Communist President Nicolai Ceausescu, many ‘disabled’ children were forcibly removed from or abandoned by their parents. According to Government statistics at the time, there were no disabled children in Romania. They were hidden away from society and forgotten.
In the beginning the focus and development of the charity was primarily in caring for abandoned children and babies, developing foster care, family homes and working to improve child care services. In 2007 FARA started to develop programmes to help those with complex needs - both physical disabilities and learning disabilities. the Samuel Centre, for specialist learning and therapy was opened in Bucharest and was the first of its kind in Romania. Since the much has been achieved in this particular aspect of FARA's charitable works. Please watch this video to take a tour of a FARA Therapy Centre www.youtube.com/watch?v=Sbw8si-WqHA
'A mentally or physically disabled child should enjoy a full and decent life in conditions which ensure dignity, promote self-reliance and facilitate the child's active participation in the community.'
Unite Nations Convention on the Rights of the Child (1) Article 23.1
Even today the social attitude to disabilities in Romania can still be negative - children born with special needs can often be discounted and shunned by their community with the prevailing attitude that disability is something dealt with by medication to control the condition with little recognition of the need for children to be stimulated and interact with others. Social stigma, lack of understanding of a child's needs, little or no support (funding for this is very limited in Romania) and the compounding issues of poverty (20% of Romania's population live in extreme poverty) means children with special needs are at high risk of being abandoned and placed in state institutions.
FARA works closely with statutory authorities in running our three pioneering therapy centres supporting 150 children aged between 0-12 years with Autism and other complex needs. A lack of consistency and stability makes working with Romanian authorities a challenge - something FARA has tackled head on with an expectation of excellence and acting as advocates of best practice. Specialist staff provide a wide range of individually tailored support in one on one and group therapy sessions. These include specialist education intervention, physiotherapy, speech, art and sensory therapy, family support & outreach services (such as the provision of household goods and transport), socialising and counselling. FARA champions social integration and inclusion in the educations system. It is believed that only 28% of children with complex needs receive some form of education mostly in mainstream schools where they lack individual care they desperately need.