J.K. Rowling Continues Fight to Help Orphans in Eastern Europe (Updated)

95

Feb 27, 2008

Posted by SueTLC
Uncategorized

Previously we have reported on efforts made by Harry Potter author J.K. Rowling to help raise awareness and change regarding the plight of orphaned children in Eastern European countries. A founder of the Children’s High Level Group and active with the Children’s Voice campaign, Jo has written on her website in the past about the plight of disabled and mentally handicapped children locked in cages, and her commitment to seeing conditions improve for these orphaned children. Today, UK newspaper The Sun reports that Jo is continuing in this effort as she and the wife of UK Prime Minister Gordon Brown will meet with the wife of visiting Romanian President Calin Popescu-Tariceanu in London. The paper reports

The plan is to help tackle health care problems in the East European country that can lead to disabilities.Mr Brown also wants to support efforts to stop babies being abandoned at hospitals.A Downing Street insider said: “This is an issue which Sarah and JK are passionate about.”They’ve been grateful for the willingness of the Romanian government to engage in serious discussion about it.”

UPDATE: There is a new report online now, from the British Embassy in Bucharest, Romania, with a photo of JKR at this meeting. The press release says The participants at the meeting agreed on the impressive progress that Romania had already made and on the importance of further collaboration and exchanges of best practices… A second outcome of the meeting is that Bucharest will host a seminar gathering officials from child protection fora, NGOs and business representatives, later in the year.The British Prime Minister Gordon Brown commented: “I am delighted that this meeting has taken place today. Although there is still work to be done, Romania is helping to show the way on how to tackle the challenges faced by children with disabilities. Britain and Romania will continue to work together in this important area.”

Readers will recall Jo made a trip to Romania several years ago, and visited some of these children; photos from this previous trip are available here in our galleries.





60 Responses to J.K. Rowling Continues Fight to Help Orphans in Eastern Europe (Updated)

Avatar Image says:

fiiiiiiiirst !! Jo you are an amaring woman !!!! Cool

Avatar Image says:

Yes, Jo is amazing. Unfortunately the other side involved in this, namely the romanian govt only does this because 2008 is election year. Funny how they remember these thing every 4th year…...

Avatar Image says:

Stop children being abandoned in hospitals? How? Do they mean that giving up babies for adoption is wrong, somehow? Women who give birth have already performed a great sacrifice, giving of their health, bodies and youths. Now they’ve chosen to give their babies up, and it’s up to the state and the state’s social programs. It’s NOT up to the state to ruin these women’s lives, and neither it is to Brown or Rowling. They can try and better these children’s conditions, not to intrude into private lives.

Avatar Image says:

@ Kulyok: I think it doesn’t mean intruding in their lives legally by making their choice to give their babies to adoption illegal, but making it easier for women to keep their kids, this is, trying to solve the problem starting by the base of it all. And, even if this woman gave up her health, her body and her youth to have that baby, that baby didn’t come out of the blue.

Avatar Image says:

Perhaps they mean that babies are being left by mums at hospitals without the authorities knowledge. You know – mums abandoing their babies by leaving them within the hospital & walking away without them.

Avatar Image says:

To Kulyok, do you honestly think that it’s Jo’s plan to ruin a woman’s life? Remember that she was a struggling single mother herself once and I bet she wouldn’t wish that one anyone. If you abandon a baby at a hospital in Romania it’s not like in the US or UK, there is no home for that child, or a plan to give them one. I’m a big one in believing that no one should make you have a child, but do you honestly think the only plan that Jo and Mrs. Brown have is to force mothers to take their babies home? That’s almost guaranteeing that neither the child or the mother will have a good life. Think about it.

Avatar Image says:

Still, the article is pretty poor, backstory-wise. It is as if we still were living in the Cold War World…

Avatar Image says:

I meant to say the Sun article, not leaky’s..

Avatar Image says:

Its the Sun, what do you expect

Avatar Image says:

oh god. this makes romania look so bad in europe’s eyes. no that it didn’t look like that before, but still. there are loving mothers and normal parents in romania too, just so you know. it’s true that we need help, but i guess i’m too proud to accept it.

yep, i’m romanian. I’M NORMAL, I SWEAR!!! :))

Avatar Image says:

At least giving your baby for adoption is legal there Andrei…if a woman did that here after giving birth to her child she would end up in jail…

Avatar Image says:

UUUU…..that’s just amazing! I wish I could help,but I don’t even have enough money for myself. Not only she wrote the books that changed our lifes, now she’s helping to other people…. your great. I can even compare her with Oprah!!!

Avatar Image says:

Wow! Go JO! Keep doing the good deeds!

Avatar Image says:

wants to support efforts to stop babies being abandoned at hospitals

What shall i think about that? Are child and mother now forced to lead a 18-year long fight, because the mother is forced to love a baby she didn´t want?

Where will she put the baby instead? Dead in the streets? Although this can´t be Jo´s plan it sounds like that.

Avatar Image says:

Ah anyway: Are there no organisations in Romania? Does Jo have to play ´the good Brit`?

Avatar Image says:

Yes, this makes Romania look really bad and also Czech Republic, it looks like we keep childern locked in cages and Jo is our rescuer. I love her, she’s amazing, but it’s not good for us (Czech), now it looks like we are ‘bad people from Eastern Europe’. And I’m sad because of that.

Avatar Image says:

Indeed, it does make Romania look terrible in foreigners’ eyes. And even though she just wants to help the kids here by donating money and such, the media will or already made an entire fuss about all this, and I can’t help but the doubt if there’s truly such a huge number of kids and the fact they’re treated so brutally. It just makes me wonder, because media always exaggerates almost everything. Anyhow, I support her action, but I cannot but say that’s she’s kind of wasting her money if she involves politicians. I have to admit that corruption here is at daylight (it’s just the truth) and I sincerely hope that the money will go to the right place – the kids. Ironic fact – now Rowling will be in foreigners’ eyes some kind of “saviour” or so and Romania will be the poor and communist remnant which still uses chains or cages to calm down kids. >_> I’m not very patriotic, but it does make me squeamish a lot in front of this entire situation.

Avatar Image says:

@secunda She should care about the UK instead. I find her behavior arrogant.

Avatar Image says:

In Romania the government and healthcare system are corrupt. They do nothing for the people unless bribed to do so. I’ve worked with orphans in Romania and not only are they treated poorly, but no one cares about them. They are not pitied like they are in the U.S. but are looked down upon like a lower class of people. Many orphans run away from the orphanages and live on the streets. It’s crazy how many kids live homeless and on their own in Romania, but they have no other choice. I think what Jo is doing is amazing. I love Romania and the Romanian people and while this may shed some bad light on the country, it is worth it if it makes a difference! Jo is awesome!!

Avatar Image says:

Why doesn’t she help orphans from Jersey? I’ve heard hundreds of them have been molested, beaten and even killed and their bodies stacked in the building.

Avatar Image says:

It is just wonderful that she is as committed as she is to confronting this worrisome issue.

Avatar Image says:

I just knew I’d come on here and see some negative comments thrown Jo’s way. It’s pretty ridiculous. She’s involved in a charitable organization that works to improve the conditions of children abandoned at birth as well as the conditions in the orphanages (recall the caged beds anyone?!?). Criticizing her just screams of ignorance. She’s using her notoriety to get the organization some attention… that’s the whole point! If more people know about it, more people can help.

... and just because she’s focusing on Eastern Europe doesn’t mean they’re saying everyone in Eastern Europe abandons their child or provides poor homes. GEEZ! It’s just an ongoing problem that needs attention so the situation can be improved. We need help here in the States too with our foster care system… I think it’d be great to have some attention brought to it by a public figure.

Avatar Image says:

ania – What makes the kids in Jersey worth more than the kids in Romania? All of those situations are sad, but it’s ridiculous to imply that she has to help everyone otherwise she’s not being helpful. You aren’t being fair to her by any means.

Avatar Image says:

I think it’s funny how you can’t do a damn thing in this world without people finding something to bit@h about. This woman is trying to do something good. It’s a Sun article, doesn’t explain well, end of story. This reminds me of a coworker of mine who, we like to joke, would bit@h if he won a million dollars and the bills weren’t crisp enough. Who in their right minds would actually believe that Rowling is trying to force everyone to keep a baby? Who? Hahaha

Avatar Image says:

You people are unbelievable. Jo shouldn’t help these children because they aren’t of the correct nationality? Seriously?

Good for you Jo – trying to do something good in this world. I can only wonder if the people bitching in this thread are making equally honest efforts to help children in need.

Avatar Image says:

and RDR Books and stanford law are smearing and defaming jo, trying to paint her as a morally bankrupt greedy bad person trying to take away from the less fortunate.

on a similer note. mel, any idea when we will hear JK/WB’s reply that was suposed to be filed today?

Avatar Image says:

I am Romanian, and I think some of my people are a bit too touchy about our image. It’s not the image that counts here, it’s the reality, and Rowling is willing to do something to help. I think it is quite possible that some people are too poor to keep their children. Maybe it is those people they want to help keep their children. I don’t see how anything other than financial help would do it there. Otherwise, I don’t know, but I am sure it is humane, or Jo wouldn’t support it.

Avatar Image says:

ive seen A LOT of news docus about this.. and yes it is very, very tough on the children..they have mental illnesses and they were just in those ‘cages-like’ things the whole day.. the caretakers would just give them food though a hole. although there is many institutions that have stopped doing this, a lot are still doing this treatment.

“Indeed, it does make Romania look terrible in foreigners’ eyes”

im sorry to be rude, but is that the only thing you care about? how romania will look through a foreigner’s eye.. how about those kids?

Avatar Image says:

i just had to add that some comments about jo here is SO ridiculous, she isnt the first person to criticize what romania is doing, and from what ive seen in the news, their government KNOWS about this.

Avatar Image says:

Just to clear out things, the one with the plan to stop kids being abandoned is Mr. Gordon Brown, not JK Rowling or Gordon’s wife. Anyways, all the article says is that Sarah Brown and JK Rowling are very passionate about Romanian child care system. Are they wrong for that? Nope. We live in a globalized world people, I can be worried about kids in other countries other than mine and that doesn’t mean that I think everything is alright in my country. Anyways, I think that JK Rowling is proving herself once more to be a great role model, one ore two celebs should take a leaf of her book. @ Romanian peeps: Cheer up! At least people don’t think there are no universities where you live…which is more than I can say about the common opinion about Latin America…

Avatar Image says:

That’s right people, serve your own agendas by being angry at Jo because she wants to help orphans from a specific country, and not your own. Amy S is right. You lot are unbelievable. At least Jo’s agenda is a decent one.

Avatar Image says:

Good for you, Jo!

Amy S, I agree completely. Apparently there’s always something for people to bitch about, even if it’s someone else working for a good cause… yeesh…

Once again, good on Jo for being passionate about this issue. :)

Avatar Image says:

GO JO! She’s an amazing lady!!

Avatar Image says:

Amy S , I completely agree. I just cannot understand what’s it WITH the whole nationality question. We’re talking about someone helping out children in need. Has everyone forgotten about humanity or what? At least Jo is doing something to raise awareness and help out, and perhaps help make this world a better place to live on for some children.

And Andrei, don’t worry, I don’t think Romania’s like that, and I’m sure many people don’t. Coming from a country of which people have a lot of wrong notions about, I can understand. But every country has some bad things happening in it, that doesn’t mean there isn’t anything good or normal there.

Avatar Image says:

Matthew Chapter 6

1 1 “(But) take care not to perform righteous deeds in order that people may see them; otherwise, you will have no recompense from your heavenly Father. 2 When you give alms, do not blow a trumpet before you, as the hypocrites 2 do in the synagogues and in the streets to win the praise of others. Amen, I say to you, they have received their reward. 3 But when you give alms, do not let your left hand know what your right is doing, 4 so that your almsgiving may be secret. And your Father who sees in secret will repay you.

Avatar Image says:

Mary, I’m not 100% clear on what your quotation is trying to say about this situation, but I’d just like to point out that when it comes to issues like human rights, children, etc., a horn needs to be blown, and people do need ‘to see’. One billionaire alone (whether they’re performing their good deeds in secret or not) can’t change things. As many people as possible need to be aware of the injustices and cruelties done in the world.

Avatar Image says:

“You are ungrateful.” By Lily Evans, a self-righteous hypocrite.

Avatar Image says:

Mrs. Rowling should say something about those Britons who buy Romanian children with their hard Pound Sterlings!

Avatar Image says:

JK Rowling shoulds say this , JK Rowling should do this …...................... You are unbelievable. In another site, the people bless her. And they are totaly allright !!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! Go JK U r the best

Avatar Image says:

Daniela, I’m with you, I’m Romanian too and I think this is putting a good light on Romania, rather than a bad one. It is all for the good, what this people are doing, and that is all of it.

Sue, you may want to correct I think, Ioana Tariceanu is the wife of the Romanian Prime Minister Calin Popescu-Tariceanu, not the wife of the President. :)

Keep up the good job everyone and peace.

Avatar Image says:

Of course Romania has made an impressive progress otherwise it could not has become a EU member state. Furthermore. It has made progress because of the Romanian people and their will to rebuild and renew their own country! Not because Joanne Rowling plays Mother Theresa in designer cloths.

Avatar Image says:

At least she wants to help, not be seen in designer clothes wanting to strut aroun doing nothing. Her being part of this cause helps attract attention to it,which is GOOD because it creates awareness. No one would really care if only politicians were involved, but because Jo is involved, it creates interest in people to read about the situation, and then, once they know about the situation, to help out too. She has absolutely nothing to gain by doing this, certainly not publicity or fans, I mean, come on, she has more than enough. So why are people still out to find something wrong in all this?? I mean, do some people here need an EXCUSE to just say bad stuff about Jo even if it is totally completely baseless??

Avatar Image says:

Are people completely forgetting the whole point about improving the conditions for youth? Who cares if the programs starts in Romania? Possibly the donations go farther there to help more children in need. The site states they are working on expanding the program throughout other Europe.countries.

People don’t have a right to tell J.K.Rowlings what she can, or cannot do. Anyone who gives of their time, energy and finances to any organization finds that people will criticize them for not doing enough, or not doing it in the right places, or not at the right time.

This is a modern culture where Visibility can make remarkable changes within people’s lives. I do feel she is making the difference that she can, where she can. Possibly she has been helping out other youth programs in the U.K. being an unknown and generous benefactor, and wants to remain that way. Just because focus is on her support for one program, does not mean that other programs have not had assistance from her.

The news always mis-interprets the intentions, takes quotes out of context in interviews, and slants information in a way to appear more appealing to do a slam piece, instead of stating the real facts to readers. Until I hear it directly from J.K.Rowlings – I won’t believe a word that is written in the tabloids about what she supposedly says or does, or is not doing enough.

Leave the woman in peace so she can continue to contribute in the ways she choses for causes she believes in.

Avatar Image says:

I would like to know if a gentleman by the name of Kelvin Dominic work for you. If not, he is trying to scam me using your orphanage. He claims that he has an orphanage in Nigeria. Let me give you his contact info:

Orphange Address….. Fight for the orphans Contact Address…. Address :50 Fanikayode Street City ;Ikeja Lagos Country :Nigeria Zip Code;23401 Phone :+2348038101048,+23417410983

U free to call me anytime here is my phone in brixton hill london …+447024079691 . Kelvin

If he is not legitimate, please help cease his activity.

Avatar Image says:

Well I following the discussion now for a while. Interesting. Do some of you people believe life is depending on Joanne Rowling?

Too funny.

Avatar Image says:

Calin Popescu-Tariceanu is the Romanian Prime-minister, not the President…

Avatar Image says:

Chrissi- Clearly you weren’t “following the discussion” very closely then. You seem to have really missed the point.

Avatar Image says:

It’s adressing the symptoms instead of the real problem. The cage beds might seem cruel, and indeed they are, if kids are left within for hours (and they probably are, for the reasons I mention next). They could be useful if used only for short whiles, e.g. when a child with mental problems, that could posssibly cause harm to himself, has to be left on its own for a while because the nurse or whoever is occupied for a while. The beds are for the kids safety. The real problem is, that there aren’t enough people to look after them. If one person needs to look after let’s say 10 kids (I’m making this number up, I don’t konw how many it is i reality, I just know there really is a lack of employees), he or she can’t properly look after all of them and guarantee their safety (I’m talking about kids with some disabilites, mental disorder etc.) But JKR is making it sound (for years now) like if stopping using the cage beds would solve the problem. They can’t really do that at the present state of affairs, it would endanger the very safety and life of the kids. The whole system needs to be reformed (e.g. obligatory placement of young abandonned or ophaned children into families, or at least more people to look after them (don’t you think that with a mentally ill kid, one or two kids per nurse are enough?)

Avatar Image says:

My comment about helping the orphans from Jersey Island wasn’t to bash Jo and I definitely wasn’t suggesting one nationality deserves her help more than other. On the contrary, I felt bad for Romanians, who you were basically bashing for being primitive and heartless, ignoring the horror which happened in your own country. Two things horrify me in this post – first: nobody, including Romanians, seem to mind this kind of racism towards Eastern Europe, and second: nobody even knows the Jersey Orphanage has been closed years ago.

Avatar Image says:

I think nobody bashed Romanians…I mean, some people bashed the Romanian foster children care system…in fact, all foster children care systems have room for improvement. Anyways, those who think that Romanians are primitive just by judging their orphanages should think better about it, check their own countries orphanages and be surprised by what’s happening right in their backyard.

Avatar Image says:

@margooo, maybe from your point of view. I do not say it´s wrong to care about children. I work at an orphanage. It´s my daily bread though. It`s just mean you HP fans only see Mrs. Rowling. Not the whole picture. It´s not depending on one person. And the informations about Romania given by The Sun and the website Joanne Rowling supports are not representing the today situation of Romania. I have to say: most of you people simply have no clue. The Update was of course awkward necessity for LC. Of course Romania has changed ALREADY.

Avatar Image says:

Many charities and NGO’s petitioned the EU delegation a few years ago about the human rights issues facing children and, now, young adults in institutions and on the street across Romania and the need to close these institutions.

Unfortunately the size of the problem was ignored by the delegates and totally inadequate funding was granted to Romania by the EU to support them resolve these human rights abuses.

The fall out of Ceausescu’s decree 770 in banning abortion, contraception, enforced fertility checks by the securitate, taxing famlies who did not have over 4 children and encouraging families to hand their children over to the state so as to increase the Romanian population by 50% in a decade has had a lasting legacy on both the population and economy. There are many Romanians who care immensely for these children but do not have the resources to act.

This is why Romania always hits the headlines. But the history behind the issues is rarely adequately reported.

Good on J.K Rowling for highlighting these continued human rights abuses – we are all human beings regardless of race, culture or disability.

It does not matter where it is happening, the fact that it is happening and we are aware of it is enough reason to act.

Avatar Image says:

Recently I voluntered in a Romanian hospital and took care of the abadonded gypsy babies.

It was an experience of a life time and really opend my eyes to Romania’s forgotten unwanted children.

The gypsy people know the system, and use the hosiptial to drop off and pick up their babies to their convienace.

The comment from Sarah above is correct, the government and healthcare system are corrupt.

I can introduce Jo to some amazing Directors for Foundations in Romania without involving the corrput governent and Helath care system Corruption seems to be the biggest problem and you cannot trust anyone.

If International Adoption was open, I think many of their problems would be solved.

If you ever had any desire to volunteer in a hospital, or help build houses in a gypsy, village, In Brate is a fantastic Foundation which operates in the city of Oradea. (Western Romania)

Avatar Image says:

I have to comment on your post Deb.

As a British national, I lived in Romania for several years in the early 1990’s, volunteering in one of the most notorious and largest childrens psychiatric institutions in the country. I have returned once or twice a year since to jointly oversee the founding of our project which continues to work with these still institutionalised and damaged young adults.

Yes, there is a lot of corruption in the country, but my experience of the Romanian people has been that the majority are extremely generous and trustworthy people. There are officials who are more concerned about lining their pockets, but equally there are many warm, generous and caring people trying to fight and survive in the system they are caught in.

Although a difficult issue, I feel the right decision was made in banning international adoption at the time. Many Romanian orphans have ended up in the care system in the countries which they were sent to as their adoptive parents could not cope with the level of damage they suffered in infancy. I am also acutely aware that many have been sold into the sex trafficking industry abroad, although many have also benefited from adoption.

Unfortunately it is a very complex issue which needs to be thoroughly looked into and adequate international systems of child protection in place first to ensure the safety of these vulnerable children.

Avatar Image says:

Greetings from the Mamta(lovely) Childcare Trust(MCCT), Nepal with grace and peace to you in lord Jesus. I am very glad to sharing with you about my vision and my mission here in Nepal. I am working in Nepal for the poor and orphanage children since 2004.we have kind “Mamta(lovely) Childcare Trust” which is registered in the Nepal’s government as well as in the social welfare council. we have providing physical and spritual needs for the 16 orphanage and poor children.All the children are very lovely and happy in our trust. I am really very happy to serving for these helpless,homeless and hungry children.For the details about me and MCCT, Please ! please !! visit our website: www.mcct.org.np and read our vision for Nepalese homeless and hopeless children…....I am giving my whole life for serving the poor and orphan children.. please join your lovely helping hands ! your lovely little supports can makes the beautiful future of our trust’s children !! or We have a handicrafts and clothings all items making factory/garmets.we sell /supply our items in a very low cost which aim to fundraising for the social and humaniterian services in Nepal.We are capable to make all types of your orders.so that please give us opportunity to working with you.

I hope to hearing with the blessing reply from you soon!!! In His love, Misheal pariyar[Director] Mamta childcare Trust, G.P.O. 8975, E.P.C.2446 Kathmandu, Nepal www.mcct.org.np [email protected] Tel:0977-1-5544832/ mobile:9851068248

Avatar Image says:

I say go Jo! I’m doing a project on this whole cage beds thing for school. I don’t think that cage beds is a good thing for anyone… how would you like to be treated like an animal?

Radish :(

Avatar Image says: I also have a question about someone calling himself Kelvin Dominic. He says he has an orphanage in Nigeria, but is in the UK trying to raise money to fly orphans from the orphanage to the UK for surgery. He tried to get me to loan him $1,000.00 and when I refused he bacame very upset. After that he went to the next approach of asking if I have a Bank of America account, which I do. He wanted to have "someone" wire $10,000.00 to my account which I would send to him and he would reimburse me when he got back to the US (Trenton, NJ which he said was his home.) Can you help me? Is he a scammer or for real??? I'll appreciate your input. He contacted me on AOL IM. Thanks. Avatar Image says: I forgot to mention in my first email that I didn't give Kelvin Dominic(?) my bank info. He hasn't contacted me since. I wish the person who previously asked about Kelvin Dominic would contact me so we could share information.Avatar Image says: Does anyone on here know how to contact someone to report a scammer on AOL IM? Please let me know!Avatar Image says: I met a guy named Frank Diggs, i think is the same Kelvin Dominic, he also told me the same things that he said to Verle. He also said that he is from Trenton, he gave me the same tel numbers. He also shew me pics of the orphans. Please help to stop him. He is an scammer for sure....!!!!

Write a Reply or Comment

Finding Hogwarts

The Leaky Cauldron is not associated with J.K. Rowling, Warner Bros., or any of the individuals or companies associated with producing and publishing Harry Potter books and films.