Forgotten and Found in Bucharest


A classroom in the Discipleship Center.
Catalin Baciu

Robin Basselin and Ryan Geertsma look at the work of Catalin and Oltita Baciu in Romania. They show the power of love to rescue forgotten people.

Transcript


Voice 1

Welcome to Spotlight. I'm Robin Basselin.

Voice 2

And I'm Ryan Geertsma. Spotlight uses a special English method of broadcasting. It is easier for people to understand, no matter where in the world they live.

Voice 1

In 1989, the government of Romanian dictator Nicolae Ceausescu lost power. Suddenly, the country became more open to the world. And the world discovered the terrible situation of Romanian orphans. Thousands of children without parents lived in crowded and dirty conditions. They were in state institutions, and they were not receiving good care. For years, news organizations told the story of Romania's orphans.

Voice 2

However, as the children grew, people forgot about the orphans of Romania. Many of the older orphans left the government institutions. They began living on the streets. They had no home, no support and little education. These orphans grew into adults - adults with many problems and needs.

Voice 1

Today's Spotlight is on the work of Catalin Baciu and Global Teen Challenge. Catalin has devoted his life to the forgotten orphans of Romania. His work with Global Teen Challenge shows the power of love to rescue the forgotten.

Voice 2

The problem of orphans in Romania started during the rule of Ceasescu. The country was very, very poor. And parents did not have enough money to care for their children. However, Ceausescu wanted women to have a lot of children to build a strong work force. So, he changed the laws. He made it illegal for married people to use birth control. He even made a law that married women must have five or more children. Officials encouraged women to leave their babies in government institutions - orphanages.

Voice 1

Under Ceausescu's government, Romanian parents left nearly 10,000 children in orphanages every year. The orphanages did not have enough trained workers. The workers could not even meet the basic physical needs of the children. So they did not have time to show the children the love they needed. When Ceausescu's government lost power, there were over 100,000 orphans in Romania.

Voice 2

Around this time, Catalin Baciu and his wife, Oltita, travelled to Bucharest, the capital city of Romania. Catalin was young and intelligent. He wanted to make a lot of money in business. And he wanted to make his money in Germany. So, Catalin and Oltita went to Bucharest to get legal papers to move to Germany. However, when they arrived, they were surprised by what they saw. Catalin explained to Spotlight,

Voice 3

"Oltita and I saw a shocking sight: hundreds of street children in a busy and dirty city of two and a half million people. Many of them were using drugs. They all seemed lost. Most of them were under ten years old... Oltita had tears in her eyes."

Voice 1

Many of these street children were orphans. They had grown up in the government orphanages, but had run away. They had escaped. They thought any place would be better than the orphanages. But the streets were cold and hard. The winters were freezing. The children had to sleep in warm sewers under the ground, where cities kept their waste. To survive, many of the children became involved with crime and violence.

Voice 2

The Baciu's did not like the sight of so many suffering children in Bucharest. They decided that they could never live there. They wanted to leave immediately and go to Germany. However, that night, Catalin and Oltita stayed with a friend in Bucharest. Catalin told Spotlight,

Voice 3

"The friend we were staying with was working with street children. He was working together with a group of wonderful, young and excited Christians. It deeply touched me what they were trying to do ...they were sacrificing their jobs and lives to rescue street children."

Voice 1

Catalin was a Christian. But he had never before thought about sacrificing his life for other people. When Catalin saw everything his friend was doing, he felt like he needed to do something. Catalin explains,

Voice 3

"I thought of something that changed my direction: 'Every person that calls themselves Christian should live their life like this.'"

Voice 2

After that visit, the Baciu's completely changed their life plan. Instead of moving to Germany, they began working with street children in Bucharest. They started by opening a girl's home called House of Hope. House of Hope provided a warm and loving place for girls who needed to get away from the streets. House of Hope became well known. Many hospital and business workers called House of Hope when they found troubled girls. Everyone knew that House of Hope would help.

Voice 1

However, as the street children got older, their needs changed. Many had been living on the streets for 15 years or longer – especially the young men. They did not have an education. And many were drug addicts - drugs controlled their lives. Children's centres, like House of Hope, were not created for adults. They also did not have programs for drug addicts.

Voice 2

Catalin felt especially bad for these forgotten young men. He wanted to find a way to help them. Catalin's dream was to build a home for young drug addicts.

Voice 1

In a video about his work, Catalin said,

Voice 3

"These young men have no place to go. Although they use drugs, they are looking so hard for a way to get out of this situation."

Voice 2

So, in 2003, Catalin began working with the international Christian organization called Global Teen Challenge, or GTC. GTC helps young people who are drug addicts. The young adults live in GTC group homes. GTC provides education and job training. They also provide the young adults with mental health and spiritual guidance. GTC has over 1000 centers in 80 countries. And it has one of the highest success rates of any anti-drug program in the world. Catalin explains the goal of the program,

Voice 3

"We need a place where we can really develop the men's hearts and minds - through education and everything it will take. We want to make a commitment to them. We want to change them into givers of hope."

Voice 1

It took three years for Catalin to raise enough money to build the home. Catalin writes that it was a miracle. And today, Global Teen Challenge Bucharest has a home where young men can come and live for a year.

Voice 2

At the GTC home, Catalin teaches the young men about the hope of God. This completely changes their lives. Many young men who have completed the program are now working for Global Teen Challenge. They started out forgotten and hopeless. But one man decided to give up his own idea about making lots of money. He decided to sacrifice his life to work with orphans and young adults on the streets of Bucharest. And now, many forgotten and hopeless have turned into givers of hope.

Voice 1

The writer of this program was Jennifer Hawkins. The producer was Ryan Geertsma. The voices you heard were from the United States and the United Kingdom. All quotes were adapted and voiced by Spotlight. You can find this program and others on our website at www.radioenglish.net. This program is called "Forgotten and Found in Bucharest" We hope you can join us again for the next Spotlight program. Goodbye!

Question:

Where can children and young people go for help in your area? Are there organizations that help people like these?

Comments


Avatar Spotlight
aikohi
said on February 11, 2011

Thank you!!
And I want to make friends
Please contact me

Avatar Spotlight
Walter
said on February 11, 2011

Walter

Thanks a lot! Through you I’m able to improve my English. God bless you.

Avatar Spotlight
Dela
said on May 11, 2013

There are not many people like Catalin in the world. He gave up his plan to make a lot of money in Germany. Instead of it he decided to rescue the forgotten orphans, adults and drug addicts - the street children. He wanted to give them everything they needed, he wanted to sacrifice his own life to work with them. And now Catalin also has the followers, the givers of hope, that is the most imoprtant Catalin’s success!
Thanks for the story!

Avatar Spotlight
rosyantigone
said on May 13, 2013

this is a great sacrificing!
my life is still around get money, family, job, love…vv. i don’t do something to help other people.
i feel shame with myself after read this article.

Kaleb Kolaibi's avatar
Kaleb Kolaibi
said on August 30, 2016

At Ethiopia where I live as a refugee I don’t know about that. But at my country (Yemen) yes there many organizations for helping the children and young people but - unfortunately - all that organizations just names on the papers cause corruption it and all governments.
God bless you

Severino Ramos da Silva's avatar
Severino Ramos da Silva
said on August 30, 2016

From: .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address) (Severino Ramos)
To: spotlight programma
Subject: answer to the question above
Date: Tuesday 30, August 2016
São Paulo SP Brazil

Dear Robin Basselin, Jennifer Hawkins, and Ryan Geertsma:

At first, I want to thank you to bring us readers and learners of English more one great article. Thanks!
They are taken to the FEBEM Fundação Estadual do Bem Estar do Menor. FEBEM, is a public service of the Government where children and young people are taken for to receive treatment and support by professionals such as: doctors, psychologists, nurses, teachers, social workers, and other workers. These children or young people are taken to the this place because they were found on the street without parents or who committed crimes or bad things against other people.
Also, there are other place to take children without parents. This place is called; Orfanatos e abrigos de crianças. There, these children can be adopted by a couple or single person to have he or she like his son or her daughter.

Yours regards,
Severino Ramos
Brazil