When we started #GivingBackToHumanity, we knew we were bound to come across stories that break our hearts and make us feel small and insignificant in the grand scheme of things. Such is the nature of working with social impact organizations — their stories humble you.
And yet, nothing really prepared us for the emotional rollercoaster of listening to the stories of the children under the protection of Casa Bună (The Good House, in English), an organization that helps more than 240 children coming from unfortunate backgrounds educate themselves and stay healthy.
The first Google meet we had with Anca Sandu left us with a lot of feelings. On the one hand, we felt bitter and saddened that children have to endure extreme poverty and harsh living conditions in a country that has recorded impressive economic growth over the last decade. We also felt happy that, despite all of this, there are groups of people like those at Casa Bună who care about these children and have created a system that not only helps them now but also encourages them to grow into responsible adults.
What Is Casa Bună?
Casa Bună started as an informal group of people led by Valeriu Nicolae and Hannah Slavik, who wanted to help vulnerable children in Ferentari (a ghetto area in Bucharest, Romania). At first, they aimed to reduce school dropout rates among these children — but soon enough, they realized they need more than help with homework to stay in school. They needed school supplies, clean clothes and shoes, exercise, healthy meals, medical attention to resolve health problems, and encouragement.
Every Saturday, Casa Bună was filled with children and volunteers doing homework together. And every Saturday, after homework, everyone enjoyed a hot meal together. Little by little, the number of children involved in this project grew from a handful to more than 60 in 2020 — and so, the number of volunteers grew as well.
In 2020, Casa Bună decided to formalize its status and become an official NGO. It was also the year the pandemic hit and the building they were using to assist children with homework became obsolete in the face of social distancing restrictions. Once again, the volunteers at Casa Bună had to put their minds together to continue to be able to offer support to all the children who relied on them so much. They started to install computers and routers in Ferentari and moved their activities online.
Casa Bună - Beyond Ferentari, Beyond Homework
Casa Bună volunteers don’t just help with homework. They also help children with clothes, food, hygiene products, computers, and healthcare. Even more, starting with 2020, the volunteers at Casa Bună expanded to seven other villages in Arges (a county located close to Bucharest). Together with this new venture, the number of children in their care grew to 240 at the end of 2020.
What people at Casa Bună do is no short of miraculous. Thousands of clothing items and pairs of boots have helped these kids stay warm on cold winters, thousands of notebooks, school supplies, and homework hours have helped them stay in school, hundreds of ophthalmology and stomatology consultations and treatments helped them stay healthy, thousands of meals have helped them not be hungry. Restaurants in Bucharest, as well as IKEA and more than 80 other companies rallied around the one sole purpose of every Casa Bună campaign: to make children’s lives at least a little easier.
Hearing the stories that came out of Casa Bună, we couldn’t help but be touched — and we decided to make our contribution to them by helping them buy winter clothes (valued at a total of 2,500 Euros). We couldn’t have done this without our customers and the people who have supported us for so long. 🙏
Casa Bună still needs help. They have 190 more children to dress for the winter, and each clothing set costs 50 Euros. If you want to help, you can do so by donating at PayPal address below. Even a small sum of money can help them have a better winter, so whatever you can donate will be greatly appreciated.