Who we are
FCR was founded by an Englishwoman, Mary Gibson, a mother and grandmother herself, who was so disturbed by the images that came out of Romanian orphanages after the 1989 revolution that she flew there to help, initially raising funds and sending out workers, eventually setting up the FCR project to give these children love and a family life.
Most of the FCR directors have a history of involvement with Romania and an awareness of the tragic background to the children’s lives: Romanian-born Sherban Cantacuzino, architect and founder of Pro Patrimonio, Romania’s National Trust, Olivia Tatton-Brown, an educational psychologist; and Brigadier Michael Evans (treasurer).
The Project Manager in Romania is Betty Grigoras. Betty is a woman of tremendous warmth, energy and enterprise. In 1982 she set up a foreign language teaching centre in Bacau, which after 1990 became the British Centre, and she became coordinator for an educational NGO, as well as setting up a travel agency for rural tourism, becoming President of the National Agency of Rural Tourism in Romania. Since starting in Harja she has given up all of the other work except for the tourism, so that she can really give her time to the children. She gives as much thought to each child as a mother, personally attending every parents’ meeting, keeping in close contact with those who are at university and in training, and with the two who are at special school. She has trained the staff and leads a happy and united team, organising parties for children and staff with her own family and friends, and her husband Puiu is a father figure for the children.
In each house four or five children live as a family – more in the school holidays – looked after and loved by Romanian carers from villages nearby.
The project has no religious affiliation, but seeks to enable the carers to bring these children up within the culture in which they are born, with the traditional values of Romanian, primarily Romanian Orthodox, country people. Where possible, the children are encouraged to engage with the wider village community, whether this means helping in the church or the school or setting up a football team.