Gradistea & House of Joy
These Teen Challenge Centers, one for males and one for females
wish to help men, women, boys and girls that are in different situations in their lives be free from life-controlling dependencies. Drugs, alcohol, gambling, prostitution, human trafficking, violence and crime have taken over the lives of the people we meet at these centers. The team that works there have all had a similar past, some have received help themselves at our centers, and are living examples of the fact that it's never too late to change the course of your future.
The girls at the House of Joy met Alexandra for the first time 6 months ago, on the same day she was released after 4 years in prison. From the time she was little, she was teased, bullied and laughed at in her small country town for being a Gypsy. She said she felt like trash and had a painful childhood.
When Alexandra was 8, her father landed in prison and her mother put her in a state run orphanage. There, she was beaten and abused daily. Her father died 5 years later and not long after, she was raped by a man in her village. The shame and the pain made her run away to Bucharest the day after. Within a few months on the streets, she was addicted to heroin. At 15 she married and in a short time, had 3 children with this man. Despite having 3 children, she did not change her lifestyle. She continued to steal and use heroin. One day she was caught by the police and sentenced to 4 years in prison. Her husband left her and the children were placed in an orphanage.
In jail, she met a woman who told her about the House of Joy. She prayed to God and saw this as her last chance to change her life and her future.
Today, Alexandra is a totally different woman than the one we met just 6 months ago. Her life has completely changed. She is an outstanding woman with a huge heart for the people around her. She loves to cook, write and be a joy to others. With help from the House of Joy, she is able to visit with her children and is now seeking full custody of them. We have faith that Alexandra will be the worlds best mom for her 3 children when she is finished with the program. She doesn't live in the past but has huge hope and faith in her future.
Frantz Johansen and his wife, Berit S.Johansen, started this work after meeting the many children living in the sewage pipes in Bucharest in 1991.
Outreach is about building relationships and trust, before you can start to help. In the beginning most of the work was on the streets, down in the sewage pipes and in the slum. You will also find us there today, with the same goal of...
A home for children and youth
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Pre-schools in Faculteta, Bulgaria
In a little district on the outskirts of Bulgaria's capitol, Sofia, there is a slum area called Fakulteta. There are close to 60 000 Gypsies living here that are severly segregated and discriminated against by their fellow countryman. In many ways, these people are left to fend for themselves and try to build a sustainable and healthy life without much needed financial help from the...