The seeds of Love Light Romania were sown in the mid 90’s when founders Jo and Ron Jowett started to travel to Cernavoda in Romania. They would bring over equipment and aid that was needed at the orphanage that they were visiting. After travelling to Romania numerous times both Jo and Ron decide that they could achieve more if they actually moved to Romania and started their own NGO there. So, they sold and left everything in the UK and made the leap to Romania. The story of how they chose the village that they settled in and all their experiences in the beginning are wonderful, but unfortunately, we don’t have enough space here. One thing that they did feel is that they were guided by God and everything that they have achieved since then is in service to Him.
It was the year 2000 when Ron and Jo moved to Romania. Then 1 year later they had all the paperwork resolved so that Asociatia Love Light Romania was born, the 17th August 2001. In the beginning they would work with children form a local hospital that were HIV positive, the services offered were respite care at their home in Ighisu-nou, end of life care, holidays, clothes, day trips, and so much more. Just so you can have an image in your head, they lived in is a small village in a country only 10 years out of a communist regime. Then you have these crazy English people walking down the street with dogs, donkey, sheep and children, sometimes the dogs would walk along leading the donkey. But everybody was happy, loved and felt free.
After this Love Light Romania brought a house in 2003 and renovated it into a placement centre for the remaining children from the hospital in our local town of Medias. In 2005 we had a team of builders from Wales come out and built a huge extension on the house, this meant that we could offer support and a home to many more people in need. After this we became a residential home for people with disabilities with an emphasis on HIV. In 2010 we started working in the village of Jacodu, here we began our Jacodu children’s project. Over the years we have helped children from poor families get to and not abandon school. We have offered a place to work for young adults, though our second-hand shop and agricultural program. In 2012 we renovated a building to be a purpose built after school centre. And every year we have grown and expanded our agricultural projects.
We have a residential home called “The Sanctuary” that we have been running since 2003. Over the year’s needs have changed and so has The Sanctuary. It started off as a small placement centre then in 2005 it was extended so that we could offer more spaces. In 2012 we changed into a residential home so that we could offer services more for institutionalized young adults as this was a greater need now. After the ages of 18-21 teenagers have to leave the state institutions and are expected to live by themselves, because of their lack of life skills they are unable do this. Our centre is a place where institutionalized young adults can have a family style life.
At the Sanctuary we offer our residents tailor made programs depending on their abilities and special needs. We get contacted by authorities from all over Romania to see if they can access our services. We have cases where they have a short stay with us and in this time, they recuperate their heath and get all their legal paperwork in order.
Out of the Sanctuary we run our HIV support programs. These include free transport to hospitals for regular check-ups, medicines and hospital transfers. It is vital that a person who is suffering from HIV stays in control of their disease. If they take their medicines correctly and on time then they can get to a level where they can’t transmit the disease to others.
We also run support groups out of the Sanctuary. These are open to all the HIV sufferers on our local area. We talk about the latest news regarding HIV, let people talk freely about what they are experiencing, we sometimes offer gifts such as hygiene products. The Sanctuary is a safe place for people wo suffer from HIV, they can talk freely and are accepted.