A newly elected Government in Romania recently passed a law ‘decriminalizing corruption’. Yes, you read that right. Decriminalizing corruption! Bribes under $44,000 will now be ‘legal’. People are taking to the streets (including Arad) in the largest demonstrations since the fall of communism to protest this amazing reversal of recent anti-corruption efforts. After days of protests the government is now rethinking the decree.
Over the past year Romania’s anti-corruption measures have led to the arrest of high officials throughout the country, but it has also had some unintended consequences, including a proliferation of illogical, nonsensical regulations that make contracts like the one we have with the County of Arad almost unworkable.
A quick history: in 2007 RCE entered into a contract with the city of Arad to care for the abandoned children then living in 3 failing government owned orphanages next to our campus. The conditions were scandalous; the city wanted help. Since that time we have worked together, RCE provides great care for the kids and they provide the majority of the funding for what we call our Darius Houses (they still own those 3 buildings). This relationship has not been without challenges but over the years forty-five abandoned, abused and disabled, kids have been placed in Christian families for life! Thirty more needy children live there now.
A new three -year Contract is currently under review but, given what appear to be untenable new regulations, that Contract is at-risk. RCE will continue to care for every one of the kids currently living in our Darius Houses – we have a life-plan for each one. But loss of the three houses could limit the number of children we could serve in the future and have a serious impact on in-country funding.
Please be in prayer for the country of Romania. Corruption is a major hindrance to its growth. And please pray for men and women in the County office that they will seek the good of the children and for a new Contract under livable terms. And please pray for wisdom for RCE that we might go forward in faith and continue to be a witness to the community in which we serve.
-Mary Ann Bell, Executive Director
Photo credit: Sergiu Salcau