Kidstown International

Prayer Direction

We are so thankful for all of your prayers. We have seen God protecting our homes, and providing in beautiful ways for them. Thank you for staying connected with our homes during this season. Your support and concern for our children is a huge blessing to us. There are still a lot of struggles they are dealing with in Romania, Nepal, and India. Will you please continue to lift them up in your prayers? Here are some requests to help direct your prayers that are so important right now.

 

  • Please pray for the support needed for technology to our homes as students try to learn online. All of our homes are doing online classes, just the same as students are in the US. The need for any type of device, handheld or laptop and computers are needed for each home. The challenge is that Kidstown cannot send new or used devices from the US, as the postal services are not able to send mail to India and Nepal. The cost to Mail is almost the same as buying over there.Prayer need from a home in south India:

    We are having a very tough time as it is around the world – Covid-19, day by day we are having tremendous increase in Covid positive cases. Thank God for all His protection for all of us. In the light of Covid-19 spread we are not sure when the schools will be opened, but online studies are going on.  All children need Android cell phones or tablets for school; we have got for some of them, because the classes are held in video calls. At the same time Television Channel also telecast live and recorded classes for children.

  • Pray for banking and wire challenges happening in India and Nepal due to Covid-19 and the closure of banks for weeks on end. Pray that support for our homes and the children’s needs can be met even with the delay of funds arriving.
  • Please keep in your prayers. Rev. Benjamin Krupanidhi, Founder Director of Sarah Children’s Home India is not well at his 92 year’s age. Pray for his daughter being the eldest not able to travel there and Rev. Benjamin Krupanidhi has been asking for her to come, but there are bans on inter states traveling in India. Please keep Rev. Benjamin Krupanidhi in your urgent prayers.
  • As India and Nepal remain in fear and confusion, we are seeing local pastor’s test positive, and quarantine centers poorly kept. Pray for wisdom and health over these countries. A Nepal leader shares: “Government is not stable too. Covid virus is seen around the surrounding communities now. Many people are frightened and in panic. There will be no Inter district travels for a few more weeks. by govt. orders.”
  • There is a rise in price of groceries in Nepal. Please pray for provision over our homes there.

 

Thank you for your support and prayers.


Thanks to our sponsors and donors, we are are able to give children hope. If you’re interested, there are many ways you can support Kidstown!

Meet Török from Romania

It can be difficult to face the reality of the broken families found in Romania, but for Török, this was his reality. And beyond the family circle, the streets provide only further disruption and brokenness.

You never wish for a child to be left alone in the world with no healthy influences. With a negligent father and a mother who works and lives in a different country, Sandor was being brought up by his grandmother. But he was easily influenced by friends and often went into town to drink, do drugs, and steal. And all at the young age of 8.

Because his grandmother was unable to handle him, she contacted the state to help. The state connected him to one of our homes where he is now living. Although he likes to fight and swear, the leaders are hoping they will be able to educate him and help him to learn good. He is already good friends with some of the other kids.

As one of our newest additions to our Kidstown homes, Török is in need of a sponsor who is willing to be an influence of love and support to him. You can find Török on our ‘Sponsor a Child’ page, along with the other children in need of a sponsor.


Thanks to our sponsors and donors, we are are able to give children hope. If you’re interested, there are many ways you can support Kidstown!

No Comment

A story by C.R. Roberts.


It’s late afternoon in the village of Plopenii Mici 20 kilometers outside the city of Botosani in Northeast Romania.

I have seen the look on the face of this man many times in other places, downcast in a combination of gratitude and shame. These are quiet eyes, incurious, injured and the same eyes that cry from the face of a child caught by whatever cosmic lottery it was that reserved a table in this troubled place

Solutions are ghosts, pebbles in the sea, but tonight we tried, God knows, when Cristi, the home leader here, and three of his young charges drove to the village and we stood beside a wide green field beside a quiet stream and the people came walking and running down a dirt road one lane wide and nameless on any map. They kept coming, kept running. They’d heard the man with the van had come once again with his random gifts. It’s like this every time. The people keep coming down the road and through the field, and there’s never enough to give them.

Cristi is something of a Christian entrepreneur. He receives donations of food, blankets, clothing and various corporate and personal castoffs particularly from a community in Holland and he distributes these things to people in need in villages that surround Botosani. He directs a home for orphans and abandoned children that is supported by donations and sponsorships from Kidstown International.

The first time I met him I was a little suspicious, this being the former reporter in me, but I’ve been here before and I’ve now been here a few days and we’ve talked, and I’ve talked to the people who work here and to the children who live here and I’m not suspicious anymore.

I do believe he has a calling.

This afternoon it was lentils, 30 cases of 12 cans each and the same of a Nutella knockoff, 30 times 12. The kids loaded the van. Cristi picked the village.

The people held out their arms, took their food and not all said thanks. Next time maybe it’s green beans and blankets, or a pallet of Clif bars, jelly, biscuits, bottled tea. Cristi knows the villages, the old men and the old women living hungry and alone, the families living in one room, sleeping in one bed.

A few years ago one Sunday in Farinabad, India, I had the privilege along with others representing Kidstown to help feed a few hundred street kids. We joined volunteers and 30-some kids who live in the church orphanage and I was struck by the irony — kids abandoned then rescued who were serving kids living lives that might have been theirs.

It was similar today, three kids who live here at the home and they’re distributing food to men, women and children who have much less, and who will likely not find more.

After wondering whether the question was appropriate, I asked Claudio, one of the boys, how he felt handing out food to people who needed it, when there but for grace he might find himself. I let Cristi translate. Claudio’s answer came quickly and put me in my place: “No comment.”

Well said.


C.R. Roberts is a retired journalist from Tacoma, Washington. After studying at the University of Washington he moved to England, and upon his return owned a small business dealing in rare coins and stamps. Later, following a 30-year career as a columnist and business writer at the Tacoma News Tribune, he retired to a life of volunteerism and has made several trips with Kidstown to Romania, India and Nepal. He personally sponsors two young men in Romania.


Thanks to our sponsors and donors, we are are able to give children hope. If you’re interested, there are many ways you can support Kidstown!

Into the Romanian Countryside

A story by C.R. Roberts.


Realizing that their children might have economic value — farm labor or worse — the parents of this family have removed their children from the care of a Kidstown home. Still, a donor sends financial support. We’re out for a visit, headed into the Romanian countryside.

We stop first at a “hyper-market,” the local equivalent of a Transylvanian Costco, but bigger. There’s a tank with (mostly) live fish. A 41-foot cooler displays yogurt and if I wanted a 2.5 kg. brick of mozzarella it would have cost 17.97 lei, or about $4.50. There were many, many varieties of sausage, and full legs of lamb and a vacuum-packed flash-frozen suckling pig.

We’re after staples, oil, pasta, onions, potatoes, salami. The donor has given us $180 for the family. We spend it all. Our friend Karoly drives to the outskirts of the village some 30 miles away. He’s a former amateur wrestler and now a minister in the Reformed Church and the husband of Eszter, the unflappable group leader of a Kidstown home in Targu Mures.

The family’s home we visit, such as it is, rests isolated down a dirt-packed country road. It is not an exaggeration to say these parents, their sons and daughters, live in squalor. Flies buzz in the area of a room given to a small kitchen. The carpet, the blankets stretched across a couch, the miscellaneous rags and pieces of clothing scattered on the floor — all is soiled. Two bare bulbs try in vain to light the room. A pyramid of empty beer cans rises several yards away near a well.

From a previous visit, I recognize the children who are playing beside the road – including the little girl in pink with a smile able to melt any cold heart — and then the weaslish father steps out to answer all the fuss. On my last time here, I had to walk away. It was the same this time. I walked away, back down the road.

Estzer has offered to let the children return to the Emmaus home in Targu Mures. She has made this offer several times. Yes, I know the nuclear family is a primary and desirable component of a good upbringing. But here? In this filth? Let the sociologists set me straight, but first let them come take a look at these conditions and then we’ll talk.

The elder son was just returning from a job with a farmer who lived nearby. We met at the well, and I looked down into the dark water below and saw a greasy film reflected in silver ripples of sunlight. This is the water they wash with, and drink, drawn with a plastic bucket. We gave the family the groceries we’d bought, and Chuck, executive director at Kidstown, took the eldest son aside and tried, in a language he does not speak, to tell the boy he should try to make sure our gifts were used and consumed on site rather than sold for beer like the virtue of a mother and a daughter.  A few of us had the respect to shake the father’s hand as we left, but I was already gone.

We returned to the Emmaus home in time for dinner, and when we were done we all gathered in the dining room, children and guests. As is the nightly custom, Eszter called on the children one-by-one asking what the highlight of their day had been. Each child spoke. Among the answers with an autumn freeze settling in outside: “At school today we took sunflowers, the ones that are so big, yellow and bright in summer, and we took out the seeds and I want to give some to our friends from America to take home and plant;” “I got good marks in mathematics;” “I played jump-rope and had fun;” “I sang a song (and she sang it again, for us all);” “I had fun skating;” “the dancing yesterday was my favorite and I thought of it again today;” “I’m happy that we could meet with our guests again;” “today after I walked the kids to school I had a good training (turns out that the next Bucharest Marathon will be held on Sunday, and he’ll be competing);” “I got a compliment from a teacher;” and then one girl pipes up pointing out that the girl sitting next to her has a new boyfriend, and most everyone laughed or giggled and their faces sang with a dear combination of teasing and congratulation, friendship, and love.

We sat for more than an hour around that table, listening, and the children, maybe 30 of them, did listen to one another, did pay attention sometimes with a question, sometimes commiserating, and the older children took care to encourage the younger, more shy residents of the home.

They do this every school-night, together.


C.R. Roberts is a retired journalist from Tacoma, Washington. After studying at the University of Washington he moved to England, and upon his return owned a small business dealing in rare coins and stamps. Later, following a 30-year career as a columnist and business writer at the Tacoma News Tribune, he retired to a life of volunteerism and has made several trips with Kidstown to Romania, India and Nepal. He personally sponsors two young men in Romania.


Thanks to our sponsors and donors, we are are able to give children hope. If you’re interested, there are many ways you can support Kidstown!

Meet Ioana

Ioana was abandoned by both of her parents. After her mother left their family with another man, her father gave up on caring for his five children. He left Romania completely, leaving the children on their own.

In normal circumstances, Ioana was left in a dire situation. She may have spent much of her life begging on the streets. She might have entered a government institution, where she would have been neglected due to the large number of children needing care. She might have faced starvation.

Fortunately, this was not the case for Ioana and one of her sisters. A Kidstown supported children’s home was able to take her and her sister in. There she not only had a place to live, but a new family that loved and supported her. They hope to eventually be able to support her other siblings as well.

Now she is cared for by people who are concerned for her health, wellness, and success. Despite her difficult past, she now has the chance to do what she wants to with her life, and give back to her community. She now has the chance to get an education and have hope for the future.

Ioana is sponsored by a Kidstown supporter. Knowing that someone across the world is invested in her life brings her joy – something she rarely had in the past.


Thanks to our sponsors and donors, we are are able to give children hope. If you’re interested, there are many ways you can support Kidstown!

Together We Give #GivingTuesdayNow

Our sponsors and donors are what allow us to do what we do.

In this time of uncertainty, generosity can bring the whole world together. That’s the idea behind the #GivingTuesdayNow movement. Organizations from all over the world are asking their supporters to give today. Despite the COVID-19 pandemic, we are still operating, still providing support to our partners overseas.

Kidstown supports children’s homes in India, Nepal, and Romania, and our homes haven’t gone without being impacted by current events. As many services have shut down due to lock-downs in these countries, food and supplies have become scarce and more expensive. In addition, the children’s homes and their leaders are now responsible for continuing the kids’ education while schools are closed. This means buying additional school supplies, hiring tutors, and spending more of their time working with the children.

Without these homes, many of these children would be in dire situations. Coming from the streets, broken families, or other difficult circumstances, many of these kids would be facing sickness, starvation, and neglect. Without the support of our donors and sponsors, these children would be without hope! But instead these kids are fed, supported, and loved.

Here are a few excerpts from recent reports from our children’s homes:

  • From a home in India: They have been able to use this time of being locked down in their home as a time of connection and growing closer with each other. The leader says “we get more time to be confined with our beloved children and family. We get more time to share God’s love to them and spend more time together meditating on God’s word and have much fun with our children.”
  • From a home in Romania: As nobody can come in or go out, all of our food or materialy donations are canceled . Its result is that our incomes are reduced, but not our expenses. As there is no school, the children need supervision 24hours…As we look around the fear is on the top number 10, as we look at the Word of God our worries are down. So it is an oscillatory situation.You can`t calculate, you can’t plan.There’s a very strange feeling. We just believe in God and in His Salvation.
  • From a home in Nepal: Practically all things are alright and usual. But we are praying for hand wash soaps, towel each for everyone, Sanitizers, Masks, separate linens for the special beds, special gun ray temperature instrument, electric jugs and thermos.
  • From a home leader in India: Thank you for your financial support and upholding us in your prayers and have great concern about us when your country also faces the same crises. Do continue to pray for us and we are also praying for you. Thank you and MAY GOD BLESS YOU ALL and PROTECT YOU.

Our goal is to make sure each and every home, and therefore each and every child, has the resources and support necessary to make it through this crisis. We want all the kids, home leaders, regional directors, tutors, and others involved in these children’s lives to stay healthy and safe.

That’s why today, on this special Giving Tuesday, we are asking for your help. The additional costs that our homes are facing fall outside our normal budget, but we want to continue providing the support they need. Even just a few extra dollars will help our homes provide food, hygiene supplies, and the educational materials and support that these children need.

Please consider giving, and reaching out to family and friends. We hope you are staying safe during this time, and we deeply appreciate your support and prayers.

Meet Cristina from Romania

Our stories of hope about children in Kidstown supported homes are very diverse. For some children, hope is simply being raised in a loving environment, away from the abuse and neglect of their homes. For others, it is the love, support, and education that gives them opportunity to grow up and do what they want to do with their life.

Cristina grew up in Romania, in a tiny house with her extended family. They lived in a small, poor village, and the living conditions were difficult. Living in a small room with eleven other people and facing family members who drank excessively and weighed down the family, there was little hope for Cristina. Her father had left the family some years before, and Cristina’s mother struggled to care for her amidst their living situation.

Eventually her mother grew deathly ill, and without her support Cristina was left alone with her siblings and relatives. Fortunately, this was not the end of Cristina’s story.

Flori and Gusti, leaders of a children’s home in Romania, would visit Cristina’s family to help with their needs and share about God. They saw the difficult situation the children were living in, and were moved to intervene. Because Cristina’s father was gone, and her mother was deathly ill, they brought Cristina and her sister into their home.

For Cristina, this was a dream come true. It was a chance to live a life where she was surrounded by love and opportunity. She recalls that they “had a nice room, bathroom, and there were just two of us in one room. We had food and clothes and love from Flori and the other women working there.” Because Flori and Gusti’s home is supported by Kidstown, Cristina soon had a sponsor, and as she grew up she built a relationship with her sponsor. They exchanged letters and Cristina was continually encouraged by their love and support. Her sponsors were part of her new family.

As Cristina grew older, she had a lot of dreams for her future. Had she never been taken in by Flori and Gusti, her chances for opportunity would have been very limited. Cristina now had the chance to attend university, and another supporter helped cover the cost of her tuition. She went to university, got a degree, and now has a career in business that she loves. “Imagine living in those horrible conditions, and then out of nowhere, your life gets much better, just because some kind people decided to help you.”

Sponsoring a child through Kidstown can fundamentally change the course of a child’s life. Every sponsor is taking part in positive changes in these children’s lives, and often develop life-long relationships with these children. It is a gift and an honor to see people like Cristina living and loving their life.

Click the button below if you are interested in helping change a child’s life.


Thanks to our sponsors and donors, we are are able to give children hope. If you’re interested, there are many ways you can support Kidstown!

Eight Hours Outside Bucharest

A story by C.R. Roberts.


Eight hours on a bus from Bucharest to Lupen, deep in the Carpathian Mountains of Romania. We pass hay stacked in high, conical ricks. Autumn roses stand crimson in gardens and chicken-wire corn cribs sit on the upper floor of outbuildings. Pumpkins grown fat rest heavy in fields criss-crossed with withered vines. Every quarter-mile a house is brightly painted: in mustard or plum, lilac, persimmon or the pinkish-purple of a fading bruise. Roofs are curved tile, shakes, tin.

Sheep, cows and goats graze the stubbled cornfields. A horse-drawn cart passes, its wheels cracking the gravel scattered on the road. Laundry dries from the balconies of an eight-story concrete apartment building in a town we pass. We follow a meandering river and the higher we climb the more swiftly the river runs.

We are met by Cristian, a young university student married to Cristina. Cristian is the son of Vasily, 56, and his wife, Lucretia. Vasily (Vas-ih-lee) and Lucretia founded and operate Case De Copii Children’s Home in Lupeni.

Pictured: Vasily and two orphan girls at the Case De Copii.

Vasily and Lucretia were both orphans themselves, raised in Romanian state orphanages. At dinner Vasily tells us the story of his childhood. Someone had asked why he founded the children’s home. He explains….

He and his brother had nowhere to live. He was 5. The state orphanage where he was placed contained 1,200 children. He and his brother found Christ and they suffered for their belief.

Heads shaved, clothes identical, all of the children were easily identified if they left the orphanage compound. When Vasily and his brother would walk to a church three villages away they were sometimes reported by suspicious townspeople as obvious runaways, and police responded. Nor were the boys welcomed by the people of the church – whose orthodox beliefs did not directly correspond to what Vasily had learned from the small pocket Bible he kept hidden from monitors back at the orphanage. The national leader, Nicolae Ceausescu, had little patience with faith.

Vasily had no family but for his brother. He was ostracized by the other orphans and regularly punished both physically and emotionally by orphanage officials, punished for years because of what he believed. He had no one to call mother or father. The church cast him away.

We’re having dinner and he tells a simple story that brings tears to our eyes, a story of survival and the strength of faith. He had kept the story to himself until 2009, the tenth anniversary of the founding of Case De Copii.

Pictured: Vasily and the orphans of Case De Copii.

So that’s why he founded the orphanage, you see, he said, because he wanted to give children someone to call father, someone to call mother, and other children to call brother and sister. I get up from the table and walk over and give him an awkward hug.

After dinner we all drive to the home and meet the children, 18 of them, from 14 years old down to maybe 5. When Vasily walked in they gathered around him, embraced him, met his smile with smiles and laughter of their own. We played a few games and stayed for maybe a half-hour. The next day we will all drive with the children to a Transylvanian castle, and there’s talk of a trip to McDonald’s along the way. But don’t tell anybody. It’s a secret.


C.R. Roberts is a retired journalist from Tacoma, Washington. After studying at the University of Washington he moved to England, and upon his return owned a small business dealing in rare coins and stamps. Later, following a 30-year career as a columnist and business writer at the Tacoma News Tribune, he retired to a life of volunteerism and has made several trips with Kidstown to Romania, India and Nepal. He personally sponsors two young men in Romania.


Thanks to our sponsors and donors, we are are able to give children hope. If you’re interested, there are many ways you can support Kidstown!

Update from Romanian Home Leader

Before the world came to a stop, one of our home leaders in Romania recounts the earlier months.

She talks about how the month of December was filled with church events and a school break. They were blessed by the community, and were grateful to spend the holidays together, looking at the past year with thankfulness to God for his help.

They began school again, and everyone was doing well, passing their exams. A local stepped up to celebrate one of the kid’s birthdays by taking everyone in the home out for dinner and cake. She was an enormous blessing, warming the heart of the leader by her care of the young children.

In February, the school honored a number of the older children with a ceremony. It was a beautiful and touching event that moved all who attended. Shortly after, the leaders of the home were able to take the children on a trip to Hungary where they explored the old buildings and churches. This was a wonderful gift for the children to be able to experience culture and time spent with each other.

But, as March came along, it brought the pain of a hurting world right to their doorstep. Here is what she shares about the turning of the month.

“The long awaited spring came in March, and we just heard about the virus in China, not suspecting anything. Since March 13th our children stay at home, the schools are closed, even the streets are silent. We had to make some strict provisions, in order to not spread the virus, even if we are at the beginning of it. No one can come to visit us, and the kids are not allowed to step outside either. Nobody can walk on the streets, except the people going to work, or dealing with absolute necessary business. I made a change in the houseparants’ working hours. They have to work more, but they are coming into work less times a week, so this way the chance of bringing the virus inside our home was reduced. We, adults, are looking forward for the next weeks and months with concern, because the worst part of the pandemic, the one with the most people getting infected, is about to come, and our healthcare system is in a very bad condition, we are running low on equipment, too. We are worrying, but we believe that God will take care of us and save us with his grace. On the other side, we must learn from this, because till now everyone has been occupied with work, getting money, and solving everyday assesments, and we didn’t have time for our families and maintaining our relationships. This pandemic forces us to sit down, think about life, closes us with our family, and makes us to reevaluate the value of loving each other and praying, and also to take time for what really matters. Now every children and youngster wants to go to school, they are having a hard time dealing with the closeness, but they are trying keep up with the lessons the teachers sent them.”

Everyone is safe and well cared for in the home. We are encouraged by their hope and vision.

It is because of the donors that support this home that they are able to confidently continue caring for their children. Without this home, the children could be in any kind of dangerous and unhealthy situation. We are thankful for the protection that the Lord has shown them, and will continue to give to them.


Thanks to our sponsors and donors, we are are able to give children hope. If you’re interested, there are many ways you can support Kidstown!

A Life of Service to Romanians

“It was the day Cristi distributed biscuits, a day like many others outside the city of Botosani in northeastern Romania.

The night before we joined Cristi on his regular mission to the most needy families in the area, he told us what brought him to his commitment, to this outreach among the hungry and poor. His path to the side of Jesus was neither straight nor without doubt, but there was always that feeling, that trust deeply born when he was a teenager, that his life would be a life of service.

Cristi manages the Kidstown-supported Ioana Home, with 20 resident children, in Botosani. This is the city where Cristi grew up through turbulent times, through political revolution and through the revelation that brought him to his commitment. Like many other Romanians — currently 1,300 per day — he could have left Romania for economic opportunities in Western Europe. But a voice told him to stay, and in Botosani he has become an entrepreneur for Jesus.

Cristi receives donations from friends in Holland as well as from Kidstown supporters. These Dutch contributions come in the form of food, clothing and household goods that are given to the poor in the outlying areas or else placed for sale on the shelves of the Mic Si Mare second-hand store in Botosani.

Items in the store sell from 25 cents up to the equivalent of a few dollars and include clothing, household goods, knickknacks, toys and other items. Most profits go to salaries of the store workers, and items also find their way to the helpless and needy.

Children from the Ioana Home help load Cristi’s van with the donated biscuits, dozens upon dozens of packages of surplus biscuits from Holland. We drive from the city — the second-most poverty stricken city in Romania — and we head for the surrounding villages where hardship and need prevail like the dry cornstalks waving in the autumn breeze.

We visit a home where four unsupervised children sit on a bed of dirty blankets watching cartoons on a long-used television. Piles of garbage cover the floors of two small rooms. A pig roots outside the front door. One child, an infant, is without clothes or a diaper. He is lovingly held by the oldest boy, perhaps six years old.

We visit a former military barracks where families each rent one room, where each room is lit by a single low-wattage bulb hanging from a wire. Children gather around us, for biscuits and for the company of visitors and the games we will play.

 In darkness lit only by a rising moon we visit a home without electricity where five children wait, dressed in layers of soft and soiled clothing. They seem surprised to see us and they accept our gifts and Cristi’s biscuits with curiosity. If not by the light of our cellphones, they will be able to see these gifts when daylight comes.

The mother, Cristi tells us, has never had a shower.

We meet dozens of people, from the woman with a severe toothache and no available remedy to the children who wait, smiling, in front of the home with boards where windows once stood. Down dirt roads where horse-drawn wagons outnumber cars, we watch as Cristi fulfills the mission he has been given — the mission he also shares with the children at the Ioana Home.

Such is the lesson he teaches to these 20 abandoned and at-risk children. To serve others and serve God. To share whatever blessings you have been given. To know that life takes work, and that grace will light the way.”

 

-Written by C.R. Roberts after his most recent trip to visit some of the Kidstown supported homes in Romania. Cristi is one of our valued home leaders there.