Bringing my family to visit Safehomes, by Genevieve Jones-Hernandez
I have been working for Humanitas for over nine years, which has meant that I have had the pleasure of watching the children and projects grow and develop. I first met Sarah and Ramiz whilst on a trip to visit several charities in Romania, I spent days travelling around Romania visiting institutions and projects assessing their effectiveness. Of all the projects I visited, quite frankly, I was blown away by Safe Homes. After hearing about the traumatic start that all of the children living in Safe Homes had experienced in their early lives, I was humbled by their happiness, spirit and positivity as they showed me around their homes. I was inspired and captivated by what Humanitas had achieved on a shoe string and I felt compelled to join the team. And I did just that!
This summer I decided to travel to Romania with my own family - my mother and my son Jack aged four - as I felt that the experience of visiting Safe Homes was something I wanted to share with them.
Many of the children living in Safe Homes have severe disabilities and are now transitioning into adulthood. My son has had very little exposure to people living with disabilities at home in the UK so, if I'm honest, I was slightly apprehensive about how he would respond. However, I want to raise him to be mindful and kind and to see people for who they are and not focus on their disability. My apprehension immediately disappeared when we arrived, as the children and staff were are as welcoming and friendly as always and he just ran around wanting to play!
My favourite part of my job is spending time with and getting to know the people and projects we work so hard to support on a daily basis. So the opportunity to share this with my family felt so special to me. We had a lovely day at Safe Homes, jumping with the other children on the trampoline and playing football in the garden. Plus it was great to catch up with the amazing carers who are so hospitable and have created such loving and nurturing homes.
Even after nine years, I still find spending time with the children so overwhelming, but in such a positive way. I am in awe of them. Everything they have overcome is just so much to comprehend for many of us. Imagine being tied up to your cot and abandoned, or left in a forest at birth, found covered in leaves by strangers? And here they are today, not just surviving but living their best life. Many of the children in our care were told they would never live into their teens, yet here they are turning 18 and 22! It really is a testament to the love and care that these children receive everyday!
During our visit, I watched as Jack idolised Viorel and he continues to call him 'the greatest footballer he has ever seen!' and I hugged my mum as she tearfully talked about the overwhelming feeling of pride and privilege she felt meeting these incredible children and their carers, it was truly a very special day for us all.
One of the things I love most about Humanitas, is how transparent the charity is and the genuine desire that it has for our supporters to personally engage with and visit our projects. This is what we believe giving to charity should be, accessible and personal and it is certainly what motivates me to do more.
If you would like to visit Safe Homes, or our school in Ghana please contact us. Nothing gives us more pleasure than sharing our work with others.
Click on the video below to see our day in Safehomes.