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PILOT CENTER ANDREEA DAMATO
After Ceausescu’s dictatorial regime collapsed,, the international press enters Romania and finds a tried and drifting country. Among other dramas, he denounces the abandonment of hundreds of thousands of children; among them, 30,000 infected guilty with the HIV virus.
Mino Damato, the founder of Bambini in Emergenza, boldly decides to intervene and bring them concrete help. After renovating the two paediatric pavilions of the Victor Babes Hospital in Bucharest, Casa Doru and Casa Andreea, where about a hundred children in full-blown AIDS stages were hospitalized in inhuman conditions, he built an entire residential welcome and care centre, the Andreea Damato Pilot Centre where children can be gradually discharged from the two pavilions. The challenge was to avoid their return to the orphanages (camps) of origin.
It is the main project of Bambini in Emergenza, in which we have been engaged for over twenty years. From 1997 to today, the Pilot Centre has been able to adapt to the changing conditions of the social context, giving a concrete response to the contingent emergencies that have affected Romanian childhood over the years, welcoming and returning hundreds of children to Life. Born as a residential and care centre for seropositive abandoned children and AIDS patients, today it offers hospitality and assistance to children born to HIV + / AIDS mothers and to abandoned children who are not sick.

In Romania we are the only private facility authorized to welcome and assist abandoned seropositive children.

THE PILOT CENTER IN DETAIL
The Pilot Centre consists of 6 family houses, a wooden church, a stomatology laboratory, a guesthouse, two greenhouses, a large vegetable garden, an apple orchard with 1400 plants and 30 hives.
For the reception, care and assistance of the hosted children, the Pilot Centre uses:
  • A delegation of Franciscan Missionary Sisters of Assisi (who have been working with Bambini in Emergenza since 1999);
  • Local staff, from nearby villages, assigned to housework and maintenance, logistics and supply of the Centre;
  • Highly qualified staff (social workers, psychologists, psychotherapists, nurses, educators), coming from the nearby city of Bucharest;
  • Groups of Italian volunteers who reach the Centre to carry out specialist medical visits to children and for the extraordinary maintenance of the facilities.
In the Pilot Centre, every detail is treated carefully, so that even the environment provides comfort, help and stimulation for the young guests, to recover their psycho-physical and emotional abilities, strongly compromised by the state of deprivation experienced with abandonment. Even the beauty (of colours, designs, harmony of shapes) desired in each room of the Centre, is designed to take care and give back to children the ability and joy to admire, to dream with open eyes, to discover and to regain lost confidence in the outside world and in themselves.
The Pilot Centre collaborates with local authorities (Child Protection, Municipalities, and Inspectorates) and national authorities (Ministry of Labour, Family and Social Protection, Ministry of Education, Embassy of Italy), with hospitals in the capital (Victor Babes and Matei Bals) and with other humanitarian organizations present in the area.
HOW WE WORK
The little guests of the Pilot Centre are guaranteed the best, in every area, so that they can not only recover the ‘disadvantage’ of being abandoned, but even acquire a quid pluris that will allow them a successful reintegration into society.
THE PILOT CENTER AND THE LOCAL COMMUNITY
Despite the integration of the Pilot Centre in the area where it is located and where it operates, it has been hampered by repeated attempts to ‘sabotage’ (theft, damage, restrictions on authorizations, discrimination and marginalization of children, etc.) and still strives, daily, to protect the rights of its young guests and to continue working in their favour, the Centre has represented and represents an important tool for development cooperation.
Our Volunteers

Lucia

"The meeting with the children of the Foundation makes you feel alive, and makes you live your life better because it makes you rethink everything, you don't take anything for granted anymore, you begin to appreciate the simple things in life."

Miriam

"The least we can do for them is to give them LOVE, until the day they all have the love of a mom and dad!"