Romanien: Negoita Cornelia

Peace is not merely a word. It is a time for kids to grow up in harmony with society; the joy young mothers feel when they see their children growing up in peace.

— Negoita Cornelia

Negoita Cornelia works in Braila, a town located in southeast Romania. She has dedicated her life to children in orphanages and psychiatric hospitals. In 1997, she founded Pro Homini, a charitable foundation helping orphans, large families, and senior citizens. Why did she choose this challenging path, rather than developing a profitable business after 1989 and the fall of the Ceausescu regime and the transition to a market economy? The answer is that, for her, people are more important than money. She derives enormous satisfaction knowing her contributions have changed people’s lives.

Negoita Cornelia’s interest in charitable work began 15 years ago on her first visit to an orphanage. She personally witnessed the children’s suffering and the experience inspired her to work with an orphanage hospital with physically disabled children. She followed the children’s progress as they grew, encouraging them as they learned a trade and helped find them jobs. In 1997, Negoita founded Pro Homini with a group of like-minded women to help orphans and single mothers responsible for their large families. They provide donations of food and medicine and award scholarships for children in need. Every Saturday, students from 10 to 14 years of age come to the Pro Homini house for courses in computer science, cooking, sewing, and arts and crafts, practical skills they can use in their daily lives. With donations secured from a Dutch foundation, Negoita set out to build a day center for senior citizens. The elderly come to talk, receive hot meals and medical check-ups, and take part in excursions around the country. In 1996, Negoita Cornelia started organizing charity parties. Twice a year, local business leaders take part in the parties and sponsor them financially. Pro Homini has been awarded the Diploma of Excellence for its achievements. Negoita is fulfilled by her work of improving the lives of children and the elderly. She is one of the first in her town to have created the conditions for building confidence, regaining hope, and improving people's destiny. To promote women’s issues, she organized a series of lectures and debates to celebrate International Women’s Day on 8 March. Negoita has strived to attract the interest of good-hearted, helpful women to volunteer with charities. Through her own example, perseverance, and hard work, she has successfully developed a network of women who share her values.

Pro Homini