The Seed of Love Light Romania was sown in the Mid-late nineties when founders Ron and Jo Jowett began to travel twice a year to an orphanage in the south of Romania, to deliver aid and spend time with the children. Using their camper van they would stay in the grounds of the orphanage, which was home to fifty plus children, twenty four of those children were infected with HIV. One of those children a young boy infected with the virus became the inspiration to establish Love Light Romania in the country. The boy wanted to be part of a family and had become close to Ron and Jo, they realised to do more for the children and provide him with a home they needed to re-locate from the UK to Romania.
Back in the UK Ron and Jo were introduced to a Transylvanian dance group who were visiting for a festival but had no where to stay. They were able to offer them accommodation and a few months later on their next trip to Romania they visited their new Romanian friends, who lived in a small village near Medias. They liked the culture in this area which was different to what they had experienced before and there were several properties for sale in the village. Considering the boy from the orphanage would not mind where his new family were located, in the summer of 1999 they found a house that was affordable and despite that they did not have the money to buy it, they announced that at Christmas they would be back to make the purchase. They returned to the UK to find that while they were in Romania, funds had become available, almost the exact amount needed to make the purchase of Love Light Romania’s first property. In May 2000 Ron and Jo gave up their life in the UK, selling as much of their belongings as they could to finance the move and settling into the new life. Association Love Light Romania was established as a Romanian registered non governmental organization and the work began.
Just a few weeks after starting their new life they were introduced to ten abandoned children, infected with HIV who were living in an isolated unit at the local hospital. Also in that unit they found a room where four children were in the final stages of AIDS dying alone and in pain. These children were dying in a hospital that had in-adequate facilities and they opened the door to the extent of the desperate HIV/AIDS situation in Medias and the surrounding area. Love Light Romania began supporting the abandoned children in the hospital unit and started a home care support program. In 2003 The Sanctuary Placement Center was opened to provide a home for the abandoned children, the house also offers respite and daycare. End of Life Care takes place at the Sanctuary or as part of the home care support program. As well as Medias, Love Light Romania now works in the area of Targu Mures and Sigisoara. In 2010 the association launched a poor families community project and in June 2012 opened a centre to support Jacodu Children’s Project. In April 2013, as part of it’s orphan care program, Love Light Romania will open Casa Mariana. This will provide a home to children from parents who are infected with HIV and cannot take care of them and for orphans of parents who have died of AIDS.
Illiaz, the boy with HIV who inspired Ron and Jo Jowett to establish Love Light Romania in Transylvania, sadly in July 2000 died of AIDS, two months after they arrived in the country to provide him the home he always wanted. Reviewing the success and progress that Love Light Romania has made, it is easy to understand that this boy’s suffering was not in vain.