Romanian house

30 years of FARA

Fara means “without” in Romanian and the charity was created to provide a family for those without

Celebrating 30 years of transforming the lives of the most vulnerable and disadvantaged living in Romania’s poorest communities by offering a family-centred model of care.

FARA was founded in 1991 to transform the lives of those abandoned in the notorious state institutions in Romania, suffering abuse and neglect. Heartrending news coverage on UK television following the fall of Ceausescu drove Jane Nicholson to take a group of volunteers from the UK to Romania. Once there, they witnessed first-hand the appalling conditions endured by the neglected children and adults and co-founded FARA with Martine Faure-Alderson.

FARA Charity Timeline

30 Years Video

To see a video celebrating our 30 years click here



Welcoming a new patron

Patron Eugen Sarbu
A prestigious addition to the FARA Family, Eugen Sarbu, acclaimed Romanian violinist becomes patron of FARA Foundation.


Eurochild membership

Eurochild logo
FARA becomes a full member of Eurochild, a lobbying body working to promote the rights of the child in Europe. Conferences and working groups form the basis of collaborating with other NGOs and organisations.


Rafael Therapy Centre

A new therapy centre

FARA opens the Rafael therapy and rehabilitation centre for children with disabilities from poor families, in Bucharest, offering a vital service to more families in poverty with children with disabilities.


Princess Marina Sturdza

Princess Marina Sturdza

Princess Marina Sturdza long-standing Patron of FARA dies at the age of 73. The Princess was a dedicated supporter and passionate promoter of the work carried out by FARA.

As part of an official Royal visit to Romania, HRH The Prince of Wales visits the FARA programmes in Bucharest.


25th Anniversary Celebrations

FARA Charity marks its 25th Anniversary with celebrations at Clarence House in London and Bucharest.

FARA opens the St Francis hostel in Bucharest for youth at risk, offering life skills and training towards independent living.

Casa Elizabeta, Home For Life opens in the pilgrim village of Cacica, Suceava County, for adults with learning disabilities from institutions. Establishing the model of care offering a family focused alternative to the large state institutions where many still remain, abandoned.



A FARA therapy session
In response to huge demand FARA opens another therapy centre, St.Teresa’s for children with disabilities, many on the autism spectrum, in a poor area of Falticeni in northeast Romania. Offering free life-changing support.


MBE awarded

Jane Nicholson, Founder, is awarded an MBE for her humanitarian work in Romania.


Residents of FARA's Homes For Life programme

Homes For Life

St Mary’s and St Joseph Homes For Life open, welcoming young adults with learning disabilities from state institutions.


20th anniversary

The charity celebrates its 20th anniversary with concerts in London and Romania, and a garden party at the British Embassy in Bucharest.

FARA takes over a Hostel in Satu Mare, offering young adults from institutions life skills mentoring and support towards independent living, preventing an otherwise inevitable homelessness.


Emmanuel Centre opens

Following a great demand from social services FARA’s second therapy centre for children with disabilities, the Emmanuel Centre opens in Suceava in northeast Romania.


St. Raphaels

The St. Raphaels Recovery Centre opens in Bucharest to meet the needs of young adults with disabilities coming from state institutions.


FARA's therapy centres provide a vital service.

The Samuel Centre

To address the needs of children with disabilities in families, the charity opens the Samuel Centre in Bucharest, a specialist learning and therapy centre.


FARA supports children with a hot school lunch

Tackling Poverty Through Education launches

FARA’s educational for socially excluded Roma children in the rural northeast evolves into the Tackling Poverty Through Education programme.


A new patron

Nicole Kidman with FARA children

After filming Cold Mountain in Romania and meeting FARA’s children with Jane Nicholson, Nicole Kidman agrees to become patron of the charity.


The FARA farm

HRH The Prince of Wales visits Oat Farm

FARA’s Royal Patron HRH The Prince of Wales lays the foundation stone for an organic farm and training centre for vulnerable young people from state institutions.


A Royal Patron

HRH in Romania
HRH The Prince of Wales becomes Patron of FARA.


FARA kindergarten

FARA Charity’s services in Bucharest and Suceava open, providing foster care for babies and children, specialising in those shunned by their families due to disability. In Bucharest, a FARA kindergarten is established to help integrate children into the local community.


St. Gabriels opens

To meet the growing need FARA Charity’s second purpose-built children’s home, St. Gabriels opens in Bucharest.


St Nicholas opens

St. Nicholas opens

After raising sufficient funds, the St. Nicholas home in Suceava opens its doors to children from the institutions, caring for up to 16 vulnerable and traumatised children.


Plans begin

While planning and building FARA’s first children’s home in northeast Romania, FARA volunteers work tirelessly in the existing institutions to care for and give education to traumatised and neglected children.


FARA Fulham opens

Needing resources, the charity’s first shop opens in Fulham, London.


First aid convoys

Romanian state institutions in 1991

Jane Nicholson and Martine Faure-Alderson launch an appeal, and the first of several aid convoys leaves UK for Romania. Jane heads the team of volunteers working in three state institutions in northeast Romania to offer medical care, provide sanitation, education and refurbishment.

FARA Charity is founded by Jane Nicholson in the UK with the aim to alleviate the suffering of children abandoned into Romania’s notorious state institutions.


Where it started

25 December: Romanian President Nicholas Ceausescu and his wife Elena are shot by firing squad after a secret military tribunal found them both guilty of genocide. After 40 years of brutal communism, the county is left in chaos and the people living in abject poverty. UK press features heart-rending reports of the plight of children in Romania’s state orphanages. Jane Nicholson, then trustee of Sue Ryder Care and trained nurse, learns of this and feels compelled to act.


Support FARA continue our work

FARA youth services

Ways to donate

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Romanian child

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