FARA was originally founded by Jane Nicholson and Martine Faure-Alderson in 1991. In 2000 Jane Nicholson took the charity forward to become FARA Charity (legal name FARA Foundation). In the Romanian language FARA means “without” and FARA Charity was created to provide just that, a family for those without.
Heart-rending images on UK television, following the fall of Ceausescu, which reported the terrible plight of children in Romania’s State orphanages caused Jane to respond by organising a group of volunteers, transporting emergency aid from the UK. Romania had been suffering for 40 years under a severe communist regime, the last 20 years under the dictator Nicolae Ceausescu who closed Romania to rest of the world, the people had their rights and freedom taken away and the country was reduced to a place of abject poverty, suffering and fear. Life under this regime had repercussions which still effect this beautiful country trying to rebuild itself and its people today.
Jane offered her nursing skills in three of Romania’s notorious institutions and witnessed first-hand the appalling conditions endured by severely traumatised and abandoned children and adults. She decided to fight to close the state institutions and worked towards opening alternative care for abandoned children and young people to recover them from institutional life.
In 1997 St Nicholas family style home was opened. St Nicholas family home gave children from some of Romania’s state institutions the chance to live in a family and grow and be healed from past trauma. Jane has many stories to tell of children and young people healed by love and care at FARA, Florin who was rescued from a life in a state institution where he was often locked in a cupboard, beaten severely and became almost blind prayed:
“Thank you God that love is greater than hatred. I thank you for making my life like the light.” Florin a young person with learning difficulties living in a FARA home.
Jane is a member of the Carmelite Order in the Catholic Church and her faith is nurtured in the teachings of St Teresa of Avila who re-founded the Order in 16th Century Spain. She wrote: “It is not so much the greatness of our works as the love with which they are done.” St Teresa of Avila
Jane’s inspiration in those early years remains at the heart of FARA. She continues to guide and share her vision today, travelling to Romania frequently. Jane was awarded the MBE for her humanitarian work throughout Romania in 2013.
FARA is a work of love and one that reaches out to the marginalised, the poor and the discriminated children and young people in Romania.
FARA’s vision is of a world in which all children and young people can grow up with freedom and dignity in a loving, protective environment, experiencing fulfilling lives. FARA reaches out to all people of faith or none.
Our mission is to transform the lives of marginalised children and young people in our care, to provide a loving family, healing of past traumas, access to therapy and education and to tackle poverty in some of the poorest communities in Romania.
We believe that, like the best parenting, the care we provide must address the whole person. We therefore take a holistic approach, seeking to address the needs of children and young people at every level: social, emotional and intellectual.
We promote the acceptance of each child and young person as an individual by their peers, by the wider community and by society as a whole.
We promote inclusiveness, underpinned by our conviction that every child and young person has a part to play in society and should be accorded love and respect as a uniquely gifted individual.
We believe that the deepest need of our children and young people is to experience genuine love as part of a stable family, where spiritual, social and material needs are generously nurtured.
Whatever the present challenges, we maintain a firm hope for a future where everyone’s potential can be fulfilled and where the experience of a loving and supportive upbringing is sustained in adult life by the wider structures of family and society.