Our History

FARA Charity was founded in 1991 to transform the lives of children abandoned into Romania’s notorious state institutions, suffering abuse and neglect.

Fara means “without” in Romanian, and FARA Charity was founded to create a family for those without.

Heart-rending images on UK television following the fall of Ceausescu, caused Jane Nicholson to take a group of volunteers from the UK to Romania, transporting emergency aid to children abandoned into state institutions. Here Jane worked offering her nursing skills to help severely traumatised children and adults. She witnessed first-hand the appalling conditions endured by the neglected children, and co-founded FARA with Martine Faure-Alderson who was involved in the early years of the charity. Jane decided to devote her life to finding an alternative to institutional care to give hope for the future.

During those early years Jane was also Chair of Trustees of Sue Ryder, a health care charity working in both the UK and overseas. The experience she gained in central and Eastern Europe proved invaluable for the development of FARA.

In 1997 FARA’s first Family Home for children was built and opened, St Nicholas, where children had a chance to live in a family for the first time and be healed of past trauma. Many new projects followed to meet the desperate needs of children with disabilities, families living in abject poverty and young adults leaving institutions at risk of homelessness.

Jane has many stories to tell of children and young people healed by love and care in FARA. Florin was rescued from a state institution where he experienced a life of abuse, beaten and locked in cupboard he became almost blind. He prayed, “thank you God that love is greater than hatred, I thank you for making my life like the light.”

FARA reaches out to the poor, the vulnerable and excluded in Romania. Our mission is to build families and communities, to love and to serve them. To strive to build a just society serving the common good, based on Christian values, welcoming people of all faiths and none.

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 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.”

Jane’s inspiration and vision remain at the heart of FARA. She continues to travel to Romania frequently to guide and share her vision today, as Founder and Chairman of Trustees.

Jane is an Icon painter and Prison Chaplain and was awarded the MBE for her humanitarian work in Romania in 2013.

Please click here to view FARA's timeline.

“It is not so much the greatness of our works as the love with which they are done.”
- St Teresa of Avila

FARA Foundation Registered Charity No. 1139349 and a Company limited by guarantee in England and Wales No. 7432706
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