Orphan aid crisis plea
A LINTON couple are appealing to the public for donations to help them carry on providing aid for orphans in Romania. Derek and Colleen Lockstone need help to be able to continue the work of the charity Children In Distress (CID), which has been providing
A LINTON couple are appealing to the public for donations to help them carry on providing aid for orphans in Romania.Derek and Colleen Lockstone need help to be able to continue the work of the charity Children In Distress (CID), which has been providing support to children in the eastern European country since the fall of Nicolae Ceausescu's dictatorship at the end of 1989.The Lockstones, who live in Rhugarve Gardens, joined the charity in 1995 as a doctor and nurse team and have visited Romania regularly ever since to provide expertise and help.Mr Lockstone said if CID could not find more money it could mean it would have to pull out of Romania altogether, cutting the support it provides to children suffering from disabilities and AIDS."We would just have to pull out and the whole thing would collapse and it would just be a disaster."The kids would stop getting their support, stop getting the physio and they would have to return to the state orphanages which are pretty rough."CID was started by vicar John Walmesley in the early 1990s and set up orphanages across Romania to care for orphans who had been left in appalling conditions in the state-run institutions.When Mr Walmesley visited the country he found thousands of emaciated babies and children abandoned in the state nurseries.Many of them were suffering from AIDS as well as other disabilities such as hydrocephalus, which is when the child's head swells because of water on the brain.The latter condition has been treatable in most western countries since 1960 but because of Romania's long isolation while under Communist rule the country's doctors do not have the skills to cope.Mr Lockstone said the babies were victims of Ceausescu's ban on contraception which resulted in many children being abandoned because their impoverished mothers could not afford to provide for them.When this happened, they were placed in state orphanages where they were neglected and left in poor conditions to the extent that some aid workers found rooms covered in excrement.Increasingly, the Romanians have taken over the running of the charity's orphanages and fewer English volunteers have been involved, but CID still needs to provide training and equipment.Mr Lockstone believed other appeals such as the Asian tsunami, the earthquake in Pakistan and the problems in Sudan had resulted in the public giving less to the Romania appeal.He said: "Every time I go there I feel my input is less and there need of me is less and I can see the time when I shall possibly be redundant. on the one hand things are positive and I am encouraged, but on the other there is a lot of need there.