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Last Updated:  Sunday, 23 February, 2003, 12:41 GMT
Charity helps Romanian orphans
An orphan
Karen was moved by the plight of the Romanian orphans
An Oxfordshire woman has set up a charity to help provide shelter for orphaned teenagers in Romania.

Karen Fairfax-Cholmeley began the Romanian Foyer Trust to support orphans once they reach 18 years old.

The scheme has opened in the north-west of the country and houses 18 people.

At the moment, it is the only organisation helping orphans in this way.

Karen said: "We offer accommodation, training for work and carefully planned support on a personal basis.


"So far as we are aware, there is no other organisation in Romania offering this model of support to children emerging from institutions."

Karen, who works for Oxfordshire County Council, became involved with the poverty-stricken country after she visited there in the early 1990s.

Moved by the plight of the children and the lack of facilities, she volunteered to sponsor a four-year-old girl, Nicoleta.

The following year she went with husband, Martin, and their three children - then aged 10, 13 and 15 - to visit Nicoleta in a state-run institution near Satu Mare.

In 1994, the Fairfax-Cholmeleys took on the sponsorship of another child - eight-year-old Romi.

To help such youngsters once they left the homes, she and her family founded the trust, a registered charity, in July 2000.

Karen is now planning a sponsored walk in Romania in the summer to raise much-needed funds to support the trust.



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