Casa Shalom history from 1994-2016
- In 1994 a church in Germersheim,Germany bought the unfinished house. The house was enlarged and renovated in 1994 and 1995.
- In the fall of 1995 Rebecca Dan Walsh was asked to be the Director of this House for Children. At that time the house became known as "CASA SHALOM". During this time we were working with children on the streets.
- In May 1996 we registered Asociata Casa Shalom with the Romanian government as a non profit organization. We took in the first three boys that stayed three months with us and also made regular trips to the Train Station to help the Street Kids by giving them, clothing, shoes and food. We saw this was not the answer in helping these children.
- In 1997 we took in the first children to live permanently at Casa Shalom. We had 12 children by the end of the year. Others came for a short period of time but didn't stay with us.
- In 1998 we took in our first boy as our home was only for girls until we found a little 3 yr. old boy and 5 yr. old girl our living with the sheep in northern Romania. Now we had 15 children living at Casa Shalom. There was a big problem. We had no more room for children. A generous business woman and her son came and bought us a nice piece of land. We started plans for building a new house. It was a real stressful time as we had contact with five architects. When the final plans were finished the gov't rejected them and we had to start all over designing the new house.
- In 1999 we had 18 children in our house and we were one big happy family. In the evenings we would sit around the piano and sing or play the accordion and violin with the children. We had a big garden so the whole family got involved in helping with the canning of vegetables. Our children were learning to play the mandolin and piano. It was a lot of fun with 18 children at Casa Shalom.
- In 2000 we built an all purpose building. Actually it was a donated metal building for a deposit for the building materials for the new house. In those days you couldn't let iron and building materials outside otherwise you might not find them in the morning. A team of retired Americans came and in six weeks put up the deposit. The work and dedication we saw from the team was amazing. We decided we couldn't use this building for a deposit after this dedicated team worked so hard. We decided to turn the building into an all purpose building were we could have all kinds of activities for children. That building has been such a blessing over the years.
- In 2001 we were asked to help another organization in need and after saying no twice we finally gave in and said we would help them. We had no idea the pain and hardship this would bring to our organization. We took in ten new children this year. Six of the new children were abandoned at birth and had many needs. Some of the other came from state orphanages. Now we had 28 children at Casa Shalom and many new problems to deal with on a regular basis. We had to increase our staff and the costs for running the ministry became enormous.
- In 2002 we took in five more children full time. Now there were 33 children at Casa Shalom. We had to rent two more apt's to house all these kids. The work was hard and very stressful but we wanted to help kids in need and those that were abandoned. I guess we had no idea what we were getting into. I am sure it was good we didn't know otherwise we would had given up in the beginning. We found raising five little boys in an apt. was not the best idea and the neighbors told us they didn't like these noisy boys. Boys will be boys and they need a place to play and to be loud. So we decided to remodel our storage room at Casa Shalom and turn it into a bedroom for six children. We did and it became our favorite room in our house. It was a great idea and our little boys loved it.
- In 2003 we were still like a big family and all the kids had their chores either working in the garden, kitchen or helping around the house. We decided to get guitars and we had ten of them learning to play the guitar. Well, that only lasted for a short time. Sometimes our children were asked to sing in Germany and Austria. The kids loved the trips and of course all the attention. Once a church gave four of the little ones guitars which were about as big as they were.
- In 2004 we started building our new house. We had been saving up our money and now we could finally start. It seemed like the work went so slow. We used a Romanian contractor, we had a German and Romanian architect and an American project manager. So you can read between the lines. We are glad we got this house finally built in the end.We finally got the roof on the building in December. There was a lot of work to do on the inside. We thank God for the work teams that started coming in the fall to help us frame in the building. It started to look like a house but we had a long way to go.
- In 2005 we had a lot of Volunteer teams coming to help us on the new house. It was such a blessing as there was no way we could pay Romanian workers to do all this work. We are watching our little boys grow up and they don't always want to learn so it's hard trying to motivate them all the time. Some of our kids were doing excellent in school and some were falling behind.
- In 2006 we had our 10 year Casa Shalom Reunion. We only had the ground floor finished in the house but over 150 people were here celebrating with us. The mayor of Bucharest and several other government officials were there. Our children sang and played their instruments and had a beautiful presentation for us. When I looked back and thought about how the children were when they came to Casa Shalom. Then I thought about how these kids had changed since they were with us. It was tremendous. It was truly a miracle to see how these children had become so confident and able to communicate even in English. They were all smiling from ear to ear. This was one event I will never forget. I guess it was worth all the hard work to see all those smiling faces.
- In 2007 we had to keep pressing ahead with trying to finish our building. We didn't have a volunteer team in the spring so we were working on painting the house ourself. One day a stranger came by and asked if we needed some help. I thought it was a joke. He said, no," I am serious and I'm from Ireland and want to bring a volunteer team of 65 people from Ireland to help on a project at Casa Shalom". Well, it was such a surprise and hard to hold back the tears when you feel tired and weary, and simply exhausted. It was true and the 65 people came in August and were a tremendous blessing here at Casa Shalom. They had 12 work teams that really made Casa Shalom shine with new paint outside and inside. They poured cement and remodeled a bathroom and even got all the electric lights working. It was so amazing and very encouraging for us. Christmas came and the same group sent a lot of Christmas shoe boxes for our kids and to deliver to the community. Romania joined the European Union and new laws regarding children's homes were passed. We didn't pay too much attention to these new laws at that time.
- In 2008 we got the word that we needed to start sending our children back to the counties where there families were from. The first children that had to leave us were Sorin and Mirela. It was a real tearful and difficult parting for us. Even though we knew they would have to leave months before. We were not prepared to say good bye. They had been with us for almost ten yrs and they were like our own children and then being ripped out of our life so suddenly. More and more of the children had to leave. Some of the girls decided to get married. We keep in contact with many of our former Casa Shalom kids and they often come to visit us. A few of them come and spend quite a bit of time here at Casa Shalom. We are here for them and our doors are always open to all the Casa Shalom kids. We wish them well and hope that all of them will become successful in life and learn to give back by helping someone else as they travel through life.
- In Nov. of 2008 we started a new program, JOY AFTER SCHOOL where children from families can come and we help them with their homework, give them a good warm meal and have tutors here to help them get good grades in school and learn lots of other things here at Casa Shalom. Right now we have nine children in the program plus the others that are still here in our house. The children really enjoy coming to Casa Shalom and we are really happy to receive them. The parents call us and tell us how happy their children are and that they don't want to miss coming here. We hope to be a light and an encouragement to all these children and help them to learn positive and practical things here at Casa Shalom. That most of all they will learn of God's love for them.
- In Jan. 2009 we continued the After School Program. Most children were already established with an After School Program so we will prepare for a lot of new children coming in Sept. for the new school year. In January we also started another new program as more and more of our kids have left Casa Shalom we have time to concentrate on helping more children. This time we felt lead to help parents who have many children. So often these families abandon their children. We decided to work to help mothers from abandoning their children. We already have 50 children that we are helping on a regular basis. Our second new program is helping children with disabilities. There are children that need operations but the parents don't know how to deal with the medical system or lack the funds needed to get the operation for their child. Some mothers have many children and need someone to come and care for the children while she can leave with a child for the hospital. We are helping these families with their medical problems. We are thankful for our sponsors and as long as we receive the funding many more children will be able to have a quality life and we are excited that we can have a part in helping them. We thank God for his faithfulness.
- In 2010 we started out with a large volunteer team which helped us to virtually change the living situation for some Romanian families. This year we also helped to support a nearby hospital through a partnership with with a German hospital. This has been a blessing for the village institution. This summer we are planning on helping several families to repair their homes and help them to have better conditions to raise their children.
In June we start our Summer Kids Camps. Many are wanting to come.
This summer we will be doing some remodeling at Casa Shalom.
We will have teams coming from the World Race, from Ireland and Canada.
Looking forward to all the volunteers. It will be great! Praise the Lord!
- In 2011 we started the Year out by taking a mission trip to ASIA. God put on our heart to expand our Casa Shalom Ministry into India and Nepal. We want to help fight against human trafficking in Asia. We will be partners with some other organizations who are doing a fine job in India and Nepal. It's our desire to make trips twice a year into Asia to encourage the children, youth, ladies and to also help pastors. We are still working on some new contacts for this important outreach. This year we will be visiting more villages than ever before in Romania. We are thankful for our volunteer ministry teams that come and help us. Also this year we want to be able to finish our third building that we started a few years ago.We will have another busy summer with Children's Camps here at Casa Shalom. We will have a full house once again. In Dec. we took in 15 Refugees from Myanmar, former Burma.
- In 2012 we continue to work with the Refugees that we have taken in. We have made some changes in our new house for more families to live here at Casa Shalom. We have started Romanian and English lessons for the Refugees. Some of them want to go to other countries.
- This has been a busy summer. We have had our Kid's Camps, and worked on our projects in the villages. This fall we were able to make a progress on the our third house here at Casa Shalom. We have some young people helping us that are doing a great job.
- This fall we had a conference with a group of Americans and a sister from England. It was a real powerful time. There were words of encouragement for so many people. Thanks ladies for coming!
- This Dec. I was invited by the UNHCR to go to the U.N. in Geneva for a Dialogue about Faith and Protection for Refugees. It was quite interesting to get to meet so many people working with Refugees and displaced people around the world.
- 2013 - 2016 ( under construction) lost moving from old computer. :(