The Costesti Community

In Costesti, a town located 130 km south-west from Bucharest, most of the 10,000 inhabitants live on what they manage to produce in their own fields or gardens. The economic opportunities the city offers are extremely limited and the only industrial enterprise in the area has 200 employees. Adults working outside their own households often commute to the near city Pitesti (22 km) – although commuting entails high costs for the family budget – or choose to emigrate abroad in an attempt to escape poverty.

The economic situation certainly has serious social consequences on families and on the entire community. Many families in Costesti experience alcoholism and domestic violence, family break ups through divorce or the already mentioned migration abroad. The abandonment of children in the care of relatives is a real drama for too many children in the area.

Because children are, as always, the most vulnerable social category, badly affected by their families problems. Poverty, neglect by parents, problems and conflicts in the family, migration of one or both parents, poor housing, lead to absenteeism and / or school drop-out, decreased school performance, mental health problems and behavioral problems among children and adolescents.

Children cannot turn for help anywhere in the community. No NGO caters to our community aside from Hercules.

In terms of culture and education, Costesti offers nothing to its inhabitants, of any age. For the 800 children (6-14 y.o.) and the 400 adolescents (14-18) who attend the two schools and two high schools in town (Theoretical High School and Agrico Group), there are no cinemas, theaters, concerts, sports opportunities. Children and young people have nothing to do with their spare time and this gives them too much time in front of the TV, in games and betting centers, on the street.

Given the economic and social situation of the community, the need for the social and educational services of a children’s day center is self-evident. To be able to hope for a life better than that of their parents, children need education, food, care and attention, guidance, recreation, socialization, extracurricular activities – even when parents can’t help. This is what Hercules is here for.