The Face of a Child Project TM was created and developed by a young college student in 2001. She developed the project as a result of analyzing that although children were grateful and appreciative of the humanitarian aid LSM was bringing to their orphanage or village, they longed for something more personal, more individualized. An idea was born. What if adults, children, families, and groups from the US could make a customized gift of much-needed items for a specific child in Moldova? How could thousands of children all over Moldova receive a gift sent from thousands of miles away from a specific family or person in the US? Would it be possible? Would it work? Remembering the thousands of children’s faces she had seen in Moldova on her trips to orphanages and villages and after returning to the US from one of these trips, she proposed the project naming it “Face of a Child” to LSM’s leadership. The project was launched that same year.
The core of the project was built around the concept that although all the children would receive the same items, each child’s gift/package would be sponsored by an individual, family, or group and in doing not only would the child feel special because he/she was receiving a gift sent from the US especially for him/her but each child’s gift would be unique. In addition to the humanitarian impact providing much-needed items of clothing, shoes, backpacks, school supplies, and hygiene products, the project also has an emotional and psychological effect. Children who have felt abandoned and neglected in government orphanage-schools or children in rural villages without much exposure to the rest of the world, through this project receive individualized attention, a gesture of love, care, and generosity and it comes from outside their borders, from thousands of miles away, from families, groups, children, and adults they have never met. Andrei, an 8thgrader says of the FOACP: ”Until today, all the boys had to wear identical brown coats received from our orphanage. Everyone in the village knew that we were from the orphanage and due to this, they looked down on us. But now wearing the new and colorful coat, hat, gloves, and scarf we received, I can proudly lift my head up and I can feel like a real human being…”
Due to the Face of a Child project thousands of children’s lives have changed for the better. When the project began in 2001 many of the children had olld and worn winter coats, if they even had one at all. Hands and fingers were numb with cold. Many were sick during the winter months. Since then their health has improved because they received adequate clothing for the winter and basic hygiene supplies and towels to maintain cleanliness. Instead torn rubber shoes worn even in the winter, these children now have sneakers and socks to keep their feet warm and sweatsuits to allow them to engage in outdoor activities. The plastic grocery bags in which many children carried their schoolwork have been replaced with backpacks and school supplies encouraging them to learn and to value education.
The Face of a Child Project is not just humanitarian aid given to an entire orphanage or village… it is a project which provides the basic and most needed items child-specific for Serghei, Veronica, Vasile, Tanya, Elisabeta, Nicolae, Andrei…. and thousands of others.
Since 2001, the FOACP gifts have been distributed in Moldova through some of the most difficult weather conditions by trucks, vans, horse-drawn carts, and even sleds when snow made it impossible to access a rural village where children were anxiously awaiting their Face of a Child winter coats. Over the years the FOAC Project has had participants from 38 states, Canada, and even Australia. Many participants started out with one picture only to request more for their family, friends, offices, churches, companies, classrooms, or other groups. Some have volunteered in the LSM warehouse packing up the FOACP gifts in boxes to be loaded on containers. Others have shown up on loading day to lend a hand loading the boxes onto containers. Some have even gone to Moldova with LSM on distribution trips to hand out the FOACP gifts at their final destination, the open arms of a child in one of Moldova’s orphanages or villages.
The Face of a Child Project began with one college student’s idea to directly impact the lives of children and it has become a reality for thousands of children in orphanages and villages in the Republic of Moldova.
2015Winter Coats, hat gloves, and scarf plus school supplies and hygiene items
2014Sweat suits and shoes plus school supplies and hygiene items
2013Backpacks and a pair of shoes plus school supplies and hygiene items
2012Pajamas plus a set of towels, school supplies and hygiene items
2011Winter Coats, hat, gloves, and scarf plus school supplies and hygiene items
2010Sweat Suits and athletic shoes plus school supplies and hygiene items
2009Backpacks and a pair of shoes plus school supplies and hygiene items
2008Sweat Suits and shoes plus school supplies and hygiene items
2007Winter Coats, hat, gloves, and scarf plus school supplies and hygiene items
2006Backpacks and a pair of shoes plus school supplies and hygiene items
2005Pajamas plus a set of towels, school supplies and hygiene items
2004Sweat suits and shoes plus school supplies and hygiene items
2003Winter coat, hat, gloves, and scarf plus school supplies and hygiene items
2002Backpacks and a pair of shoes plus school supplies and hygiene items
2001Plastic boxes filled with school supplies, t-shirts, socks, and hygiene items