Hope and Homes for Children

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Hope and Homes for Children
HeadquartersEast Clyffe, Salisbury, Wiltshire
Area served
Eastern Europe and Central Asia, Central/Southern Europe, East and Southern Africa, Latin America and the Caribbean, India
Key people
Mark Waddington, Chief Executive
Number of employees
55 UK staff
WebsiteHope and Homes for Children

Hope and Homes for Children (HHC) is a British registered charity operating and working with children, their families and communities across 7 countries in Central and Eastern Europe and Africa.[1] to help children grow up in safe and productive environments. The charity moves children out of institutions into family-based care, helps keep together families who are at risk of breakdown due to the pressures of poverty, disease or conflict and works to prevent child abandonment.[2]


Hope and Homes for Children was established by Mark Cook, a retired colonel,[3] and his wife Caroline.[4] The first project was an orphanage in Croatia, in a town called Lipik. Cook was posted there as part of the United Nations Protection Force.[5] Initially he and other soldiers repaired war damaged orphanages before realising that what children really required was a family. [5] Hope and Homes for children then began to pioneer the deinstitutionalisation of orphanages and children's homes. By August 2018, the charity had closed 105 institutions in nine countries, prevented around 20,000 children entering or re-entering institutions and have been key players in changing childcare systems.[6][7]


The charity's stated mission is “to be the catalyst for the global elimination of institutional care of children”. They do this by keeping families together and avoiding separation. They also aim to reunite children with families by closing institutions,[8][9] where this is not possible they set up alternative family care arrangements such as adoption, fostering and small family homes. The model of deinstitutionaliation that they have developed has been recognised as best practice by Unicef and the World Health Organization.[10][failed verification] Hope and Homes for Children work in 6 countries in Eastern Europe and 2 in Africa.


Bosnia is the first country that Hope and Homes worked in.[11] Having initially renovated orphanages there it learnt that what children really need is a family and instead developed a model to close them with, starting with Dom Most Institution. HHC continues to support the reform of the child care system there.


A pilot institution for babies was closed at Teteven in 2010 in partnership with TBACT;[12] it stimulated the government who then asked HHC to close eight more in the Sofia, Pernik, Montana, Ruse, Gabrovo, Targoviste, Plovdiv and Pazardzhik regions.[13][14]


When HHC started working in Romania there were 100,000 children living in Romanian orphanages, and by 2010 there were less than 7,500.[15] It is the largest programme for Hope and Homes for Children, and they have led the closure of institutions and established replacement services in several counties.[10][16] Working with ARK and the Romanian Government they aim to end the institutionalisation of children by 2020.[15]


HHC's work to close the Cupcui institution in Moldova earnt a Human Rights Award from the United Nations Development Programme and other UN agencies, showcasing innovative initiatives promoting human rights in Moldova[17][citation needed] In 2012 they completed the closure of Sarata Noua, the first institution for children with learning disabilities in Moldova. They are now focusing on two of the four baby institutions in Moldova which will cut off the supply to school age institutions, ensuring children grow up in family based care.[18]


HHC has been working in Ukraine since 1999. They have demonstrated models that the government has later adopted, such as for small family homes and mother and baby units.[citation needed] They closed the Makariv institution[19] and set up replacement services to support children and families.[20][20]


Having developed a number of community hubs to support vulnerable Rwandan families to stay together HHC have now completed closing Mpore PEFA Orphanage in Kigali, the first orphanage to be closed following best practice in Africa; this was done with the support of the Ministry of Gender and Family Promotion.[21][22] In 2017 the charity reported that the number of orphanages in Rwanda had fallen to 14, from 400 ten years before.[23]


Work is underway to reform the systems for abandoned babies in Khartoum. There has already been significant success: working with the religious community a Fatwa was issued to 'decriminalise' abandoned, illegitimate babies which allowed them to be 'adopted' within the Islamic Kafala principle.[citation needed] Over 2,400 babies have been placed within families rather than in institutions.[7][24]

Notable people[edit]

Mark Cook founded the charity[25] and was awarded several honours including an OBE and a Heart of Gold award from Esther Rantzen; Caroline Cook was also appointed an OBE.[26] Martin Bell OBE was with Mark Cook when he founded the organisation;[25][27] he later became a patron.

In 2010 former Defence Minister The Rt. Hon. Michael Mates with William Godfree performed Flanders and Swann songs in aid of the charity.[28]


  1. ^ Smith, Alex Duval (1999-12-12). "Christmas appeal: Hope in the midst of horror". The Independent. London. Retrieved 2010-10-06.
  2. ^ "Rwanda: The Gradual Downsizing of Orphanages in Country". The New Times. 14 September 2011. Retrieved 24 January 2016.
  3. ^ "Column One". St. Petersburg Times. 1997-04-22. Retrieved 2010-10-06.
  4. ^ "The Rotarian: The clubs in action". The Rotarian. Rotary International. 173. December 1998. ISSN 0035-838X. Retrieved 2010-10-06.
  5. ^ a b "The Lipik Orphanage and Colonel Mark Cook". Retrieved 24 January 2016.
  6. ^ http://www.hopeandhomes.org/downloads/HHC%20Annual%20Review%202010.pdf Archived July 26, 2011, at the Wayback Machine
  7. ^ a b Deedes, WF (2004-11-18). "Deserving causes need your help". The Daily Telegraph. London.
  8. ^ http://www.citynews.ro/maramures/din-oras-10/alesii-judeteni-asteptati-la-o-sedinta-de-indata-update-130629/
  9. ^ "No longer ignored". The Daily Telegraph. London. 2004-11-18.
  10. ^ a b Levin, Angela (2010-11-15). "My glimpse of hell and the pitiful children who have been betrayed". The Daily Telegraph. London.
  11. ^ "News". Salisbury Cathedral. Retrieved 2018-12-17.
  12. ^ "Archived copy". Archived from the original on 2012-04-02. Retrieved 2011-09-20.CS1 maint: Archived copy as title (link)
  13. ^ "Bulgaria to Start Moving Children from Orphanages - Novinite.com - Sofia News Agency". www.novinite.com. Retrieved 2018-12-17.
  14. ^ "Archived copy". Archived from the original on 2013-05-23. Retrieved 2012-08-25.CS1 maint: Archived copy as title (link)
  15. ^ a b "Archived copy". Archived from the original on 2011-09-29. Retrieved 2011-08-23.CS1 maint: Archived copy as title (link)
  16. ^ "Archived copy". Archived from the original on 2012-04-02. Retrieved 2011-09-20.CS1 maint: Archived copy as title (link)
  17. ^ "Archived copy". Archived from the original on 2012-03-27. Retrieved 2011-09-20.CS1 maint: Archived copy as title (link)
  18. ^ "Archived copy". Archived from the original on 2012-08-01. Retrieved 2012-08-25.CS1 maint: Archived copy as title (link)
  19. ^ "Film | True Vision". truevisiontv.com. Retrieved 2018-12-17.
  20. ^ a b "Hope and Homes helps orphans in Ukraine (05/09/99)". www.ukrweekly.com. Retrieved 2019-06-05.
  21. ^ http://www.migeprof.gov.rw/index.php?option=com_content&task=view&id=238&Itemid=131
  22. ^ "Archived copy". Archived from the original on 2012-08-01. Retrieved 2012-08-25.CS1 maint: Archived copy as title (link)
  23. ^ Muhanga (24 August 2017). "Closing African orphanages may be less heartless than it seems". The Economist. Retrieved 23 August 2018.
  24. ^ "UNICEF Sudan - Resources - Technical paper #1 - alternative family care". www.unicef.org. Retrieved 2018-12-17.
  25. ^ a b Deedes, WF (2004-11-21). "Soldier's ad hoc TV plea launched orphans' charity". The Daily Telegraph. London.
  26. ^ https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=2zu0jQjmJyk
  27. ^ Swann, Yvonne (2009-12-11). "'Women were a mystery to me': Martin Bell remembers his all-male education". Daily Mail. London.
  28. ^ "Former Defence Minister performs Flanders & Swann for charity". Evening Standard. 8 November 2010. Retrieved 24 January 2016.