Night's Black Agents: Dracula Dossier
Heal the Children
The Romanian pediatric AIDS epidemic is a case where grotesque incompetence become indistinguishable from malignant evil. It stemmed largely from two decisions made by the Ceausescu regime – first, the banning of virtually all abortion and contraception in 1967, leading to a population boom and the births of many unwanted children who were given into state case. Couple that with the second decision: in 1980, Romania embarked on a crash program to pay off its mounting foreign debt, which required deep cuts in the standard of living and all state services, including orphanages. Tens of thousands of children were crammed into understaffed, underfunded, dilapidated orphanages. In the late 1980’s, contaminated blood products and a lack of clean equipment resulted in thousands of children being infected with HIV.
This charity was founded in 1992, soon after the extent of the problem became apparent. In its early years, it sent medical supplies and doctors from the West to Romanian orphanages; in later years, its efforts focus on raising funds for education and treatment programs. The charity works closely with the Catholic Church in Romania, although it is not a religious charity. It holds regular fundraising events in the United Kingdom and United States and has a number of wealthy patrons who contribute a disproportionate amount of its funding. Tabitha Holmwood is one such donor though she likely does so on orders of her publicist. Heal the Children has offices in London, Dublin, Rome, Zurich, Philadelphia and Bucharest.
Heal the Children purchased several orphanages from the Romanian government, with the intent of shutting them down gracefully once the children were re-homed or self-sufficient; however, because some of the orphans are institutionalized, the charity has had to keep some open.