Fundația de dezvoltare locală Speranța din Târgu Neamț creează locuri de muncă pentru persoanele cu dizabilități pe care nu vrea nimeni să le angajeze.

Cornel scoate lumânările din formele de silicon și i le dă lui Edy, care le taie fitilurile și le aliniază pe o tavă. Andreea pictează cu vopsele acrilice cactușii, iepurii, fluturii, moșii, babele și bufnițele din ceară. După ce se usucă, Marinela aplică sclipici pe lumânările pe care mâine dimineață Iovu le va vinde turiștilor care vizitează Cetatea Neamț.

Toți acești tineri speciali lucrează cu răbdare, bucuroși că cineva are încredere în ei și că pot…

Sebi and Berți are not the only ones for whom the living conditions in the Re-education Centre Buziaș, in Romania, are better than the ones at home. A former pupil didn’t know how to sit on a chair when he first entered the classroom; he lay down on the tiles, his head propped up in his hand, the way he did when he took the cows to graze. At meal time, he hid his meat in his pocket, so he could have it later. Another one drank water from the toilet, as children told the teacher, and a 16-year old girl relieved herself in her room because she had been living on the streets and did not know how to use the toilet. (

At the Re-education Centre in Buziaș, Timiș County, Romania, you encounter the full range of issues in the Romanian educational system: dropouts, poverty, illiteracy, children neglected by both teachers and parents. That is also where you can meet a primary school teacher who, despite the system, is teaching tolerance, decency and spelling to 18-year olds.

Mihaela’s hair is black and long, gathered in a thick ponytail. She is small, the broomhandle reaches her shoulders. She makes small piles of dirt by each door on the corridor, then sweeps them unto a dustpan and throws them in the bin. …

Over 31,000 inmates live in the Romanian penitentiaries. Almost half of them are repeat offenders. Have you ever wondered what their life looked like before prison?

We took dozens of interviews of adult people who recalled how they were beaten in their childhood. But these men — thieves, rapists, murderers, troublemakers — have something awkward in their fragility. Aggressive, slickers, villains, “bears”, literates or illiterates, the inmates speak without any dramatic tint about slaps, kicks, belts, punches and hits. Most of them say they deserved it, as they were bad at that time.

“A 4-year old kid slapped by…

On the top of a hill, at the end of a bad country road, six kilometres away from the next village, without any pharmacies or shops nearby, live almost 80 families and their over 200 children in dwellings improvised out of wood, clay and plastic.

Viorel has blue, deep, intelligent eyes and he seems the wisest young man in Hetea, a village in Covasna County, Romania. He is 18 and his wife, Crina, is 20. The boy is surrounded by a pile of dry branches which he’s cleaning and tying together in clusters with a string — tomorrow, he and…


Marian and one of his admirers

By any standards, Marian could be a handsome man: he’s tall and slim; he has nicely shaped muscles on his arms, delicate features, full lips, big blue eyes. He would do anything for his girlfriend, a 22 year old woman who writes him tens of pages about how much she loves him. But his camouflage is betrayed by a fragile and dissonant sensuality that peeks from his masculine gestures.

“I feel as empty as a desert, alone in the world, without you, my love!”, O.R., Marian’s lover confesses, in one of the ten pages-letter spread in front of…

No criminal record

A case of domestic violence degenerates into murder before the very eyes of a Romanian community where people don’t interfere into someone else’s family.

Elena Danco cries and knocks at all the high gates of the houses on Episcopiei Street, near the big church in the center of Rășinari village, 15 kilometres from Sibiu town, Romania. It’s Pentecost Sunday, June 3, 2012 and the streets are empty at 7.30 in the morning. Her sister, Maria Stanciu, is lying in a pool of blood, with her throat cut, and Elena can’t say whether she’s still breathing.


Journalist Elena Stancu and photographer Cosmin Bumbuț tell stories about today Romania, marginal communities and extraordinary people. Their newsroom is an RV.

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