Reaching out on the margins of the District Apostles’ meeting

While the District Apostles and District Apostle Helpers convened for meetings at the Church’s conference centre, their spouses helped a charity initiative by painting yellow smiley faces on blue T-shirts.

Twenty-two women from all over the world came together on Friday, 17 May 2024 in the church in ­Zurich-Hottingen in Switzerland, wanting to do something meaningful by bringing a little joy into the life of some children. And this is the idea that NAK-Humanitas, the relief organisation of the New Apostolic Church Switzerland, came up with.

A charity at work

At the beginning, the women were introduced to the work of the foundation. NAK-Humanitas supports social and humanitarian projects in Switzerland and in countries served by the New Apostolic Church Switzerland. The foundation’s aim is to create a permanent improvement in the lives of the people who benefit and create prospects for them in a difficult life situation. On top of this, humanitarian aid is provided in war zones and disaster areas around the world.

The women were then shown pictures of the daycare centres in Răzeni in Moldova and Zăbrani in Romania, and the Casa Pinocchio children’s home in Zăbrani.

A haven for children

A long-standing partner organisation of NAK-Humanitas is Kiru Children’s Aid Romania. The organisation based in Basle in Switzerland, with which NAK-Humanitas works closely on the foundation’s own projects in Romania and Moldova, has been supporting children and young people from disadvantaged backgrounds in Zăbrani for many years, for example by becoming active in the children’s homes there. There was no daycare centre at the beginning.

The NAK-Humanitas Foundation has been running a daycare centre in Zăbrani since 2013, which it set up together with Kiru Children’s Aid Romania. At the beginning, some 25 to 30 children from socially disadvantaged families were cared for here after school; today there are around 40 children. The children receive a warm meal, they can play, and receive help with their homework. But there is more to it. The caregivers aim to pass on values to the children and prepare them for a good life in society. For example, they helped the children develop a disability etiquette by inviting wheelchair users to the daycare centre. These people told the children about their life stories and even taught them how to manoeuvre in a wheelchair.

The Casa Pinocchio children’s home was taken over by NAK-Humanitas at the end of 2018. It was previously state-owned, but the Romanian government no longer wanted to run it. Since the charity had been supporting the institution for years, it was decided to manage it themselves. The eleven children at the time were orphans or could not live with their parents for the time being. The initial period after the takeover was tricky, partly because it coincided with the Covid pandemic. Quarantines lasting several weeks and Covid infections among children and caregivers made things difficult for a time. However, thanks to the tireless commitment of the caregivers, everyday life finally returned to normal and the home became a real home for the children, where they receive security, love, and appreciation. They can play to their hearts’ delight and do sports. They receive help with their schooling and further education, and are supported in planning their future.


In recent years, several campaigns have been organised by committed members of the Church for the children in Zăbrani. In October 2020, for example, young people from several districts in Switzerland helped to collect second-hand furniture. They loaded it into a van that was then driven to Romania. The furniture, which was used but still in good condition, was donated to the children’s home and day care centre. Young people from Switzerland also organised benefit concerts to raise money for the day care centre and the children’s home.

Now, as part of the District Apostle Meeting in May, there was a campaign to create a little joy for the boys and girls and make their day. The church’s multi-purpose rooms were converted into an art studio for this purpose. Light blue T-shirts and yellow fabric paint were provided for the wives of the District Apostles and their assistants. They had a great deal of fun painting smiley faces on the T-shirts, hoping to bring big smiles to the children’s faces in Romania.

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Katrin Löwen
Romania, Aid agencies, Social commitment