1990’s : The humanitarian aid era
In the late 80’s, Father Jean Magnan mobilized groups of high school students from Marseille
in order to make social and cultural actions. After the fall of Ceaucescu in 1989, Jean
Magnan came to Romania and decided to organize humanitarian convoys. Feeling
particularly concerned by the tragic situation of Romanian orphanages, he decided to settle
down to Satu Mare in 1991. With the help of groups of volunteers, the association helped in
orphanages, proposing social and educational activities, and offering scholarship to the teens
who want to study.
2000’s : Setting-up of family houses
When in the beginning of the 2000’s the Romanian government decided to close orphanages
at the request of European Union, our association took part to the creation of alternative
lodging: four houses were opened, welcoming almost 30 children.
At the same time, our association connected with the Emmaüs Community of Saint-Aunès
(Montpellier). Convoys, visits, meetings with members of both teams, etc…built at first a
dream, then the realistic idea of creating an Emmaüs community in Satu Mare.
2009 : A huge challenge : integrating young people in difficulty
Considering that the state had in its way taken over the protection of minors, our association
refocuses on adult persons from the child protection system. These persons, deprived of
material resources, often without any education or qualifications, are particularly vulnerable,
especially since some of them have a mental handicap. In many cases, this handicap is but a
consequence of their past spent in institutions.
The Emmaus community scheme then appeared to be a right answer to a situation that
affects a lot of young adults in the country. By gathering people through a life in community,
and by providing a promising place of work, an Emmaus community would promote
professional and social integration of these “orphans of the system” and would be a stepping
stone to independence.
2010 : The launching of the Emmaus’ project
The first “compagnon” is welcomed in January 2010, soon to be joined by others. The goal is
to learn from the experienced Emmaus movement but at the same time to answer to the
specific local socio-economic realities.
Several economic activities aiming integration have been started since April 2011: a fast
food, a shop selling furniture/dinnerware/clothes, a repair shop. In the same time the young
workers of our community are trained in France or in Romania, in various fields : cooking,
repairing, clothes’ selection…
Since February 2013 Freres Europa has taken part in the Emmaus movement.
2014 : A new satellite community in Timișoara
At the beginning of the year 2014, the association received a house not far from Timișoara
and decided to open there a satellite community. An integration aimed farm opened in March
2014 in the village of Sanmartinu Maghiar, a farm of which goal is mainly to offer an isolated
place for persons with different dependence problems (relationships, drugs…). In October
2014, a furniture shop is opened in town. Thanks to this, the Timisoara community could
survive financially and represented a workplace for young persons in difficulty. But finally, this community has been closed in June 2016 and the totallity of our actions toward youngs takes now place in Satu Mare.
2016 : A new shop in Satu Mare
In april 2016, we extended our activities through the acquisition of a new shop situated in the center of Satu Mare. First, beneficiaries have worked hard in order to renovate the building and to make it ready to open the shops. Then in September we opened this brand new place where we actually have one furniture shop, one bric à brac and clothing shop and a terrace with a café and a fastfood.
Today the association is composed with 30 beneficiaries living and working in Satu Mare and is also still very active with scholarships and the animation program.