The Romanian Orphan Crisis

The Children’s Story

Romania’s orphan crisis remains a priority on a local, national and international level. Child poverty, abandonment, and neglect have been some of the greatest challenges Romania has faced since the fall of Communism. On any given day, over 57,000 orphaned children and youth, spend their developing years in government placement centers coping with fear, loneliness and uncertainty.

Sadly, the government’s foster care system has a shortage of funding and qualified foster parents so hundreds of abandoned babies and toddlers languish in under-resourced state hospitals. As they await placement, some of these kids suffer tremendous emotional distress and develop a condition called “failure to thrive.”

The crisis continues for the young adults aging out of the government placement centers or foster-care system. Without the loving support of a family, or the necessary life skills to succeed on their own, many of these children end up on the streets without access to the resources needed to build a secure future. Some even go under the radar and become victims of human traffickers. They disappear unnoticed across the border.

Pathway to Joy has the solution.

Through strategic partnerships with our community and other non-governmental organizations, we are devoted to helping each child we serve to build a resourceful, joy-filled, and Christ-centered life. Partner with us and help bring hope and healing to the orphaned and needy children of Romania.

About Us

The Pathway to Joy Story

Pathway to Joy Ministries is propelled by the vision of lasting joy for every child. Whether that child is living in a government placement center, in a state hospital or institution, or even on the streets, Pathway to Joy is there to show Christ’s love and to do something about the sorrow that permeates the hearts of these broken children.

The founders of Pathway to Joy Ministries (PTJM), Cornel and Karen Bucur, moved to Romania in 1995 with their young family. Their initial ministry assignment involved the development of 6 FM radio stations, which now blanket Romania with 24-hour Christian radio. In their free time, they began leading summer camps for children living in state orphanages. They also discovered children abandoned on the streets and in the state children’s hospital. What started as small acts of kindness, quickly transformed into a passion for these kids and a desire to offer them healing and hope.

For the past twenty five years, our journey has taken us to places such as Oradea, Tinca, and Sabolciu. PTJM has ministered to thousands of poor families, street children, and abandoned orphans facing hunger, illness, neglect, fear, and exploitation.

Our various program efforts have included:

Organizing summer camps


Providing practical care and protection to infants and children abandoned at local hospitals


Developing a Christian foster care program


Developing a mentoring project


Planting two Roma churches


Developing feeding and education programs


Publishing Bible studies and devotional materials in the Romanian language


Each of these ministry programs has brought healing and hope to hundreds of children and families each year. Pathway to Joy remains committed to pursuing effective ways of helping each child we serve to build a resourceful, joy-filled, and Christ-centered life. Currently, we are in the planning and development phase for a new ministry program called Success for Life Program” that will help orphans successfully and effectively transition to adulthood.


My parents had problems, and then my mother ended up leaving our home. My father had to take care of my brother and me. He loved both of us very much, and he did the best he could to take care of us. Unfortunately, my brother and I ended up in an orphanage.

Adrian’s Story

Many of the children in the orphanage were placed there at a very young age and have little memory of their lives before the orphanage. Pathway to Joy Ministries has worked in the orphanage since 2006.

Elena’s Story

The Gospel

Romania’s True Hope

We believe in the indisputable power of the Gospel to save and transform lives. Pathway to Joy’s vision of lasting joy for every child is centered on inviting the orphans and poor among us to fully embrace the gospel and its message of redemption, forgiveness and true hope.

We know the Lord longs to heal their broken hearts and transform their lives. We know He wants every child to experience lasting joy. In fact, Jesus is the ultimate solution to Romania’s orphan crisis!