STRADA BUCUR means « the street of joy » in Romanian. It is also the address of the Parada Foundation in Bucharest, which works to get children and young people off the streets of the Romanian capital by involving them in the circus.
From 1967 to 1989, Romania was under totalitarian rule, stifled by a dictator who strove to escape the sphere of Soviet influence. Nicolae Ceausescu imposed rigid policies aimed at boosting the birthrate, forbidding abortion and contraception, and severely limiting the possibilities for divorce. Couples without children even had to pay extra taxes. The population did indeed increase, but at the cost of thousands of children abandoned by their families, unable to afford their upbringing, and placed in State orphanages.
In December 1989, the Romanian revolution overthrew the dictator and opened the doors of the institutions of the State, exposing to the world the dramatic consequences of Ceausescu’s population growth policy. Thousands of children were left to fend for themselves, having come from all over the country to wander in the streets of the capital. That the phenomenon continues to exist, 20 years after the fall of the regime of Nicolae Ceausescu, is proof of the lack of interest shown by the authorities even now.
The Parada foundation wages a daily battle to integrate these youngsters into society and helps them to build a basis upon which they can build to enter college or to gain initial employment. Workshops on circus skills – often followed by shows throughout Romania or abroad – are an integral part of their programme for development.