There are hundreds of thousands of orphans in Romania. Children are abandoned by their parents and go on to live in orphanages, oftentimes growing up there. But one student in Milledgeville at Georgia College & State University is trying to help some of those children regain their childhood.
After a trip to Romania in 2014, Georgia College and State University student Mackenzie Roux, couldn't stop thinking about the orphans she met there.
"Their parents are most likely alive. There's a high chance that they have multiple brothers and sisters who are still at home or are displaced in other orphanages in the surrounding area," Roux said. "They're just not wanted, they're abandoned."
Roux went back this summer, and missionaries in Romania asked her to run a camp there next summer.
Roux accepted the challenge, but knew she had some work ahead. She would have to raise $15,000 on her own to fund the weeklong camp for 25 Romanian orphans.
That's when her dad gave her the idea to create her own nonprofit.
"It's called The 1:27 Project," Roux said. "It comes from 'James 1:27' which is 'religion that God the Father regards us pure and faultless to look after orphans in their distress.'"
Roux says she got all her credentials as a Georgia nonprofit in about a month.
All the money she raises will go for activities and food for the kids for the week.
"We just get to give them a week of safety, just being able to give them back a week of childhood that they've had taken away," Roux said.
Roux says she wants to make The 1:27 Project a success. That's why after graduating from GCSU in May, she's putting law school on hold.
"I am going to take a detour from that and I'm going to take a year off and focus on this, since it is such a baby right now," Roux said. "I really want to see it succeed."
Roux says she wants The 1:27 Project to eventually grow to other places around the world.
"We've talked to another nonprofit already and they've told us that the best places that they could think that we could go into would be like Haiti, Ethiopia, Uganda, Ecuador, Greece, Costa Rica - just basically all over the world," Roux said.
But before all of that, she has to get through this first camp.
Before she heads back to Romania in June, The 1:27 Project needs $15,000 for the camp. Roux says they're about halfway to that goal.
"It's an investment into kids' lives and they have an ability to actually tangibly change a child's life who wouldn't have anyone over there fighting for them, really," Roux said.
If you'd like to donate to The 1:27 Project, click here for a link to their website.