In 1997, Casa Ioana opened the country’s first night shelter, for people who had lost their homes, following a request by the Mayor of Bucharest. Since 2000 however, we have focused our attention on providing temporary accommodation and professional psychosocial support to women and children experiencing domestic violence and family homelessness.

Women and children come to us because we say it is wrong to beat your partner and do not see it as a ‘private matter’ to be dealt with ‘behind closed doors’. Similarly, families who have lost their homes come to us because we understand that they need the right kind of family support to move on with their lives. We will not let civil society ignore domestic violence or family homelessness.

Casa Ioana works hard to provide accommodation and support to those who need us. We have grown to become Bucharest’s largest single provider of temporary accommodation and specialist support. On any given day, we support 20 families and nine single women.

Casa Ioana is the Romanian representative of FEANTSA, the European Federation of National Organisations working with the Homeless.

Casa Ioana has hosted a number of important visitors to its shelters and other events including:

  • HRH The Prince of Wales
  • King Mihai and Queen Ana of Romania
  • Andrew Vorkink (vice-president of the World Bank)
  • Le Abbot Pierre of France
  • Dr Xavier Emmanuelli, founder of Samu-social
  • Maia Morgenstern (Romanian film and stage actress)
  • Carmen Tănase (Romanian film, television and stage actress)
  • Andreea Esca (journalist and Pro TV’s principle news presenter)
  • Cristian Tabără (journalist and TVR 1 television presenter)

Our vision

We passionately believe ‘that everyone has the right to decent housing, meaningful activities, satisfying relationships and the good health to enjoy life.’

Our mision

Casa Ioana’s mission Is ‘to make a positive difference in the lives of families and single women confronted with domestic violence together with other families and single women facing or at risk of social exclusion.’ We empower women and children to rebuild their lives, free from violence and fear, by providing a wide-range of life-saving and life-changing services, as well as a voice for the voiceless.
Casa Ioana accomplishes its mission primarily through its ACASĂ Programme, which provides temporary accommodation and easy access to innovative community-based social and psychological support that assists our beneficiaries to achieve their full potential. With a team of committed professionals and volunteers, we have developed good practices that enable our beneficiaries to participate and manage the activities that affect them.

Casa Ioana’s primary objectives are to:

  • deal with the causes and consequences of domestic violence and family homelessness, by preventing it at the grassroots level, addressing its symptoms and reducing its recurrence
  • equip people with skills for independent living, by making independence an integral part of our ACASĂ Programme through encouraging full participation of beneficiaries
  • provide support services where quality is verifiable by improving services, evaluating service outcomes, improving staff training programmes and offering cost effective services

Casa Ioana uses a three-way approach which involves:
Provision – we provide a wide-range of support services for women and children experiencing domestic violence and family homelessness. Our network of services supports vulnerable women and children to regain control of their lives and move forward in a positive way.
Protection – we advocate for improvements to domestic violence and homeless policy and practice, and the implementation of legislation to meet the needs of vulnerable women and children.
Prevention – we help to prevent domestic violence and family homelessness through campaigning, education, training and research. We work in partnership with other agencies to raise awareness of domestic violence and family homelessness, its causes and solutions.

Our aim

We are passionate about who we are, where we are, what we do and how we do it. This passion is reflected in:
Our core values

  • Compassion/Caring - We care about our community, especially women and children experiencing domestic violence and family homelessness.
  • Acceptance/Respect for Others - We accept people as they are and respect their differences as well as their shared characteristics and needs.
  • Responsibility/Awareness - We have a responsibility to know what is happening in our community and how it affects individual members.
  • All Basic Needs Met - We believe in social equity and that everyone, regardless of individual circumstances, should have basic needs for food, shelter and safety met.
  • Action for Change/Service - We will act to make our community a better place for women and children experiencing domestic violence and family homelessness.
  • Excellence, Equality and Potential - We aim for excellence in services and creative solutions to meet the changing needs of women and children experiencing domestic violence and family homelessness.

We believe that beneficiaries should be at the centre of our work and that complex problems require comprehensive solutions. We try to achieve this by:

  • Supporting and developing our staff-team whose commitment, skills and motivation are relied on by women and children experiencing domestic violence and family homelessness
  • Developing and maintaining positive relationships with our stakeholders (beneficiaries, supporters, funders, other private and public organisations and the local community) and to be an asset to them
  • Exploring effective ways of enabling our beneficiaries to influence the shape of the services we offer
  • Maintaining a philosophy of continuous service improvement that is supported by evidence

Staff team

We have an experienced staff-team that is committed to achieving the best possible outcomes for our beneficiaries. Our staff team has an accumulated 36 years experience in social exclusion and homelessness as well as 32 years experience in dealing with domestic violence.
We set high standards for our services and try to ensure that all our team have the necessary support to be able to offer a person-cantered service that respects every beneficiary as an individual.

Our staff team:

Ian Tilling

Director - Founding Member

Ian Tilling is the director of Casa Ioana and its founding member. He is a social welfare expert with 23 years experience of working with vulnerable groups in Romania. In 2010, Ian was awarded the Romanian “Oscar for Excellence” for his 20 years of humanitarian work in Romania. In 2002, he was awarded the “Order of Faithful Service” for developing professional social assistance services in Romania and in 2000 received the MBE in the Queen’s Birthday Honours for his social community work in Romania. Ian also sits on the Executive Council of FEANTSA and is its Treasurer. He also chairs a European Working Group on Participation.

Andreea Gheorghe

General Manager

Andreea Gheorghe is the general manager of Casa Ioana and is also responsible for supervising the psychosocial support team, including regular case reviews. She joined Casa Ioana in 2006 as a social worker and has a degree in social work. Andreea was promoted to manager in 2008.

Dana Drăgan

Social Worker

Dana Drăgan is a social worker with Casa Ioana having joined us in 2008. Dana has a degree in social work and was awarded a masters degree in ‘Strategic management in social development’. Dana coordinates the activities and manages one of our family shelters.

Monica Breazu

Social worker

Monica Breazu is a social worker with Casa Ioana having joined us in 2012. Monica has a degree in social work and was awarded a masters degree in ‘Social Support Services for vulnerable Groups’. She coordinates the activities and manages one of our family shelters. Monica is a member of FEANTSA’s European Working Group on Migration.

Nicoleta Dinu

PR & Communication

Nicoleta Dinu is Casa Ioana’s PR and communication’s assistant having joined us as an office assistant in 2008. Nicoleta has a degree in social work and was awarded a masters degree in ‘Social Support Services for vulnerable Groups’. Nicoleta helped us develop our communication’s plan and manages our social media.

Board of Administration

Casa Ioana is governed by a Board of Administration consisting of a chair and four members, including the staff representative. The board meets regularly and exercises its management functions through a system of delegated authority. Members are professional individuals skilled in management and community care, property management, finance, health and safety, equal opportunities, marketing and the law.
Our Board members are:

  • Ian Tilling, MBE (chair) Founder and President of Casa Ioana
  • Oliver Meister Director at Forsage Holdings
  • Mona Opran Chief Operating Officer at Centrade Saatchi & Saatchi and Managing Director at Saatchi & Saatchi X
  • Andreea Gheorghe (staff representative) Manager of Casa Ioana

Volunteers

Our team of dedicated volunteers give their time and skills to help our vital work. They make a huge difference to Casa Ioana and our work with women and children experiencing domestic violence and family homelessness.

We need your support

Casa Ioana relies on the goodwill of dedicated individuals to continue its work of supporting women and children experiencing domestic violence and family homelessness.
We would not be able to provide our life-saving and life-changing services without the support of our volunteers.

I want to volunteer – how can I help?

We offer a wide-range of volunteering opportunities to support our beneficiaries through meaningful and learning activities, fundraising, PR and communications.
If you have skills and want to use them to help Casa Ioana in its work with women and children experiencing domestic violence and family homelessness, please phone 021 332 6390 or email us at office@casaioana.org.

What do we offer to volunteers?

  • An opportunity to contribute to the work of Bucharest’s leading provider of temporary accommodation and professional support for women experiencing domestic violence and family homelessness
  • An opportunity to develop skills in a specialist area, e.g. fundraising or communications, IT
  • An opportunity for personal and professional development
  • References are provided on request

What do we expect from volunteers?

  • A commitment to Casa Ioana’s values and principles
  • A commitment to work for the period specified by the volunteering role (usually three months)

Equality and diversity

Casa Ioana is committed to equality and diversity. Our recruitment and selection procedures reflect that commitment, which applies to both volunteers and paid staff.

Our history

Casa Ioana grew from an organisation providing accommodation and support services to various vulnerable groups, predominantly children with disability, young people leaving institutional care and others experiencing social exclusion and homelessness. We were the first organisation to support mothers in keeping their families together by preventing their children being taken into local authority care due to the family’s fragile situation. As women started to come together, the needs of women and children who were experiencing domestic violence and family homelessness became known.
Our first family shelter was set up in 2000, to support women and children experiencing domestic violence and family homelessness.
Casa Ioana celebrates its 20th birthday in 2015.

View our key milestones:


  • A representative of Casa Ioana chairs a public hearing in the European Parliament on the participation of people experiencing social exclusion in the services that affect them.
  • A Casa Ioana representative is selected to sit on a European Working Group on Migration.
  • Casa Ioana is accepted as a full member of FEANTSA, the European Federation of National Organisations working with the Homeless. We are elected to represent FEANTSA at the national level. A representative of Casa Ioana is elected onto FEANTSA’s Administrative Council. A representative of Casa Ioana is selected to chair a European Working Group on Participation.
  • Casa Ioana is awarded a prestigious European EQUASS Assurance accreditation certificate for providing quality services to our beneficiaries and other stakeholders.


  • Casa Ioana becomes an associate member of FEANTSA.
  • Casa Ioana develops and publishes its comprehensive Organisational Manual setting out its policies and procedures. In parallel, we develop our evaluation and monitoring tools as well as strengthening our governing board.


  • We develop and begin to test a comprehensive range of monitoring and evaluation tools designed to identify the needs of our beneficiaries so that these needs can be adequately addressed.
  • Incorporating all our knowledge and experience, Casa Ioana launches its unique ACASĂ Programme that sets high standards for providing temporary accommodation and professional psychosocial support for women and children experiencing domestic violence and family homelessness.
  • An EU Phare grant means that we can convert our original emergency night shelter into a day centre to provide people experiencing social exclusion with easy access to social support services, job training workshops and pathways into employment.
  • A ‘Romanian Social Development Fund’ grant enables Casa Ioana to implement a project that encourages people experiencing social exclusion to get back into work and maintain a place to live.
  • Casa Ioana uses a World Bank ‘Romanian Social Development Fund’ grant, to develop innovative community-based support services focusing on empowerment.


  • We open another shelter, which is quickly developed into a family shelter supporting women and children experiencing domestic violence and social exclusion.
  • Casa Ioana employs a team of professional social workers to encourage and support its beneficiaries to make a positive move on with their lives.
  • The capacity of the emergency night shelter is expanded and the number of beneficiaries doubled.
  • Casa Ioana opens the country’s first emergency night shelter for people experiencing social exclusion in Bucharest.
  • Casa Ioana’s NGO resource centre becomes home to a school for children with special needs, a computer-training centre for adults with disability, a halfway house for post-institutionalised young adults and a socio-medical centre for the 300 Roma families living in the area.
  • Casa Ioana refurbishes a small apartment block situated in the Ferentari area of Bucharest using both local and international volunteers enabling it to be used as a NGO resource centre.

Frequently asked Questions


There are many reasons why people choose to get involved. Here are just a few:
  • to make a difference to women and children experiencing domestic violence and family homelessness
  • to do something inspiring
  • to learn skills and improve their CVs
  • to meet new people


There is a volunteering opportunity for almost everyone who shares our values and wants to make a difference. We welcome volunteers from a range of backgrounds.

We want to provide the best services we can to women and children escaping domestic violence and family homelessness and therefore provide a comprehensive induction programme for all volunteers.

All volunteers will be offered time with our manager to discuss how their volunteering is going. It is an opportunity to talk about how they feel with volunteering and to identify any support needs that they might have. Volunteers are offered regular informal opportunities to discuss their contributions.

It depends on what motivates them. Volunteering with Casa Ioana means that they will make a difference (directly or indirectly) to the women and children we support. They could also benefit from helping or supporting other people, using existing skills or learning new ones, gaining confidence, being creative, responding to challenges and being with other people. They may feel satisfaction with playing a positive role in someone else’s life.
If they are looking for work, they will gain valuable experience and skills for their CV. We value our volunteers and want volunteers to gain from supporting our work.
We are happy to provide references for volunteers who have volunteered for a sufficient length of time.

We are flexible regarding hours because many people have other commitments outside of their voluntary contribution.
Other roles may have a minimum time commitment of a few hours per week.

We ask you to let us know in advance if you are going to leave or need some time out.