"We appreciate that, in the near future, some of our associations will resort to AFIN IFN S.A."

Interview with Giorgică Bădărău, the President of the National Federation 'OMENIA' of Mutual Aid Homes for Retirees (C.A.R.P.) in Romania, one of the most powerful organizations of retirees. Its structure encompasses over 121 affiliated mutual aid associations throughout the country and over 1,273,000 members." 

Mr.President Giorgică Bădărău, you represent the most powerful organization of retirees in the country – the National Federation of Mutual Aid Homes for Retirees 'OMENIA'. What is the history of this organization, and what is the current coverage of C.A.R.P.s?

The National Federation "OMENIA" of the Mutual Aid Houses of Pensioners in Romania was founded in 1990 with the aim to represent the associations of mutual aid houses of pensioners in relation to central and local public authorities and to promote the interests of the members, elderly people and pensioners.

The National Federation "OMENIA" is currently organized according to Law No. 502/2004 regarding retirees' associations and Government Ordinance No. 26/2000. The executive leadership consists of the president, the permanent office, and the board of directors. The deliberative leadership includes the National Council and the National Congress. Control is exercised by the audit committee.

The National Federation "OMENIA" currently has 121 affiliated mutual aid associations, with over 1,273,000 members, spread across 9,748 urban and rural localities throughout the country. The member associations have between approximately 1,000 and 55,000 retired members and elderly individuals, of which 72% reside in "large urban" and "small urban" areas.

The National Federation "OMENIA" is a member of the AGE Europe platform, the largest and most representative organization of European retirees, with over 50 million members.

The mutual aid associations of retirees (C.A.R.P.s), established under Decree No. 204/1951, operated until 1989 under the coordination of local social assistance structures. After 1990, they became independent, which created the possibility of registering as non-governmental organizations, initially based on Law No. 21/1924 (Mârzescu Law adopted on February 6, 1924 - regarding legal entities/associations and foundations) and subsequently in accordance with Government Ordinance No. 26/2000 on associations and foundations, and Law No. 540/2002 on mutual aid associations of retirees.

Since their establishment, C.A.R.P. associations have had as their main activity the financial assistance to their members, based on the principle of mutual aid. The fund for financial loans is formed from the individual contributions of pensioner members.

In addition to their main activity, C.A.R.P. associations have developed other forms of assistance and social protection for their members through service workshops for appliance repairs, sheet metal work, carpentry, tailoring, shoemaking, radio-TV, hairdressing salons, commissary stores, natural products stores, geriatrics, gerontology, kinesiotherapy, optometry, audiology, and other specialties in medical cabinets, legal and psychosocial counseling offices, rest houses, and funeral services.

For leisure activities, libraries, clubs, and day centers with circles for literature, painting, handicrafts, foreign languages, "internet-savvy grandparents," and eco-grandparents have been established. Additionally, within the framework of socio-recreational activities, themed excursions are frequently organized, partially or fully subsidized by the mutual aid association of retirees.

Larger C.A.R.P. associations, which usually operate in larger localities, also have means of transportation for people and goods, rest and treatment houses, or residential centers.

What is the operating model of mutual aid associations for retirees? Are they social economy organizations?

The operating model of mutual aid associations for retirees is regulated, as mentioned earlier, by Government Ordinance No. 26/2000 and Law No. 540/2002. The collective governing body is the general assembly of representatives (AGR), with executive leadership provided by the board of directors, and oversight by the audit committee. The voting principle is one member, one vote.

Mutual aid associations for retirees typically have their headquarters in municipalities, cities, and large communities, with a territorial structure consisting of branches and regional cash desks (cashiers and rural agents). In practice, this forms a network of fixed and mobile points that ensure connectivity, including with members in remote rural areas or those who have difficulty traveling.

In practice, day-to-day activities are carried out by employees, nearly 4,800 throughout the federation, of which 51% are retirees and 49% are younger individuals who are still in the workforce. Alongside employees, there are approximately 5,000 permanent volunteers and over 45,000 volunteers involved in specific activities.

Remuneration is in accordance with the provisions of the social economy law. In fact, the member associations have incorporated the principles underlying the recognition of social economy entities into their own statutes and adhere to them throughout their activities.


The primary goal of the organization is to provide real social protection for its members. How important is funding for this category of individuals?

The entire activity carried out by C.A.R.P. associations aims to provide real social protection for retirees and elderly individuals, with a priority given to those at social and/or medical risk.

In addition to the services mentioned earlier, C.A.R.P. associations offer non-repayable assistance in the form of cash, food, medications, mobility aids, financial support for hospitalization, treatments in resorts, ENT conditions, medical tests, and unforeseen situations (disasters, fires, etc.), as well as assistance for funerals. As an association, we have developed over the years a series of projects aimed at supporting and strengthening the rights of older people, promoting active aging, and fostering solidarity between generations, in partnership with important organizations such as United Way Romania, the Margareta of Romania Foundation, etc.

For more effective communication, both among themselves and with their members, the federation and member associations have created their own websites, published print and online publications, and have become increasingly active and visible on social media networks. In terms of publications, the federation has produced specialized works, monographs, financial and management guides. Furthermore, at both the local and central level, the activities carried out by C.A.R.P.-type associations are constantly covered in the media.


How do you view the emergence of AFIN IFN S.A., an organization that aims to provide financing to social economy operators in Romania, some of whom have the mission to support the elderly?

We consider the emergence of AFIN IFN S.A. beneficial for us as well as for other entities in the social economy sphere.

While we have relied on our own resources (interest income), donations, and sponsorships for the development of C.A.R.P. associations until now, the need for modernization requires the identification of new sources of funding and collaboration.


What are your expectations from AFIN IFN S.A.? What types of services could it offer to best meet the needs of social impact economic operators in Romania?

We appreciate that in the near future, some of our associations will turn to AFIN IFN S.A., with their priority needs focusing on acquiring new software, computer equipment, small and medium-sized transportation, upgrading existing spaces, acquiring new spaces for production, services, or social activities, new equipment for workshops, medical cabinets of various specializations, massage and physiotherapy rooms, etc.

Since the associations have developed differently based on the region and the members' requirements, the funding needs vary greatly.

Furthermore, visionary leaders have an important role to play in the development of these associations, where there is a lot of experience and dedication.

Digitalization and modernization offer the opportunity for our existence and bring smiles to the faces of our seniors.

The future belongs to innovation, and as long as the protection of the elderly remains our common denominator, fruitful and mutually beneficial collaborations will exist.