Cornelia Fischer

A life for the neglected children in Panatau

Awarded the Elisabeth Norgall Prize

After the fall of Ceausescu in 1989, terrible pictures of severely neglected children from state-run homes went around the world. Cornelia Fischer, who was 42 at the time, decided without further ado to emigrate to Romania and become an advocate for these children. And so she joined the international aid organisation Amurtel.

Because of Cornelia's expertise as a nurse and caregiver, ARMURTEL asked her to set up a children's home in the rural district of Buzau. This was done under very difficult circumstances. For many years, the region had no running water. Cornelia's humanitarian commitment was honoured in 2013 with the Elisabeth Norgall Prize excellent. 

Cornelia Fischer visiting her old home in Zurich in March 2022

"Sometimes the obstacles seemed insurmountable, but none was greater than the ability to overcome them. For any progress, you need good cooperation. The people in the small farming village of Panatau are very friendly." CF, 2022

Although Mama Cornelia, as all the children call her, has been retired for a few years, she still helps out at the children's home every day and supports where she can. 

What began as a personal adventure in 1989 became her life's work. With personal commitment, she not only helped to build up the children's home, but she also used private assets to create an Guesthouse Valea Lupului was founded to offer the children in the home an opportunity for training and work in tourism. 

Cornelia Fischer about her Romanian homeland:

"The municipality of Panatau nestles in a side valley of the Buzau River. The lovely area is characterised by wooded hills and the untamed Buzau River."

Cornelia Fischer in the media

A future for abandoned children. NZZ 2010

Honour for commitment in Romania. Frankfurter Rundschau 2013

Nurse receives Norgall Award. FAZ 2013

Elisabeth Norgall Prize 2013. Feuilleton Frankfurt 2013

Cornelia Fischer helped to set up an orphanage in Romania. SRF 2021, The Fifth Switzerland, Audio & Podcast

Cornelia Fischer Relief Fund

Opportunities for neglected children and young people in the Buzau region, Romania

Copyright © 2022 Cornelia Fischer Relief Fund