Comber Romainian Orphanage Appeal

about us

Our vision is that every person with a disability will have full participation and inclusion in society.

Comber’s mission is to build a better future for children and adults with disabilities - a future without orphanages.

Comber (formerly Comber Romanian Orphanage Appeal) was established by Irish volunteers in 1990 in response to media coverage of the appalling conditions in orphanages in Romania. Having initially focussed on aid and renovation work in orphanages, we grew to realise the limits of ‘hands – on’ work in Romania. Over the years, we have sought to bring about long-term change through supporting Romanian people and organisations to develop better disability services at local level.


Comber has two full-time staff members in Ireland and two in Romania. Comber is a registered charity and is governed by a Board of Trustees in Ireland.


Fiona Dowling, Executive Director (Ireland)
Fiona trained as a paediatric physiotherapist and volunteered in Romania in the 1990s. Fiona began working in management and international development on a full time basis after completing an MBA and working in Irish disability services for a number of years. Fiona has been Comber’s Executive Director since 2006

Bogdan Bobolea, Comber Romania

Bogdan graduated with a BA in Psychology (Major in Special Education) from University of Bucharest in 1997. He has worked for over ten years as an Educational Psychologist and Project Co-ordinator at various disability and health centres in Romania and England since graduation. Bogdan began working as a Co-ordinator for Comber in 2009 and is based in Bucharest.

Frances Haworth, Project Co-ordinator (Ireland)

Frances is based in Dublin and works to support the Romanian office, as well as organising the overseas volunteer programme and facilitating the Eastern Europe Aid & Development Network. She has an MSc in Applied Social Research and has worked for various organisations in the not-for-profit sector in Ireland, Moldova and Uganda over the last 5 years.


Founders and honorary board members

Eric & Elizabeth Carson
Eric and Elizabeth founded Comber in 1992. They have extensive experience delivering projects in Romania, fundraising, recruiting staff and managing the organisation over 14 years. Eric is the Managing Director of telecommunications company with over 30 years management experience.



“Having accompanied volunteers from Comber to Romania, I have witnessed the
tireless work they do in trying to close down state run institutions in Giurgiu
County. This requires help from you at perhaps the most difficult economic times. Please find a little time in your heart for young adults that perhaps unknowingly will owe you a debt of gratitude for the rest of their lives.”

George Hook, Patron of Comber (


Board of Trustees

Patsy Supple (Chairperson)
Patsy is Financial Director of a construction & property development company in Cork for the past 19 years.


Kieran McCarthy CPA AITI
Kieran is a chartered accountant and partner in Hughes Blake, Chartered Accountants and Business Advisors since Jan 2005.


Michelle McGill
Michelle has 5 years experience in senior management including operations and human resources, as well as running her own interior design consultancy. She is also an experienced fundraiser.


John Sheridan
John was a development worker in Romania in early 90s and Comber’s coordinator on the ground in Romania for 2 year period. He is an experienced paediatric nurse and nurse manager and is qualified in Health Services Management.


Alison Enright

Alison is the Occupational Therapy Manager at Beaumont Hospital, Dublin. She previously worked with the Adelaide and Meath Hospital in Tallaght, Our Ladys Children's Hospital in Crumlin and as Executive Director of the Serafina Foundation in Belize.


Miriam Kearney

Miriam is a lawyer by profession specialising in company and commercial law with over 25 years experience of law business and politics.




                            - Dóchas Disability & International Development Working Group


Comber Child and Vulnerable Adults Protection Policy - download pdf

Comber Volunteer Policy - download pdf

Comber is a signatory to Dochas's Code of Conduct on Images and Messages. This means that the values of dignity, equality and solidarity guide our use of photos, images and messages representing our partners and clients in Romania. If you have any comments about our images or messaging, please contact us at For more about the Code please visit