Romania's children

One Child's story

(Written by our Romanian staff at Casa Pistruiatul, the children's refuge)

street kid"J" is 13 years old. He came to our children's Centre when he was 10 after being found in the Railway Station by the outreach social workers.

His father passed away when J was 7. After the death of his father, his mother began to drink heavily and became violent, she also began to sell items from their home in order to have money for drinks.

She did not show any more interest in looking after her children, J and his elder brother. As a result of their mother's behaviour, they left home.

They started begging on the streets of the local city. J's elder brother then went on to Bucharest where he died in 2001, a child, on the street. (We've never been able to establish the exact circumstances of his death).

Meanwhile J carried on begging, moving between a few cities. The street had become his home.

After a year he was identified by our outreach team and was received in our children's shelter. Initially he showed aggressive behaviour, was violent, having problems relating to people around him.

Gradually, with the involvement of all the staff, J began to feel secure and loved.

He found with us not only a home, but also a chance of a new beginning. For the first time in his life he attended school with good results, made new friends he could trust and feel comfortable with.

The staff realised his intellectual potential and his willingness to learn. He was encouraged to take a model making course from which he graduated and was given a certificate.

After he graduated the first grade, J went with our staff to visit his mother. She was working for a family (agriculture) and was living with this family too because she had lost her home.

She was living with another man and had a child of two years old with him. The sight of his mother made J so enthusiastic and excited, he began to cry. As soon as she saw him she started to say something to him that we were unable to hear.

But after she saw the workers, she changed attitudes and gave him a hug. J introduced his mum to the workers and they talked together about her present situation. The workers told his mother about J's new life.

His mum was happy to know that he has a home and she felt it was better for J to continue to live at Pistruiatul but she invited him to come and visit her in future.

On the way back, J was sad and said he thought his mum was a bad mother. We tried to explain that his mother made some mistakes but due to the problems she had to encounter herself, she did not find the power to face and solve these problems alone.

Obviously, this was a long discussion and the result of it made J say, "maybe she is not that bad after all"

Following this visit J has begun to write letters and send photos to his mum, while his mum has promised to visit him. She has written J a letter saying how proud she is of him and he, indeed, is very proud of her letter.

J is very bright but he had missed a lot of schooling. We arranged special tuition for him. On 6 September 2002, J was promoted by two grades at school and we held a party to celebrate.


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