Keeping families together: Elena’s story
Even today, 80% of children who are confined to orphanages have at least one living parent or other close relative. It’s not the lack of a family but the lack of support for families who are struggling with poverty, disability, discrimination and other pressures that drives children into orphanages. That’s why developing services that make it possible for parents to care for their children at home and not have to resort to institutions is so important as we work together towards a world without orphanages. This is Elena’s story.
The birth of their baby brother, Dragos, should have been a happy time for Nicolas, Paula and Maria. Instead, forces beyond their control meant their family was very nearly torn apart.
Dragos was born very early and had to stay in intensive care. Their mother, Elena, needed to be with him but then, without warning, their Dad, Ivan, died. Without an education and only able to find low-paid work, life had always been tough for Elena and Ivan. But they were hardworking and resourceful and did all they could to provide for their children. Now though, Elena found herself alone with a premature baby in the hospital, three other children to care for and no income. She was desperate to be with Dragos but knew that, with no one to look after them at home, her older children would be taken to an orphanage.
The idea of growing up in an institution was a terrifying prospect for Nicolas, Paula and Maria who had only every known the warmth and protection of a family. At this critical moment in the family’s life, your generosity meant we were able to give Elena and her children the support they needed to stay together. Expert social workers from our partners CCF Moldova arranged care at home for the older children, made sure the rent was paid and supplied the food, clothing, school equipment and other essentials to see the family through their immediate crisis.
Since then, we have continued to work with Elena to help her build a more secure future for her children. We have helped her access services that will make it easier for her to support her children. This includes providing day care for Dragos at a centre, established by Hope and Homes for Children, to make it easier for parents like Elena to be at work. Crucially, we are also helping her to obtain the official documents she needs to secure a permanent home for her family.
Nicolas, her oldest, is a promising athlete who has won many national and international competitions. His prize money is helping to boost the family’s income. Nicolas says his ambition is to become a world-famous weightlifter and for his family to own a home of their own where he can have a room to display his medals and trophies.
For now though, although life remains challenging, Nicolas, Paula, Maria and Dragos are all still together with their Mum, Elena, to love and protect them.
Our work Moldova: Supporting parents, protecting families
Keeping families suffering from poverty and other challenges together depends on services that enable parents to work, knowing their children are cared for. In January 2018, a new social crèche was opened in Balti specifically to provide free childcare for up to 13 children. These services can be vital in helping parents to have the confidence to take children back from institutions. Thanks to your support, our partners, CCF Moldova, were able to provide training for staff as well as support and guidance to parents to help them enrol their children in the crèche.
During 2018 our team also helped to establish a new Early Intervention Centre in the Balti Institution for Babies which is due to open in early 2019. This service, developed in partnership with the Voinicel Centre, will provide essential support to vulnerable families, helping to prevent parents from making the devastating choice to give their babies up to institutions when they fear they cannot adequately care for them.
Do you want to know more about our prevention work? Get in touch using this form.
Want to get involved?
By closing institutions, supporting children into loving, stable families and working with governments to tackle the root causes of family breakdown, we are striving for a day where orphanages have been eliminated for good. There are several ways for you to help: check out our donation options, or fundraise for Hope and Homes for Children.