“I saw that Ana loved her children and she fought for them.”

Vasilica and Ecaterina live together with their mother, Ana, their stepfather and their baby brother.

Vasilica was only four months old and his sister, Ecaterina, was just one when they were sent to live in the orphanage. Vasilica was born prematurely with cerebral palsy. Poverty and discrimination made it very hard for his mum, Ana, to care for him alone, without adequate support.

The authorities thought both her children would be better off in an institution. But orphanages do not protect children, they harm them.

Consigning children to one-size-fits-all institutions, puts them at high risk of neglect and abuse and threatens their fundamental development. This is especially true for children as young as Vasilica and Ecaterina. To feel safe and happy, to grow, learn and really thrive, all children need to know that they are loved, and they belong; they need families.

Ana battled for two years to bring her children home again. Through our local partners, CCF Moldova, we made sure she had the practical and emotional support that she needed to succeed. “I saw that Ana loved her children and she fought for them,” says Natalia, the experienced social worker who stood by her, every step of the way.

In the orphanage, Vasilica spent long hours alone in a cot with no one to play with him, encourage him or love him. Today, reunited with his family, he’s a very active, much-loved little boy who likes building tall towers with his wooden blocks and playing chase with his sister.

Natalia is continuing to make sure that Ana has the specialist support and advice she needs to continue to care for Vasilica at home. Their next goal together is to make sure that he can attend nursery and then school, so that he can continue to learn and develop, alongside his sister and the other children in his community.