Bogdan is one of those young people still trying hard to overcome the dramatic moments in his life. Up to the age of 23, life has given him more sorrow than happiness, more tears than smiles. Because each and every day has been, in his own words, an attempt to “get over days and nights more easily”. He is a neat young man, he is affable, grateful, careful about how he treats those around, but unfortunately they are not always as considerate in return.  

“When people scorn me and look down on me, it always reminds me that there’s a label stuck on my back, reading orphanage. Even when I achieve something worthy, my happiness is so short-lived that I lose all hope easily and I can no longer be confident that I will build the life that I fearfully dream of”, Bogdan confesses.

A cloudy childhood

Bogdan comes from a large family. His parents abandoned him and with his brothers. Bogdan has no wish to seek answers. He has no interests to find out anything about his mother and father. He stumbled upon two of his brothers in a placement centre, where he himself was sent when he was only a few years old. It was there that he spent the years that marked him the most strongly. Then, he was transferred to another orphanage, where he stayed until he was 18. 

“The placement centre was where I lived the most disappointing moments of my life. The carers back then were very mean. We were always hit, abused, scolded and screamed at, even when we simply went to wash ourselves or to eat. I used to cry a lot there. I don’t remember having ever laughed with all my heart. I don’t remember any happy moments, any nice games to lift my spirits. I still don’t know for certain what happiness is. I never knew my family, my mother’s love and affection, her hugs. I have no idea what all that is like”, Bogdan recalls sadly.

Out of fear, mostly, he tried to study well in school. He finished 12 years in a vocational school, and he was certified as a locksmith and machinist. When he turned 18, he left the child protection system and it was then when he felt most acutely what it is like to be alone, to start all over on the way to an independent living.

He became an example

Timidly, he started working for a construction company, where he learned to pave streets. He was then hired by another company and received specialized training on the job. In his spare time, he does a lot of volunteer work, he is involved in projects benefitting Roma children and young people. He is very respectful to everyone and so he is seen as an example to follow, which contributes to his self-esteem. Around these people, he feels useful and important.

“I stayed for a while at the Șansa mea Foundation, then at the ProVita Foundation, together with other young people coming from the system, like myself. I felt lonely, it was very difficult for me to get used to my new life at only 18 years of age. I was lucky to be hired immediately, so I had an income. I saved some money for the future. The new job has been a challenge. I try to cope with the relationship with my colleagues and to do my tasks. (artibuțiile). But the real difficulty is the people’s behaviour. I am labelled, offended, misunderstood very often. I haven’t yet found a way to get over the mean things people say and do. It’s not easy. The touting, the ill-meaning people, the mean words all come down over me like boulders. There are moments when I felt like giving everything up, I did not want to fight anymore. I don’t harm anyone else, I feel locked inside myself and sometimes I harm myself. I still can’t get over these moods. And then, the first people that come to mind are the people at Hope and Homes for Children. They have always helped me get over the times when I feel down, depressed, sad. I admire everything they do for us, how they take care that we do not lack anything, how they talk to us and encourage us.”

A new beginning

Bogdan is now 23. He is still confronted with hardship and insecurity, yet in the past 5 years his behaviour has been very responsible. He never stopped working and he has saved money to buy a house. Counselled and guided by Hope and Homes for Children, Bogdan has used all his savings to buy a house with a bank loan that he obtained in the “My First Home” programme. Hope and Homes for Children covered the costs of the notary fees and the building materials needed for renovating the house, which was severely damaged. With the help of Hope and Homes for Children, Bogdan purchased the floor material, the paint, he fixed the bathroom and the kitchen, he fixed the piping, he replaced the windows and the doors and he made his house comfortable. Moreover, the company where he works provided a sofa, two wardrobes, the wall and floor tiles. His house is now beautiful and homey.

A house full of love

Bogdan moved in the new house with his girlfriend. They manage the household together and they take care of each other. She brings him balance and helps him cope with challenges and with his moments of weakness. He says she is his sunshine, especially since they have found out they will be parents. He still worries about paying the loan instalments, the bills, the costs of everyday living. His girlfriend is there to hold his hand, but he knows   that she also needs to feel him strong, the pillar of the house, the loving father who provides balance, protection and love to the family they are about to start.