Mihai is a young man from Botoșani who grew up with his brothers in the child protection system after having to leave his family at a young age. In 2018, after he graduated high school at 21, he had to leave the institutionalised system and start an independent life.

But this is not easy. Like most young people leaving the protection system, lacking the emotional support which is crucial for acquiring the skills and habits for an independent life, Mihai faces serious problems: lack of a home and of mobile and immobile possessions, lack of an appropriate training for getting a job, emotional trauma caused by abandonment and institutionalised life, lack of self-trust. This is complemented by marginalisation, bias and society’s reaction. This is where his helplessness stems from.

The family meant to support him and his brothers had a difficult life. Their father never had a stable job. Because social aid was the only family income, the mother decided to go work abroad, while the children were to be taken care of by the father and paternal grandparents. Because of alcohol abuse, while the mother was abroad the father destroyed two homes, which the children had to leave. The father never managed to fulfil his children’s needs, neglecting his parent attributions or carrying them out in an abusive manner. His mother divorced and remarried, never to return. This is how the children ended up in an emergency shelter centre, then in foster care centres.

He tried to get a job several times. He found a job in Arad county, but he could not accommodate there, so he returned in Botoșani county. He rented a studio, but is facing financial difficulties.

In September, he was enrolled in the socio-professional integration programme carried out by Hope and Homes for Children, so City Insurance will cover his rent and utilities (amounting to 500 lei monthly) for six months. He additionally receives food and hygiene products amounting to 200 lei monthly.

As he is facing difficulties regarding access to community services (police, municipality, work employment agency, healthcare), Mihai is being counselled on developing skills to contact and access such services. Most importantly, he is counselled and guided to continue his studies, so that he can develop both professionally and personally. He is also guided and helped with chores, from cooking or cleaning to keeping the room tidy and using the appliances in his new home.

Mihai wishes to enroll in a drivers’ school to obtain a driving licence and get a stable job. He has dreams he hopes to fulfil. He strongly wishes to support and encourage his brothers as much as possible, because he knows you need a model to inspire you when you ask yourself who you are and look for your identity. And he wants to be a model for his brothers.

Thanks to the support by Hope and Homes for Children and City Insurance when Mihai most needed it, he has the opportunity to become an active member of society and help not only his brothers, but also others in his situation. Hope and Homes for Children will continue to provide Mihai with support whenever necessary.