With a monthly income of only 500 lei/month, a grandmother in Neamt County does her best to overcome life’s challenges. She lost her son 2 years ago and his 5 children were abandoned by their mother, who moved in another county, looking for a new life.
At the age of 75, Elisabeta was the “mother” of the 5 children, of whom two are now over 18 (two boys) and 3 sisters are aged 3-17. With health issues and a physical disability, the grandmother had a choice: leave the girls to be institutionalized or take careof them, the best way she could. She made her choice, to take care of them, as they already had a very strong connection.
Elisabeta’s house consists of two rooms, one of them being occupied by her and the 3 girls and one by the two boys. It has very basic furniture, and the only heating source in the winter is a an electric radiator, which cannot provide enough heat for both rooms. For cooking, she uses a stove located outside the house, which is fueled with wood – that is never enough. She makes great efforts to cover the daily expenses needed for the children and for the house, but it is impossible to cover all needs, therefore she fell behind with the payment of the mains. She told us that the debts started when the mother left home and she could not cope all of a sudden with the expenses for clothing, food and school supplies. Nevertheless, she covered part of her debts, but never all of them.
Intervention of Hope and Homes for Children
Hope and Homes for Children found out about the situation from the Neamt child protection authorities. An intervention plan was put in place as soon as possible.
The household of the family risked to remain without electricity due to debts and the family needed to cover these debts, as they would have been left without their main heating source – the electric radiator – and without light. This had a dramatic effect on Madalina, the elder sister, who could not do her homework and, actually, had abandoned school. With the support of Kaufland Romania, Hope and Homes for Children Romania covered the costs of the electricity bill.
The grandmother knows how important it is for the nephews to continue their studies and she is involved in supporting them in school. The extended family members – uncle and aunt, who live in the same yard, support the grandmother in her endeavor.
The children, who did not have food and footwear/clothing on a medium and long term, received them, together with school supplies for all the three girls. A tank of gas was also purchased and donated so that the grandmother can cook the food for the entire family. Madalina, the older sister, helps her grandmother with the house chores and supervises her younger sisters. After quitting school, she started a counselling programme aimed on the importance of studies and continuing school. The younger sisters attend a Day Centre and there they enjoy a diversified programme of education and play activities, together with a warm meal every day.
Hope and Homes for Children will continue the intervention due to the support of Kaufland and will add a new room and a bathroom to the house, to improve the family’s living conditions. Their story goes on and we are sure that it will be one with a happy end, as the grandmother is determined to keep her children with her and provide them with the love they need.