It is said that life challenges the strongest of people. This is also true for Maria Cristea, mother of four, who became a widow when only 34. The family faced serious problems and endured many hardships, and is now enrolled in the programme for child-family separation prevention, receiving support from Hope and Homes for Children.

Maria’s partner succumbed to a severe disease in early 2018. Maria also has a 9-year-old daughter from a previous relationship, who did not grow up with her, because her father was granted custody in court.

Maria and her three children live in her maternal grandparents’ house. The children’s grand-grandmother, very old and with health issues, is a real help and the children are very attached to her. Their situation is even more difficult because they also take care of their grandfather, whose frail health kept him bedridden for a long time.

Their mother’s love and affection is never missed, but they lack the basic resources, which prevents her from providing them with decent living conditions. Financial shortage prevents Maria to acquire the necessary for her children to go to school and kindergarten, so they often refrain from going to classes. The house which hosts the seven family members is humble, with two chambers and no electricity or utilities and in need of costly repairs. The space is insufficient for such a numerous family, the facilities are rudimentary and the stove they use for heating is a real danger.

In order to help and support them, starting May 2018 Hope and Homes for Children enrolled the family in the programme for child-family separation prevention. The Foundation aimed to provide a decent living space, so the first measures taken were repair and hygiene work. At the same time, the house was connected to the electricity network, necessary food and appliances were bought, as well as personal hygiene and cleaning products, clothing, shoes and school supplies for the children.

The support provided to the Cristea family by Hope and Homes for Children is only the first step towards a new life, as help will continue to be provided.