He lives together with his four children in a modest cottage in the Botoșani county, bought with his wife while she was still alive. However, the mother died in 2012, and he was left to take care of the children, two girls and two boys, between 11 and 16.
Alexandru Șima is a 40-year-old man who lives from day to day for the sake of his children. He admits he was deeply disturbed by his wife’s death, feeling helpless and powerless with four children. He says his responsibility for his children is, probably, the hardest task life gave me [...]. Left alone, I realised all I have to do is being there for them, to somehow also compensate the lack of their mother, my wife.”
However, life went on. At first, the children visited the maternal grandparents, but meanwhile the relationship froze, as they are difficult persons. The grandparents also claimed the 0,5-hectare area of land Alexandru used to grow produce for own consumption.
Two years after his wife’s death, because he was barely coping and could not leave the children alone when having to acquire the basics, he started a relationship with a woman from another village. Everything went well for a while, the children loved their father’s partner, but the relationship ended when she suggested they go work abroad and leave the children in a state institution.
Alexandru could not get his head around the idea of leaving his children. At that moment the relationship with that woman ended and he only focused on his children and their needs. However hard it was for him all these years after his wife had died, he never complained or begged for help.
He is very industrious and breeds birds, hares, both for own consumption and for sale. He slaughters two pigs yearly, one in the summer and one in the winter. He also has experience in the kitchen, where he uses the dexterity from his time as an army cook. The children help him with household chores, in what ways they can: the girls in the kitchen, with cleaning and washing laundry and the boys with the animals. The children are very attached to their father, he is very thoughtful and affective with them.
Their home is made up of two chambers and a hall, with little furniture, but very clean and tidy. The stable in the courtyard was almost a ruin, so Alexandru demolished it and cast the foundation for a new stable, but did not manage to finish building it. He also built an annex to breed animals and bought some materials to cover the roof with metal sheets.
The financial resources of the family are the children’s state allowance, family support allowance and social aid, which amount to approximately 1200 lei. This is complemented by the father’s occasional income. When he has time, he works in the forest for planting or deforestation, or rides by horse and does seasonal work for the people in the village. With the money gathered he managed to buy a 0,5 ha area of land near his house for grazing and a cooling storage bag.
The children go to school regularly and have good results and their father is constantly interested in the evolution of each and every one of them. Alexandru is proud of his children and says they are all well-behaved and responsible, with a civilised behaviour in the family and in society. The elder daughter goes to high school (studies public nutrition) and commutes daily. She is very ingenious and industrious, she was hired during the summer by the restaurant where she made her apprenticeship training.
Hope and Homes for Children came in to help for the first time in January-March this year, when it provided the amounts needed to repair the house roof (which was thatched at that time) and for some repair work inside the house. The Foundation also acquired several household appliances: gas stove, gas cylinder, cleaning products. The experts of the town hall provide support and guidance on reconciling the maternal family with the father, so that the grandchildren and their grandparents do not lose contact.
Hope and Homes for Children started the programme for child-family separation prevention in 2001 in order to help families who risk abandoning their children in orphanages. This programme, also supported by Kaufland România, helps 2000 children to stay together with their families annually.