Hope and Homes for Children launched the child-family separation prevention programme in 2001, in order to help families with a high risk of abandoning their children in orphanages. The program is financed with the help of Farmexpert and Alphega pharmacies, among other sponsors. Every year, the program helps over 2,000 children to remain with their families.
Laura, 18 and Raluca, 16 are two teenagers from the Suceava county who have known hardship from an early age. They were left without a father early on, with only the mother to care for them, in precarious material conditions. Their mother died 10 years ago, and, without their father’s involvement, they were left with their maternal grandmother. She tried to provide them with decent living conditions, by sacrificing her own needs. Recently, their grandmother also died, so the two young girls lost their closest family member a second time. All this has gravely affected Laura and Raluca emotionally, and they are in need of support and safety. Their aunt, the mother’s sister, has taken on the care and upbringing of the two girls in this period of time. Unfortunately, the aunt has been diagnosed with a severe illness, and this diagnosis further deepens the girls’ trauma and feelings of unsafety.
The two girls attend an upper secondary school in Suceava, in the 10th and 12th grades respectively. Given their current situation and difficulties, Laura and Raluca risk not being able to graduate and then continue their studies. Laura’s dream is to go to university, but unless the girls receive psychological counselling, material support and encouragement, this will remain only a dream. The family cannot even afford the graduation expenses (the school photo album, the prom dress and fee).
The two young girls have always lived in their grandmother’s house, but the little income that the family had was always spent on basic daily needs, so there was never enough left to consolidate and fix the old house. The roof needs to be repaired and water has infiltrated the ceiling in the kitchen and one of the rooms.
After the grandmother died, the local community mobilized and helped with urgent matters that the girls couldn’t cope with on their own. They received help to organize the funeral and money for outstanding utilities invoices, which meant that the house was reconnected to the power network. But their problems go beyond the community’s ability to help, so their case was brought to the attention of Hope and Homes for Children in March.
The Hope and Homes for Children specialists evaluated the case and identified the girls’ needs, so they were then able to draft an intervention plan. With the help of the community, Hope and Homes for Children found a construction company and paid for the materials needed to consolidate the roof, to prevent the further degradation of the house. The construction company agreed to consolidate the building free of charge.
With the help of the General Directorate for Social Assistance and Child Protection, the young girls were included in a counselling project and they now go to therapy. Efforts have been taken to identify a solution to appoint a legal representative that can obtain the welfare benefits they are entitled to. Laura received the money for the photo album and the prom dress and fee as a donation. In addition, she was included in a monitoring programme aimed at preventing school abandonment, she receives help to get back on track with her school work and to continue her education after graduation. All this has brought her closer to fulfilling her dream of going to university.
With the timely help of Farmexpert and the Alphega Pharmacies, Laura and Raluca will be able to stay with their aunt, their closest relative. In the near future, Hope and Homes for Children will continue to support them to continue their studies and to eventually become functional, independent adults.