Dorina is one of those children from a broken family who ended up in an institution. She has experienced first-hand the lack of a warm, comforting home and what it is like to grow up without the safety net usually provided by the parents, an element that is crucial for a normal, harmonious development. Dorina ended up in the protection system when she was 8, together with two of her brothers, aged 6 and 4 respectively. After being shifted together from one protection institution to another, eventually they were separated and transferred to different orphanages; still, they kept in touch and even saw each other from time to time.

When she left the protection system, Dorina tried to earn a living and to find a place of her own. She met a man who was 17 years her senior, who was raising a daughter entrusted to him after his divorce. They lived together for 11 years and had four other daughters, who are now aged 3 to 11. All this time, they shared a place with the man’s parents and, after his mother’s death, in 2015, Dorina took over the management of the household entirely: tending to the animals, the five children, the cleaning, the food, the washing and caring for her partner’s elderly, infirm father. One of her brothers moved in as well after leaving the protection system. Throughout the years, the family’s problems worsened, mostly due to the man’s drinking problem. He started having affairs with other women, he started missing from home and work, he no longer had any involvement in the household chores or in the children’s upbringing. Because of all this, Dorina decided to take the girls and leave, trying to protect them from the pernicious atmosphere.

A new beginning

The house where they live now has been provided freely by the elementary school teacher in the village where they live; the woman was impressed by Dorina and her daughters’ difficulties. The house is old, it has two modestly furnished rooms and a kitchen, yet it is a welcoming home, and Dorina is motivated by the fact that she has a roof above her head, that they have electricity, a well in their yard and, finally, the tranquillity they dreamed of. So, she painted the house green, herself, she cleaned it and started growing vegetables in the garden.  

Because she grew up in an environment that was far different from family life, she is trying to give her four girls, in the most important stage of their life, the support, the affection and the safety that she never had.

”I love my girls and they love me and that’s the most important thing of all. I could never accept to have them taken away, to have to separate from them. I grew up without parents and without feeling a mother’s love, it’s almost a nightmare to me. Words are not enough to thank all those who are by my side, the elementary school teacher who gave us the house, the social worker lady who visits us all the time, the Hope and Homes for Children Foundation who provided everything necessary to help us weather the winter that is slowly coming”, Dorina said overwhelmed by feeling.

Better days ahead

At the moment, according to the social worker from the General Directorate for Social Assistance and Child Protection, their financial resources are quite limited: the children’s allowances amounting to 326 lei and the family support allowance of 428 lei, plus 527 lei as welfare benefits which they have been receiving since August. The local municipality social workers have taken note officially of the single-parent family and have requested that the family be included in a material support programme. This is how the case came to the attention of the Home and Homes for Children Foundation; our specialists visited the family several times, to assess their needs and to draw up an intervention plan.

First, the Foundation provided the wood to keep them warm throughout the winter; the kitchen was supplied with a cooking stove, a gas tank and a fridge. The family also received cleaning stuffs, detergents and other necessary products, as well as food stuffs, clothing, footwear and stationery that the four girls need in school and kindergarten. This winter, Dorina and her girls will have peaceful holidays and the hope that their lives will continue to change for the better.