The story of Radu
Radu is 25 years old and he has lived in the child protection system since birth. He was abandoned in the maternity by his parents because poverty didn't allow them to take care of him. The same thing happened to his sister, Rada, two years later.
The two siblings grew up together in Leaganul Sighet, but they were separated when they started school because Rada was believed to have a learning deficiency and couldn't attend the same school as Radu.
Rada was transferred to Gardani, Radu to Bocicoi and then to three other institutions. Gradually the two siblings lost touch and they only saw each other again when they were already grown up and didn't have much in common anymore. The two youngsters, now adults, have no contact with their natural family and, even though they have met their parents and other siblings, they don't feel connected to them in any way.
Radu left the child protection system a few years ago, as soon as he found a job. He describes his experience in "protection" as being filled with abuse, and he says that he is surprised he was able to survive these conditions, especially when lacking any kind of affection and emotional support. Throughout his life, Radu has contemplated suicide at least once.
Since 2009 Radu has been working as an unqualified substitute teacher at a school close to his family, which serves a large Rroma community. There are 300 children in the school and, for them, Radu is an important resource for validating their own ethnicity: he teaches Rromani and he is a school mediator. Unfortunately, in spite of the value he brings to the school and to the community, Radu cannot become a full teacher, which greatly reduces his income and gives him no stability. Every year he has to take an exam for the job and he isn't paid during holidays like all the other teachers with full rights.
In spite of his financial difficulties, Radu continues to study and is about to graduate from the Faculty of Letters with a specialisation in Social Assistance. He knows all the Rroma communities in Baia Mare very well and he thinks of himself as an informal mediator, even though he doesn't have the necessary resources.
Every school year Radu used to live with one of the Rroma families close to the school and he was constantly faced with having to spend more than he earned. He tells us how hard it was to buy food and not share it with the children of the family hosting him.
This year, Radu has decided to change something in his life. He asked for the support of Hope and Homes for Children Romania in order to be able to finally become independent. Ever since we've begun supporting him we have noticed a significant change in his attitude and his desire to prove that he is more than a survivor of state "protection". We are here for him and we are certain that he will succeed.