Little is known about Moldova, a small Eastern-European country that is considered the poorest in Europe. A former Soviet Republic, Moldova received its’ independence in 1991, and ever since, it is in a constant struggle of defining itself as a modern democracy, stuck between the path of being a pro-European or pro-Russian. Despite poverty, another embedded problem is immigration. From its past population of 4 million people, only 2.5 million are considered to be living in the country at the present moment, and the data is continuously changing, with 150 people leaving the country EVERY DAY.
According to UNICEF, "parents' departure" to work abroad is considered one of the most defining characteristics of Moldovan family life. The parent/s of 1 from 5 children is working abroad. Thus, kids are left at home under the tutelage of their grandparents, other family members, or on their own. In other cases, children are given to be cared for in boarding houses, where they spend the week away from their family or foster homes.
If young people with opportunities are choosing to the leave the country and find their career success abroad, those that remain in Moldova are struggling with finding well-paid jobs. The category of people that are struggling the most are orphans and abandoned children.
According to the Ministry of Work, Social and Family Protection, at the end of 2015, there were 1984 orphan children in the country, as well as 2493 children without parental guidance. One-third of these kids are between 11-15 years old, living in villages. Moldova's data on orphans is showing that the country is doing the worst in Europe in terms of rehabilitating kids. Guilty for this is the widespread poverty of the country, the lack of sustainable social services, as well as the constant violations of children's rights to a family, provided by the UN Convention of Children's' Rights. At the end of 2015, 370 parental associations helped place 645 children in foster homes. The number of these has grown in recent years. One of the aims of NGOs dealing with this matter is to make sure that children are put in families as fast as possible, or rehabilitated into old ones, to make sure that they are integrated into their communities, and develop sustainably. As psychologists say, every three months spent in a boarding house or orphanage results with a one-month loss of cognitive development.
When finishing the 9th grade, children from the boarding houses or orphanages have little chance for happiness and a future. In Moldova, middle school ends after the 9thgrade. Afterward, children can choose to pursue a high-school education, or else called a lyceum, or schools for professional work where they would learn sewing, knitting, construction work, etc. Consequently, the government is providing them with solely $170 if they decide to move to a professional school (that would substitute as high school) and they would furthermore get a stipend of only $75 every month. If they choose to finish high-school, they would be entitled to nothing. Disregarding this, data shows that these kids end up on the streets because they do not have enough documentation to pursue their education. The young adults need to prove previous educational experience and boarding houses or orphanage education is few times considered a reasonable educational institution in order to be admitted for professional college or university.
The orphanages from cities are in a considerably well-off financial situation, while those from villages are struggling consistently with acquiring sufficient donations in forms of medicine, clothes, and food. Children rarely leave the boarding house or the orphanage. Institutionalized children spend most of their time in one or two rooms, and this is because there are not enough social workers to take these kids outside. Newborns are left alone in their beds, which is hugely damaging for their development.
According to a recent study, 202 young people aged between 18 and 25 were questioned. Most young people responded that when they left the boarding house or orphanage, they had no skills to manage their money. Most of them, 35.7%, only graduated from middle school. Almost half do not have a profession. Eighty-two respondents who said they were employed were engaged in activities involving physical labor and were modestly paid. Less than half of the respondents have an average monthly income that does not exceed 2000 lei which is equivalent to $100. Approximately 18.6% said they had no income.
Of the 95 interviewed young women, each second woman admitted that she got pregnant before she was 18 years old. At the same time, more than 15% said they were in conflict with the law, and seven went to jail. 10% of young people said they were suffering from chronic disease and 50% had no medical insurance policy.
State Secretary of the Ministry of Health, Labor and Social Protection, Viorica Dumbrăveanu, said at the presentation of the study that the Republic of Moldova needs policies to support the young people who have benefited from placement services. "A child's abandonment then generates many negative effects. Beyond the child protection system, we must go on strengthening the support system for these young people," said Viorica Dumbrăveanu.
Child rights lawyer Maia Bănărescu said that the problem of children who went through the placement system is quite significant. They need alternative services to integrate into society, become citizens; they cannot manage money and they have no place to live. "We have to protect the rights of the child and after the status of a child, if he leaves the placement system does not mean that he is ready to be a citizen," Maia Bănărescu said.
Thus, there is a significant need to help orphans and needy children from Moldova, with whatever means are available. Inspirare Children's Foundation wants to help such kids through educational and emotional mentoring, with financial support for families that wish to adopt, and through further medical care. Currently, we are asking for donations to purchase a machine for a boarding house for children with hearing impairment. The piece of equipment increases sound and vibrations, allowing children to feel them.
Data is taken from the following local Moldovan sources:
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