Monday, December 14, 2015

"Please, stop calling them 'institutionalized children'! They deserve to be treated like their siblings!"

Maria1 is one of those children who turned back home, this year, from the residential institutions. The girl was placed in care system when she was little and turned home being almost a young lady. Maria is now in the eighth grade, in the same class of children she left seven years ago, when her parents had to send her to the Auxiliary School.

Maria’s mother admitted that maybe she had to insist more in convincing the daughter’s teachers, who claimed at the time that girl’s place were in a special school.

"Times were different then." – says the woman with a sort of resignation in her voice. Unfortunately, it doesn’t justify the 7 years she, as a parent, left her child alone, away from home, just for the comfort of the others.

By the other side, Maria says it’s a pity she couldn’t have the chance to study in the same school with her colleagues, who became soon her friends. Now she has to start it all from the beginning both at relational level and in schooling.

Maria has also a sister. Even though there is not a kindergarten, in the village and children doesn’t get a preschool education, girls’ parents say they’d never make the same mistake. They won’t accept to send at the orphanage the little child too, even if she wouldn’t have a good scholar situation like her sister, at the time.

"Home is the best place. Here you have your dear ones to share with good and bad moments. It’s nice to be involved in your community’s activity whether it is organized by the Municipality or by the school." – says mother. Unfortunately she had to pass through one painful situation with her first child to get to this decisive conclusion.

Maria spent the last seven years at the Auxiliary School. It’s a period long enough for a human life. Nevertheless, the girl refuses to remember that period. Not a word about the auxiliary school. Instead, Maria prefers to concentrate on the new chance she’s got: to attend the school of her village, to do her best and to turn home every day, after classes. That’s why she works a lot and keeps being a diligent pupil, so that she recuperates fast all that her colleagues learned gradually.

"…It is hard enough, but we are certain that Maria will succeed, thanks to her determination. She’ll manage to work things out, because she does a lot of effort and we are glad to observe girl’s evolution" – mentioned the head teacher.

In fact, the head teacher is the one who instills hope Maria and helps her overcome fears when self confidence issues appear.

"What if we all stop seeing them as institutionalized children? They are just like other children and deserve to be treated equally. (…) I don’t know the reason she got there (at the auxiliary school), because she is a brilliant pupil here in our school. I put all my hopes in her. Maria is a very active girl. She has adapted well at her new school group. Step by step things will arrange, I’m sure of it." – added the head teacher that teaches also Physics and Informatics.

The other teachers also speak well about Maria. They all noted Maria’s willingly coming at school. Her favorite disciplines are physics, geography, history and the extracurricular or artistic activities. The last ones had permitted Maria to get closer to her colleagues and know them better. In order to keep the rhythm with colleagues, the girl is helped by supporting school personnel within the Resource Center, functioning in the school. Children like Maria are assisted there in doing homework and in learning subjects which weren’t taught at the auxiliary school.

The girl confessed to us that at the Resource Center she is trained to express freely, to speak about her own aspirations and future plans. This is how we learned that Maria is a very good cooker at home. She likes to prepare exquisite meal for her family, especially pies and patisseries. One of Maria’s dreams is to attend a professional school to empower her knowledge and the necessary abilities for a good cooker.

Maria’s family received social aid and support from P4EC, thanks to which it was possible to procure household goods and to create better conditions so that Maria and her little sister can stay home forever.

1 For privacy reasons, the names of all personages were changed.

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