Ion* was nine years old when his mother died. His father moved away and was unable to be traced and his older sister was married with a young baby, so Ion was placed in an institution for children with learning and emotional disabilities. There, he slept in a dank, desolate dorm of 12 boys.
A multidisciplinary team of Lumos experts - working with the authorities in Floresti County, Moldova - assessed all the children in the institution where Ion lived to create individual plans for them. In June 2010, after five years in the institution, Ion was able to be reintegrated into his extended family. He now lives with his aunt who has been named his legal guardian. She has a grown up daughter with a baby, who visits often and Ion also sees his sister and her children.
Ion (now aged 15) has quite severe learning difficulties, but he has been able to join the local secondary school. Lumos provides assistance to Ion’s family as well as supporting him at school, where his progress has been good. His teacher remarks: “He has become more open, made friends and is easier to communicate with. The other children have received him well and like him. He writes very well, although he doesn’t read yet. We have a special programme to teach him individually and support him, but by attending class he is able to feel equal to the other children. He now has a family, a place, a stable situation. He is able to decide for himself how to use his spare time; Ion likes to play football with his new friends”
“I feel better; secure. The food is good and I like having my own room. It was not so good there [the institution] – I was bullied by other boys and I never made any friends. And sometimes we felt hungry. But now I am happy, I have friends.”
*All names have been changed