Brothers Andrei, 18, and David, 13, lived in Congaz residential institution in Gagauzia for two years. When their single mum was facing serious financial hardship without any support, she struggled to provide them with the basics they needed and felt the institution was the only option.
Thankfully, we were able to bring the brothers safely back home. We’d been working with the institution, transforming their services and retraining staff to bring their support out to families in the community.
With careful assessment and preparation, practical, emotional and financial support – including help to repair the heating in her apartment to make it a suitable family home – the boys’ mum was able not only to rebuild her family but grow it. She welcomed Igor, a friend of Andrei and David’s from the institution, as their new brother. Igor lived in the institution for four years and formed a close bond with Andrei and David. He sadly couldn’t be reunited with his own birth family.
"We are happy together"
We helped Andrei and David’s mum to build her capacity and confidence and she says she now feels whole again:"I am happier now I have the children by my side. They are the reason for my life."
The children are happy and our team is working with local services to check in on the family regularly to make sure they’re coping and have all they need.
David says: "I am very happy that we all managed to come home. Everything here is special, more beautiful and friendly."
Igor says: "I have finally fulfilled my big dream. I have a family and brothers, we all go to school, we communicate. We are happy together."
Bringing this family together is one of many happy successes for the Lumos team in Moldova. Deinstitutionalisation project manager Valentina Ghenciu says: “We’re delighted that this mother welcomed a child into her family as a new brother for her sons. We were amazed to see how much love she showed for Igor. We supported her decision and offered all the support we could, including training to strengthen her parenting skills and on in caring for children with special educational needs (SEN), which Igor has, as well as some much-needed financial help.”
Our work in Moldova
We’ve been working in Moldova since 2006, when the country had one of the highest rates of institutionalisation in Europe. We partnered with the Moldovan government on their plan to tackle this, and by 2018 had helped reduce the number of children in institutions by 90%.
Congaz RI, closed in September 2020, the culmination of two years of work with families, communities, local authorities and services, and staff from the institution. Over that time, we successfully helped reintegrate 47 children with their biological families, after they were placed in institution because of physical and learning disabilities or family vulnerability. The process also included training and support for all 29 Congaz employees to help manage the transition, and to strengthen community services.