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‘Family is the best’ – an update on the two Marias

Family Voices

‘Family is the best’ – an update on the two Marias

Maria says the best thing about her life with her mother is that she lives ‘in a family’. In a family, she says, she has warmth, love and joy. ‘Here, everyone understands you, hears you. You learn here many things you haven’t known before. Family is the best.’
Sadly, family is not something all children can take for granted. Maria, who has cerebral palsy, was placed in an orphanage by her biological family. The orphanage was a lonely place where Maria felt sad and angry. At age 8, she could not read, and she struggled to walk.
Then Mama Maria found her, seeing a child who needed love and support. Lumos helped both Marias to prepare for life together as a family. We also gave training to her new school so that they could support the family.

‘We all believe that it should be better’

We first shared the family’s story in 2019. In August 2021, we visited them again. Maria is growing more independent every day and she finds walking easier, which is ‘enormous’ for them both. She likes to read, and enjoys playing with her friends. It makes her happy, Maria says, to help her mother by preparing food, and feeding their dog, rabbits and ducks.
Like many families around the world, the isolation brought by the pandemic has been difficult. ‘She’s a child that likes to communicate’, explains Mama Maria. Lumos worked with the local Social Assistance Department to provide the family with counselling and support from a psychologist.
Young Maria wishes for all institutions to be closed. ‘Children deserve good families’, she says, ‘Children need to be loved, to be understood, to be taken care of.’ She is optimistic about the future, she adds, ‘because I believe, and we all believe, that it should be better’.
For Mama Maria, life with her daughter exceeds all expectation. ‘This is my child and I wish, as Maria said, for all children to find their happiness, their home, parents.’

Bringing children home

Lumos has been working with the Moldovan government since 2006, helping them redirect funds from institutions into family-based services to make sure that children like Maria can find their families. Since then, the number of children in institutions has fallen by 90%. We have helped develop inclusive education and social services, and we have worked on the Social Protection Programme for 2022-2026. We also provide psychological, social and financial support to families like the two Marias’.
Valentina Ghenciu of Lumos Moldova explains:
‘Only a family offers an individual approach and can satisfy all a child’s needs: the need for love, to grow in safe conditions, the need to feel part of a family, part of a community, part of society’.

You can help more children like Maria by supporting our work.