“The work Lumos has done for me and with me is important because I have received great support right up until today. Through Lumos, I have had more opportunities and was involved in many activities where my voice was heard and where my story can make a change.”—Pavel
Pavel, aged 20 from Moldova, who is a consultant in participation for Lumos, started to collaborate with Lumos back when he was studying at school. He subsequently became involved in activities organised within the Resource Centre and went on to become a member of the youth advisory board.
He says that with Lumos’s support, “I have changed my vision for the future.”
From institution to foster care
He recalls how his life has since changed.
“Life in an institution is not good because the working staff there have a bad attitude towards children.
The level of education is not good and they (the children) don’t have the opportunity to develop in the future.
“I feel the time spent there is not an opportunity for development, but more like a trauma that develops each day.”
Pavel has had experience of living in an institution for a very long time before he was placed in foster care. This geographical change brought with it many improvements to his life.
“For a child, experiencing a life within a family is a much healthier environment.
In a family environment like this, a child receives everything he needs, such as love from his parents and the opportunity to express himself and make his voice heard.
“This kind of environment guarantees that the child will be healthy and cared for and will have an education at an optimal level, so that he can have a well-established future.”
Raising his voice for others
Pavel has worked for six years with Lumos. “Over this period, I can recall several things that I think would help me in the future and which I would like to share here,” he says.
“First of all, the advocacy was a great help and secondly, I enjoyed my involvement in the summer schools and the national and international events.
“Then there were conferences, where I could take part, so I could tell my story and discuss my ideas to make my voice heard.
Participating with Lumos has helped me to create skills for the future. For example, I gained public speaking skills. Previously,
I was afraid to speak in public. But now I don’t feel so nervous and I can speak more clearly.”
Pavel is convinced that these experiences have helped him to develop leadership qualities. “All this will help me in the future too and I have also developed a team spirit that I didn’t have previously. I used to work by myself, but now I can work much more easily in a team.
Thoughts on family after experiencing institutionalisation
“Why do I think the family is important? Well, why is it important for us to breathe?
The family is an important stage in a child’s life. He grows up and then creates his own family where he can learn from his experiences for the future.”
Pavel’s own life experience and work has crystalised his belief that: “No child should live in an institution.
“Having experienced living in a residential institution, I can guarantee that this is no place for a child, or for a young person, whether or not he has a disability.”
However, he is not despondent about the situation of those who are growing up in orphanages and institutions but is more passionate than ever about what needs to change and his role in that.
“Working with Lumos and participating, has shown me that I can change something by getting involved.
“I just wish other young people could have the chance I’ve had...Cherish your family because there are many children who dream to have one.”