Moldova is one of the poorest countries in Europe and it’s high unemployment, especially in rural areas, means that often migration is perceived as the only survival strategy. In some villages, more than half of the population has migrated overseas in search of work. Consequently many children are living in poverty and without adequate care and are at constant risk of abuse, violence and trafficking.
To tackle these problems where the dangers for children are most evident, we have helped to develop a Child Friendly Space in a small village in southern Moldova. The Centre brings hope to these children by providing after school activities, home work help, nutrition and support. It enables them to be children again.
This year four of the most successful fundraisers from The Body Shop at Home™ won a chance to go on a trip to Moldova to see the project, help out on a fantastic summer play scheme and see with their own eyes what a difference their fundraising is making.
The volunteers threw themselves in whole heartedly to create a proper summer holiday for the children. With arts and crafts, sports and games through the day and puppet shows, bonfires and dancing in the evenings, they really did bring life, colour and fun to the children.
What touched them most deeply was seeing the conditions that the children live in, and hearing about the the situations they go through each day.
Karen described how; “Some of the things that our children take for granted just aren’t there; like constant fresh drinking water from the tap. Here it has to be fetched daily from the well. Seeing children knocking the apples off the tree with balls just to get something to eat humbles me”.
Ben Wilkes from Children on the Edge was delighted to see how much the work of the Centre is increasingly permeating the community. “I’ve really seen a change over the years, I can see it in how the staff are starting to use creative ideas that we’ve shared with them, how much they visit the homes of the children and work to include the disabled children at every level. I’m impressed at how they are connecting with other parts of community like the police, the school and local government. It’s this holistic approach that will start to see the downward spiral turned around.”
Find out more about our Child Friendly Space in Moldova and donate to the project.